Are you a beginner wondering how to make travel videos? This post is for you! 5 top tips from one beginner to another – yes, because we are super lazy when it comes to videos, but thanks to these tips we’ll be making more and more!
We have a love/hate relationship when it comes to video. Just look at our long-neglected YouTube channel to see why – we get really into making videos for a while, film like crazy, buy new gadgets, edit, post a whole bunch of videos, and then go back to doing nothing.
We have about 5 hard drives full of footage, lying forgotten. We would like to make videos regularly, but we find the process really overwhelming. Should we make hero style videos, or opt for ‘vlogging’? Should we plan our trips around the kind of footage we want, or just film as we travel? What about editing – where do we begin?
We are still very much at the start of our video journey, and with videos expected to become gain more and more traction recently, it’s important to practice as much as we can.
Here are our 5 beginner tips on how to make great travel videos. Please let me emphasise that we are not experts at travel video making, by any means, we just want to share our learning journey with you!
1) Watch Travel Videos
As a writer, reading is just as important as writing to hone your skills. The same can be said about anything really – learning is a never ending process, and even if you’re an expert in a specific field, you can always learn from your peers.
I’ve met so many bloggers who said ‘they don’t really read blogs’, and I think that’s really silly – how else are you going to keep yourself up to date to what’s going on in the industry?
Watching travel videos is a really good way to get inspired about new filming and editing styles. ‘Inspired’ should be the operative word here – remember, try not to copy, but to reinterpret what you see according to your own style.
At first, watching videos of established vloggers/videomakers may be a bit daunting. ‘I’ll never be that good!’ that’s what most people think, including us. Some say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything – whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but spending some of them watching travel video isn’t all that bad!
2) Plan Your Videos in Advance
Let’s imagine you travel to Milan for a weekend, to film a city break-style video. How do you want your video to be? Are you going to be speaking? Will you feature snippets of different places, as if it were a listicle blog post, or will you opt for a dreamy, cinematic style?
It’s good to answer these questions before travelling to your chosen destination. The #1 beginner mistake when making travel videos is not planning, just filming random stuff – then wishing that inspiration will come to you when editing, and you’ll *magically* find a super cool way to put all that footage together.
Guess what – most of the times, it won’t. You’ll find yourself screaming at your laptop, hoping to find a way out of that pile of footage. The solution? Try to plan your travel video beforehand, thinking about how to open it, how to close it, what kind of shots you need, and where and when you’ll need to be at sunrise, sunset and so on.
Storyboarding really helps – check out this video for a great intro to storyboarding, and why it’s useful.
3) Your Gear Doesn’t Matter!
What’s in your travel video bag? Camera, GoPro, drone, gimbal, filters, tripod, stabiliser… do you really need that much stuff, especially at the beginning of your adventure into making travel videos?
Remember that old photography adage – the best camera is the one you have on you when you need it. The same applies to videos. Most of the times you can just capture that awesome scene right in front of you on your smartphone, in a matter of minutes.
Besides, there’s nothing more boring than a ‘hero video’ that’s just drone shot after timelapse after drone shot repeated ad infinitum – you know what I mean!
So, don’t weigh yourself down with lots of useless gear, especially at the beginning. Your phone can do the job – you’ll always have time to upgrade your gear later on!
4) Use Apps to Edit
This could be a topic for an entire post. There are millions of apps out there, ranging from free ones like iMovie (cool, but basic) to paid apps like FinalCut and subscription based programs like Premiere Pro and After Effects – which are great, but can really, really be daunting for beginners wanting to make travel videos.
Personally, I like apps that are intuitive enough for dummies, yet give you plenty of chances to play around with your footage. One of my favourite apps to edit videos is Filmora, which includes a library of video styles guiding you through the entire editing process, telling you what kind of footage you need and when, plus video LUTs (like presets, but for videos), music, transitions, and more.
If iMovie is not quite enough for you, but you don’t want to spend $$$ for professional level programs like Premiere Pro, then Filmora is perfect for you. We loved how straightforward it was – even a complete video noob like myself was able to import, cut and trim video clips, then add titles and effects from the extensive library.
I find editing with Filmora easy and fun – check out this Trentino video we produced in just a few hours!
If you need some extra inspiration, check out these 10 travel video making tips from the good folks at Filmora!
5) Don’t Forget the Music!
A good video needs sound – whether is it your voice, or music, or a mixture of the two. Finding good music is an essential step in making a good travel video, and one where many beginner travel video makers (including ourselves, once again) often come undone.
The music should be in line with the tone and pace of your video, but try not to fall into cultural stereotypes – i.e. drums in videos about Africa, guitars in Spain, and so on. Rather, follow the beats of the music you’ve chosen, and add transitions accordingly.
Some videomakers choose music before starting to edit, others during, but the end result should be the same – make sure that what you hear and what you see ‘go well’ together.
Also, don’t forget that you can’t just use any piece of music you found on the Internet – it needs to be properly licensed. There are plenty of websites offering royalty-free music, which can be great for beginners, but I bet you’ll get tired of it soon.
Filmora also has a music library, and there are some other subscription based libraries like Epidemic, which is well worth the extra expense!