8 Tips For Shooting Better Travel Videos

What’s better than watching a travel vlog? Yes, it’s making one for yourself! And now, with the advent of affordable digital video technology, it’s easier than ever to make your own travel videos. But it takes more than just pointing the camera at your subject to get good travel video footage. Nearly everyone can point and shoot, but not everyone can take a good video. If you want to be able to tell stories through your travel videos, you need to know how to make them interesting and enjoyable for the viewing public.

Over time I’ve learned some tricks of the trade when it comes to capturing adventures on camera so you can watch them with your friends family or even share them with strangers out there in internet land. So today, we’re going to go through eight easy steps that will help make sure you get better at shooting your videos and never miss a moment again.

1) Start Recording Early

You never know when you’re going to see something cool, so keep your camera on and record whenever it’s in your bag or pocket. You’ll be happy that you did if you capture a moment on tape that would have otherwise been lost forever. And this is a point that can’t be stressed enough: record everything! You never know when you’ll come across a scene, building, person, or animal that will make for good video footage.

2) Plan For Good Audio

Good audio is just as significant as good video to make travel videos worth watching. If the sound in your video is poor, it will be difficult for the viewer to enjoy the footage. That doesn’t mean that you have to go out and buy an expensive microphone system—all you really need is a free or low-cost app on your smartphone. There are lots of great voice recording apps out there, so download one before you leave home, then just plug in a good pair of earbuds, and you’re good to go.

3) Use A Tripod

As nice as smartphone video is, if your subject isn’t perfectly still while recording it, the footage will be blurry. And by “perfectly still,” I mean more or less on infinity—the hyperfocal distance at which nearly everything in the picture is in focus. That’s why you’ll need to use a good tripod whenever possible. Don’t let yourself get discouraged if your first few videos don’t turn out too well—practice makes perfect! Start by setting up the tripod on flat ground, then start making adjustments (lower or raise the legs, move them inward or outward, etc.) until you find the perfect spot. You might even want to try hanging your camera bag from the tripod’s center column for extra stability.

4) Keep Enough Space From Your Subject

Most people tend to allow their video subjects to get too far away. This is another common mistake that can be easily corrected. Keep in mind that when you are taking video footage, your subject is typically going to walk closer or further away from the camera during the course of the shot. If you start too close, your subject will appear small in frame and end up at the edges. Start farther back, and you’ll have plenty of room to zoom in close with your camera.

5) Keep Your Shots Steady

The number one thing that separates professional travel videos from amateur ones is the steadiness of the footage. When you are shooting video, it’s vital to make sure your shots are as steady as possible. This is why tripods are so important—they give you an easy way to keep the camera steady while you’re shooting. Since you’ll typically be holding your smartphone in your hand or cradling it on your arm, this will take a little practice. Just remember that the sooner you start recording after hitting the Record button, the better chance you have of keeping things steady for the duration of the shot.

6) Don’t Forget About Effects

Consider adding some effects to your travel videos to spice up the visuals. VEED is a great place to start. Some of the video tools available include VHS filter, time-lapse, and slow-motion effect. These effects can add some interest to your footage right away, but it’s even better if you use them sparingly—try adding one or two per video and see what happens.

7) Watch Out For Distractions

It can be tempting to just start pointing your camera around the room or area that you’re in, but don’t let yourself get distracted. You’ll want to focus on keeping your subject in frame while also keeping it free of any distractions (like trash on the ground, posters on the wall behind it, etc.). Pro travel videographers start by zooming in on their subject, then slowly pan the camera around to capture everything that is important.

8) Keep Your Videos Under 2 Minutes Long

You’ve probably seen travel videos before—some of them are pretty lengthy. But Marques Brownlee, a prominent tech YouTuber, suggests keeping your video short and sweet. He argues that you shouldn’t ever let your viewer’s attention stray for more than two minutes at a time, so keep the videos under 2-minutes long. It might be hard to know exactly how long your video is when you are still shooting it, but try to make edits as you are watching the footage back on your smartphone if you have to.

Summing It Up

While there is no actual formula for creating the perfect travel video, hopefully, these tips will help you shoot better footage and create a more engaging final product. The best way to improve your video skills is through practice and reflection. Shoot a lot of videos, analyze them, and learn from your mistakes. With these techniques in mind, you’re on your way to creating better travel videos that will inspire others to explore the world for themselves. Have you tried any of these techniques? What worked best for you?