When travelling, capturing your adventures and memories can be a very rewarding undertaking. Although photographs are most travelers’ go-to medium, the last decade has seen video capture and editing become increasingly accessible and easy. With a smartphone and editing software, you can soon have a fairly decent travel video. However, making a good travel video requires patience, preparation, and a fair amount of practice. In this guide we’ll explore what you need to know in order to get started. We’ll cover what equipment you need to pack, how to get the best shots for your video, and how to edit the final results.
Travel Photography Equipment
When travelling, you have to pack for a number of eventualities, and the same principle applies to photography and videography. You’ll need to determine how much space and weight you have available, and plan accordingly. Below are some of the essentials you should bring for making a travel video:
Cameras and Lenses
Choosing the right camera and lens can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. They are the equipment that’s going to do the most work, so make sure you get it right in advance. Here are some of our suggestions for travel cameras:
1. Sony RX100
Why it’s great:
- Premium compact camera with 20.1-megapixel sensor.
- Excellent 1080p video capture.
- 28-100mm Carl Zeiss zoom lens with f/1.8 aperture.
Sony’s RX100 range has been around for a while now, and the original model is still one of our favorite travel cameras. It balances functionality, affordability, and size to make it easy and affordable to travel with. It’s light and compact, yet still robust enough to withstand life on the road. Photos and videos come out in excellent quality, thanks to both the 20.1-megapxiel sensor and the Car Zeiss zoom lens. You can shoot in RAW format and have full manual control, which will appeal to photographers, and constant shooting and video capture is equally impressive. Overall this is our top pick of cameras for making a travel video.
- The upgraded model, the RX100 V has more features and better video. However, the RX100 still holds its own.
Why it’s great:
- Mirrorless camera with 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor.
- 4K and 1080p video capture.
- Tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD.
This is one of the finest mirrorless cameras available and is another camera that’s perfect for traveling with. Its robust and stylish build houses a high-quality APS-C image sensor that captures fantastic video and photos. 4K video makes this ideal for those looking to document their travels, and a 3-inch articulated touchscreen LCD makes shooting on the move easy and convenient. Despite its sturdy casing, it’s a lightweight camera that fits nicely in hand luggage. A variety of Fujifilm lenses are available for the X-T20, giving photographers and videographers a number of options to choose from.
- The body of the camera isn’t weather sealed, so you’ll need to be careful when taking it in adverse conditions.
Ideally you want to cover the range of 24-70mm as a minimum when it comes to lenses. You can do this by either having a versatile zoom lens that covers that range with a reasonable maximum aperture, or by having a selection of prime lenses for different situations. The choice comes down to personal preference, space, and budget.
Drones and GoPro
Drones are a relatively new technology, but one that allows you to take some absolutely epic shots. The same is true for the GoPro. If you’re on the move and doing adventure sports, a GoPro can record a first-person view of the action. When it comes to drones, be aware of the relevant laws in the area you want to fly it, and invest in the correct filters for your shoot. Be responsible, and make sure you get some breathtaking footage.
There are some essential accessories that you’ll need when shooting your travel movie. The complete list is below:
If you’ve invested in a good camera and lenses, you’ll want to spend that little bit more to buy a high-quality camera bag. You want something that’s robust and secure, that’s going to protect your gear no matter what the circumstances. Make sure it’s big enough to carry your delicate equipment and the other accessories you’ll want to take.
If you’re taking a lot of video, a good microphone is essential. Otherwise, the noise of the wind will be all your camera captures. Look for an external microphone that’s capable of capturing good audio and isolating sounds.
Make sure you have enough spare batteries to cover you for your entire trip. If you’re on the move a lot you may not have the chance to charge your battery, so having a spare or three means you can switch whenever you’re out.
As with the above, make sure you have enough for the duration of your journey. Time spent deleting and sorting through your one memory card to free up space is time that could be spent capturing video.
