Traveling with the family is no doubt one of the most important and treasured family activities, especially with everyone getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The exotic locations, colorful people, exciting events and spectacular scenery are all part of what makes a vacation so memorable. And part of the joy of traveling is sharing the experiences with others when you get back, so it is important to be prepared to turn your vacations into successful videos. Follow these 10 tips to help guide you to creating vacation videos that grabs your audiences’ attention.
Always Be Prepared
Probably the most important thing to take note of is to make sure you are all prepared and have every video equipment you need before leaving the house. As vacations often involve traveling overseas, there is no way you can go back home to take the things you forgot, and it can also be quite inconvenient to find replacement accessories at your destination. So be sure to pack your camera battery charger and adapter (if necessary), extra batteries and storage memory cards. To be on the safe side, create a packing checklist for all your video equipment and tick them off the list as you place your equipment in the suitcase.
Plan for Success
As with everything else, planning and preparation is the key to a successful travel video. Start off by conducting some research on the Internet or through a travel guide on your destination(s) and make notes on what is worth taping when you arrive there. If you’re traveling to a place you’ve already visited, then think of ways you can shoot the destination in a new light.
Create A Story
There is always a reason why a decision is made to record your vacation. Is it the family’s first time on a cruise ship, your parent’s first time on a plane, or your kids’ first trip to Disneyland? If this is not a vacation of “first’s”, then what makes this one stand out from any other vacation your family has taken? Is it a special trip to your daughter’s favorite country for her 21st birthday, or a trip to France for your parent’s 50th wedding anniversary? Whatever it is, keep the backstory of this vacation in your mind and capture shots that tell that story.
Establish The Scene With Signs And Descriptions
When on vacation, there will be loads of things to do and places to see, so it’s easy to get caught up with just filming the activity but not the location the activity is at. Sure, landmarks like The Eiffel Tower or Times Square will be instantly recognizable without having to give any indication, but you don’t want to look back at your videos and wonder what the other locations were. To avoid this, always shoot signs, maps, street names, exterior shots and any other identifying items that will give the audience a sense of where you are and for what purpose.
Keep Your Shots Steady
Vacation videos are meant to be re-watched and shared with other people, so it is important to keep your shots as steady as possible, to avoid getting your viewers dizzy. Even though it might be quite inconvenient to carry one around, using a tripod is your best bet for steady shots. In the event that you do not have a tripod available, steady your shots by holding your camera firmly with both hands and tucking your elbows in close to your body before you hit the record button. It is also a good idea to take a look around your surroundings to see if there is a sturdy surface like a table to prop your camera on or a wall that you can rest your body against to keep yourself steady.
Keep Your Shots Short
When filming in a location that you don’t have to access to on a daily basis, it is easy to get carried away and leave the camera filming for long periods of time, even if the recorded scene is of a static building or landmark. But this will present you with a bit of a headache during the editing process. So practise being selective and keep each one of your shots to less than 10 seconds, utilizing multiple shots at different angles and distances. This will bring variety to your video and will prevent your audience from getting bored. Also, shooting shorter shots betters your footage and cuts down your work during the editing process.
Interview Friends And Family
Vacation videos are not just about the scenery and the landmarks you see, it’s also about the people you’re traveling with! So whether you’re with your family or friends, conducting interviews with them is a great way to enhance the story behind your vacation video. Not only do they capture the moment, but they also capture the emotion behind it. Interview your spouse, friends, parents, strangers you meet on the trip; basically anyone and everyone who will allow you to interview them. If possible, get your kids in on the interviews as well! Their childlike sense of wonder and excitement gives your video a sense of realness and perspective that no one else in the family can provide.
Zoom Only When Necessary
When shooting any type of video, the general consensus is to lay off the zoom function as much as possible. But there are times when there are certain restrictions placed on walking in closer to the landmark or building or statue. So what happens is that there will then be a need to use the zoom function to capture the detail of whatever is seen. For such cases, position one foot a few inches in front of you and the other behind you. Lean back over your back foot and start filming. Then, move in until your entire body is over the front foot. Also, it’s important to remember to not zoom in and out while taking the shot because it really disorientates the viewer.
Pan Like A Pro
Just like zooming, you’ll find that there will be instances where you might need to pan to capture everything that you see. For example, the Eiffel Tower is such a huge monument that if shot up close, there is no way the entire tower can fit into the shot. As such, the panning movement is utilized to capture the tower from top to base. When you find yourself in such instances, position your feet pointing directly at where you want the shot to end, then twist your upper body to where you want to begin the shot. Then, start shooting and unwind your upper body as you move through the shot until your body returns to the position directly over where your feet are pointing.
Change Up Your Shots And Vary Your Perspective
Adding different perspectives to your video will make it interesting and engaging for your audience. This not only includes a mixture of wide shots, medium shots and close ups; but also shots of varying angles of your subjects. Also, if you’re comfortable with the idea, hand over your camera to your children and let them shoot. The result? Some really interesting footage and angles that you may have never considered.
As always, there is no need to follow all the tips listed here rigidly. Just keep them in mind and let your imagination and creativity take over when filming vacation videos. What’s more important is that the enjoyment of all the sights and sounds with the people you’re with should come first, and that the worry of shooting your activities come second. There is nothing like the memory getting immersed in the activities yourself firsthand.
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