Essential Travel Vlogging Tips to Capturing Your Holiday on Video

You whip out your camera phone, start capturing video… and then you discover that your videos aren’t really all that great. So, you buy a more expensive camera, and while the quality improved, the videos, generally haven’t.

Creating video content can be quite overwhelming, especially with the variety of techniques, information, choices of content type, camera, and destinations that you have to take into consideration.

Whether you’re going on a luxury cruise, an epic rail ride, an immersive cultural tour, a Safari, or a long trek up in the mountains to see Machu Picchu, a video or vlog (online video-log) is a great idea to capture your holiday and make your memories to last a lifetime.

To help you out with your vlogging efforts, we’ve come up with some of the traveler’s most essential video tips, with some dos and don’ts before you start capturing.

1. Know your Camera

Whether you’re using an iPhone, a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, an action cam, or one of those new, stabilized pocket video cameras, it pays to know what you’re using and to learn how to use it. The most common features that you need to know (apart from turning your device on), is how to manipulate a zoom, turning on/off night mode or how to add additional lighting through a built-in flash (more on lighting later), and of course, how to take a lens cap off and knowing how to actually RECORD footage. You don’t want to go around shooting amazing videos when you’ve forgotten to press record now, would you?

2. Capturing video HORIZONTALLY

With smartphones dominating the video space, it’s been easier than ever to capture video footage. However, this has also led to the popularity of the vertical video. While these have become the choice for platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, any video content creator or aficionado knows that shooting horizontally is still the best, as it allows you to capture the most out of your destination. Consistently using horizontal shots also makes life easier when you go on to edit your videos. Trust us on this one. Record HORIZONTALLY.

PRO-TIP: When recording horizontally, you want to restrict your movement as much as possible. If you’re planning to sweep a scene, pan from left to right (preferred by most people when viewing) with as steady a hand as possible. If you have room to bring along a tripod or stabilizer this will assist with any “camera shake”.

PRO-TIP 2: If speaking in front of the camera, show as much of your head and face as you can, with at least the top part of your chest showing when shooting (so you are not a floating head, or half a head). This allows a wider view and provides the ideal distance from the camera so you can properly engage with your potential audience. A wide-angle lens might be a good choice to show more action in the frame behind you.

3. Know your destination

Doing some background research on your destination will help you to plan out which sights and experiences to feature on your video. We’re not saying that you have to go to the trouble of a full script, but it pays well to plan ahead. Some knowledge of what there is to film, or a shot list will give you a simple plan of what to capture. Knowing this will come in handy so that you don’t run out of battery when the best and most iconic landmark is just around the corner!

4. Check your Audio Levels

Audio can really make or break your content, which is why you should always check on your audio levels. Most devices have audio meters built in, that allow you to gauge the volume of your background noise. You basically want to avoid recording your voice in situations where the background will dominate the sound on camera. Situations like when you’re on a helicopter flying above the beautiful snow-capped Rockies, watching a live concert onboard your cruise, or perhaps in the middle of an ice field where penguins squawking are in a chorus… that sort of thing.

5. Get Your Light Right

Just like photography, you’re trying to catch light when you take a video, and the best light is found outside, during the day, in the so called “magic hours”. The magic hour is just before sunrise and just before the sun sets, where the light is softer with a golden glow and long shadows make everything dramatic. Get up a bit earlier or stay a bit later (this may also avoid any crowds too!), and aim to shoot your most cinematic shots during these times.

If you plan to capture yourself in front of the camera, positioning yourself in front of the light source will put you in shadow, so be aware of this when shooting.

6. Each Video Should be Longer than 5 Seconds

Trust us. You’ll have an easier time editing and sorting through your footage (and which ones would make the final cut) with lengthier content. Longer videos also allow you to create more versatile and creative content, especially if you do decide to edit with some effects. The more you shoot, the more you have to edit!

Speaking of editing…

7. Edit, Cut, Trim… Rinse and Repeat

Photo-editing software, either on your phone through the App Store or Google Playstore, or available online will give your videos a more professional finish. Editing your videos into one cohesive story will also allow you to curate the best experiences of your trip.

Don’t know how to edit? Don’t fret, you can easily learn online – It’s amazing what you can find on YouTube! And while you’re not trying to edit the next superhero movie – trust us, once you’ve got the basics down, editing will be a breeze.

8. Let Your Personality Shine Through

Landmarks, monuments, temples, mountains and oceans can all blend together into one, save for some color differences, lighting, angles… you know what we mean! What makes a video unique is the composition, the direction, and the personality of the videographer – you! Taking your audience on a journey, sharing your experiences with all of your excitement, showing them the things that are important to you gives your video sparkle, a bit of pizzazz, it gives the film some personality. So, when you decide to shoot, edit, create your videos, let your personality shine through. Let every video be about YOU and your adventures.

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