It’s highly likely you’ll want to get some steady shots during your travels. A tripod should be on every photographer’s pack list. Options are varied, but try and find something lightweight and sturdy.
How to Get the Best Shots for Your Travel Video
Once you have everything you need in terms of equipment, you’ll need to know a bit about how to shoot your travel video. See below for our top tips:
Shoot lots of B-roll
B-roll is footage of the smaller details of your travels. It’s the filler that will make your viewers feel more connected to the movie, and give them a more authentic sense of what you experienced. They’re great to intersperse between action shots, with music or commentary over the top.
To engage with your audience and create a personal feeling about your travel video, talk directly to the camera. This can be challenging at first, and you may feel a bit silly, or not give very much detail. A great tip is to answer questions (preferably asked by someone else). This gives a genuine response and also allows you to direct your attention at the camera. It also makes great audio to put over the above B-Rolls.
Although this sounds like simple advice, really make an effort to establish steady shots with a smooth zoom (if you’re using one). For one it makes your movie look more professional, and it also gives your viewers a chance to focus on the details. It also prevents them feeling nauseous from watching footage that jumps around.
Use the Angle
Although it can be interesting for viewers to see the view as you experienced it, there are a variety of angles that can make your footage far more interesting. Try a range of different shots, from up high to down low. Some will work, whilst others won’t, but you’re better getting the footage while you can and editing out the bad parts later.
Edit. A Lot.
You’re bound to shoot far more footage than you need. Some of it will be interesting, whilst a lot of it won’t be. Make sure you keep cutting your footage down until you have only the good bits. You may feel that you’re being overly picky, but your audience will thank you for it. Keep it interesting, relevant, and varied.
Try and show your viewers what you’re doing on your travels rather than constantly telling them. Long shots of you explaining to the camera what’s going on aren’t that interesting, so instead use commentary over some interesting shots where necessary.
Look for Ways to Improve
No project will be perfect, particularly early on. You’ll more than likely find yourself limited by your technology, so look for the faults in your footage and work around them. If your audio is terrible, pick up a microphone, if your shots are too shaky invest in a good tripod. Sometimes spending money on the problem is the answer.
How to Edit Your Travel Video
Once you’ve done all your shooting, it’s time to settle down and make sense of the potentially hours of footage you have. Be prepared to be brutal with cutting. Also make sure you know some of the fundamentals of travel video editing:
Choose the Right Software : Movavi
Although the concept of using editing software may seem like something best left to the pros, modern editing suites can be very easy to pick up and start using. There are a lot to choose from though, so have a look around to see what’s best suited to your needs and skill level. There are even programs that you can install on your phone to edit footage captured on there.
You’ll want to take time to get to grips with it, and will likely need a bit of practice before you’re fluent in any one editing suite. However, the benefits are more than worth the time. Your movie will come out looking more professional and better edited than before.
Use Songs and Sound Effects
Even if you have a professional-grade microphone, you may find that the ambient noise isn’t all that thrilling or interesting on some of your shots. To combat this, use songs and sound effects that compliment your movie. There’s no ‘right’ music to add to your footage, so have a play around with some different sounds to see what works. Look for sites that offer free audio samples to expand your range.
Use your video editing software to add your media files and choose the clip you wish to merge it with. You’ll then be able to edit the audio alongside the movie file to produce some great results.
Even once you’ve cut your footage down to the very best parts, having one continuous shot after another isn’t going to look amazing. Transitions are a great way of adding some polish to your travel movie. The video editing software that you use will most likely have a huge variety of transitions you can use. Once your media is loaded into the program, you can experiment with different effects to try and make something that flows together well.
Once you’re finished with your transitions, add some title text, as well as any other headings you feel are necessary. Try not to add too much text as it may detract from the visuals, but they can be a good way of indicating location and time.
With all of the advice above, you should be well equipped to prepare for, shoot, and edit a really great travel video. Try and have an idea in mind about the type of footage you want, and remember that you’re better capturing too much than too little. You can edit the extra footage out later.