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How to Make a Better Travel Vlog | Tips for 2017

Picture it:  You're standing at the top of Roy's Peak.  The sun is just rising over Lake Wanaka.  You have your trusty GoPro in hand.  Turn it on and point it at the sun?  How do you capture this moment: your feelings, the sounds, the air; so you can share feeling with the world?  Here's a few little things to keep in mind that will make a HUGE difference.

This is not a video.  It's a picture.  But if it was a video, it would look sweet too.

This is not a video.  It's a picture.  But if it was a video, it would look sweet too.

Talk to Yourself

Never work with animals or children.  Unless you have a chance to work with monkeys.  Always work with monkeys.

Never work with animals or children.  Unless you have a chance to work with monkeys.  Always work with monkeys.

The most difficult thing when we started shooting videos was to sit down and talk to the camera. The best way to get over that initial awkwardness is to have someone asking you questions about what you're doing today, how you felt about the experience, etc. Make sure that when you answer those questions (even if you're prompting yourself) that you answer in complete sentences. Then you can simply cut the audio of the question being posed. Sounds quite simple but a quick “talk in” to what the video or subject of the video is about is a great way to hook your audience.

Capture B Roll

B-Roll.  Also known as Insta-gold.

B-Roll.  Also known as Insta-gold.

Mark it down- 2017 is the year that the classic version of vlogging starts to die its already overdue death. Yapping heads droning on and on about what they did or what they want to do, or worse: what they're about to do during their trip is played out. To create a truly dynamic video, focus on trying to capture all that great background footage of your trip-sunsets on the beach, snorkeling reefs, footage of sled dogs, close ups of flowers blowing in the wind, etc…..all this footage can go over verbal talk ins, personal reflections, or a rocking soundtrack.

Go out there and get some awesome B Roll footage.

Don't Be Serious

Two sober jerks.

Two sober jerks.

Unless you're Richard Attenborough, you should really limit the amount of facts that you're throwing at the camera. The most cringe worthy and unfortunately boring travel videos usually are the ones were some teenager yaps on endlessly about the details of some complex subject they have zero grasp of, like theology in Indonesia.

A few fun facts can be, well, fun, but overall, the Youtube audience is watching travel vlogs to have a good time. If you want to throw in a little learning, think hydrogen peroxide volcano, not organic chemistry textbook. Stick with what you know and take the viewer along on the fun part of the trip. Leave the educational stuff to the pros at BBC.

For damn sake, hold the camera steady

A gimbal! (or the exact moment when I gave up on Allison ever holding the camera steady by herself)

A gimbal! (or the exact moment when I gave up on Allison ever holding the camera steady by herself)

Just hold the camera steady. If you can't hold the camera steady, set it on a table. Or a chair. Or press it against the wall, or buy a gimbal.

Shooting with a GoPro and have nothing to set the camera on? Hold it against your chin or forehead. Yes-seriously. Turns out the human body is a great steadicam. Or buy a gimbal.

Use Interesting Angles

Not pictured: Finney holding the camera just above the water to make this pic look epic. 

Not pictured: Finney holding the camera just above the water to make this pic look epic. 

If you're lazy and shoot everything eye height the audience is going to get bored quick. Lay down and shoot up so that everything has a taller, more epic appearance. Shoot scenes with items really close in the foreground to give the scene depth. Get creative with where you place the camera and what the focus is. Alternate establishing shots with close ups in your final edit for visual variety.

Cut out the everything not necessary, and then cut even more

The worst sin of creating video is to be boring. It's really easy to get attached to footage you may have shot but attention spans are at an all time low. Chop your footage, chop out even more, and then have a friend give feedback on where they feel your video drags and where it rocks. Learning to be brutal with what you don't show is one of the hardest skills to learn.

Stop NARRATING and do

"Look, I'm getting on a plane!"

"Look, I'm getting on a plane!"

"Today we'll be doing this".  "We're about to get on the plane". "We're at the bus stop".  Yes.  We're watching VIDEO. That is our visual aid and using context clues we have figured out you are at the airport.  Now, film your conversation with someone, talk about how you're feeling or better yet, get out and start doing something (in your video) and cut out the majority of that "dead" time.

If nothing else, throw money at the problem

Like all problems in life, there is no problem that money can't solve.

So those are true beginner tips for how to improve your travel footage starting right now. What are your best tips for travel videos? Drop something in the comments! We'll use the best tips in an upcoming video.


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