Better Travel Videos

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By Jason Anderson | Case Studies

May 15

When you go on vacation, you spend a lot of time taking in the view, relaxing, and checking out the local cuisine... soaking it all in. And if you're like most people, what else do you end up doing?

You end up taking a lot of photos and video.  Right?

Then, you find that your phone or video camera (or both) is loaded with a bunch of random clips that sits in your memory stick or hard drive that you rarely ever revisit.

That's exactly what Jon did when he visited the Amazon and had the time of his life.  So instead of making a boring slideshow, he asked us to compile everything he shot into a nice, creative overview video of his trip.

Case Study

Client:  

Jon Bowes 

Objective:

Make an amazing highlight video of his trip to the Amazon


What we did:

  • Started by reviewing over 100 different images and video clips that Jon dumped into a Dropbox folder to see what kind of story we could build from it.
  • We found all the videos with audio and carefully puzzled a storyline together
  • After the story was solid, we found images and videos to support the story, then peppered them in beneath his voice at times to keep it flowing and interesting.
  • Added appropriate motion text to help tell the story
  • Finally, we found some royalty-free music that went well with the video and the voice.  Volia!

What the client (Jon) did:

  • Provided a Dropbox link with dozens and dozens of videos and images for us to work from
  • Approved our first and only draft!  

Time To Completion:  About 6 hours of editing work went into this.

So, here are some tips to think about so you can create better travel videos when you come home:

  • Take lots of pictures.  The more you have, the more you have to work with when editing your story.  Take more than you think you need. When on vacation, your story is just unfolding, so you don't really know at this point what you'll need.  So, just get in the habit of snapping that picture.  
  • Shoot LONGER video clips.  You can always cut a video clip, but you can never add to it.   Use the "10 Second" rule:  Shoot for 10 seconds before AND after the action you want to capture. 

    Trust me, when shooting, an extra 10 seconds feels like a LONG time even though it doesn't sound like much.  This will give you much more flexibility when it comes to editing a story.
  • Shoot more than one take.  - - I get it, you're on vacation or on a business trip and you don't always have time to shoot everything two or three times.  You want to enjoy yourself and not get too caught up in capturing everything on video (or you'll miss out on the actual experience).  So don't worry too much about getting several takes ... just keep "double take" in mind when you are filming something.

    For example, if you're shooting a video of, oh, let's say, a bird hunting for scraps on a beach, do a couple takes of the action.  Or, maybe you're shooting a video of people on a busy sidewalk, get the footage, then get some more.  It takes just a few extra seconds to get a different angle or additional shots that you can choose from later.
  • Tell a story of what you did for the day or for the trip as a whole.  Like Jon did in this Amazon visit video, set up a tripod or have someone shooting you telling a story of what you did.  

    What you're doing is setting the dialogue so that you can edit in all the footage that you took into the video.  Later, when the video is edited, you or your editor (hopefully us) can then weave in all the visuals from your dialogue.   

    Remember all the shots you took that day and just start talking about the experience.  It will feel awkward and long - expect that.  That's ok though.  You might stumble on your words.  That's OK too.  Just start back up where you stumbled and say it over.  You can always just take your best talking points and use only those in your edited video.

    If it feels awkwardly long, like I mentioned, that's good.  The story can be cut down (we did a lot of that in this example video).  If it's too short, you don't have a lot to work with for the final video, so embrace the awkward feeling.  Embrace that it might feel like a boring story because it's getting too long.  You'll be really happy that you over talked than under.  A 5 minute conversation with the camera is a good length.  

    PRO TIP:  If you are camera shy and feel a little weird talking directly into the camera, angle your body and your head about 20-30 degrees away from the camera and talk to a friend.  This will look like you've been interviewed.  It's a nice little effect and a good way to overcome camera jitters.  Sometimes it even makes the video a bit more "professional" when you do it that way so there's nothing to lose.
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About the Author

Jason is the founder of Video Buddy. In 2010, he opened iMotion Video, a motion graphic video production company which has produced over 8,000 individual promotional videos for clients worldwide. Now, Video Buddy is his latest project with a focus on social media video editing for small business & entrepreneurs.

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