Taking video footage of your travels is a great way to share your adventures with family, friends, and the public at large. Video cameras are easy to use and getting cheaper by the day and with the proliferation of free video editing software, even a amateur can make a video look professional. These 10 easy tips will help you engage, inspire, and wow your audience. Master them, and pretty soon you’ll be able to demand that everyone address you as “the travel cinematographer.”
- Avoid using the zoom, categorically. If you can’t resist categorically, don’t give into the temptation more than once per shot, at the very most .
- Stabilize the image. If you can afford to invest in a camera and the travel experience itself, you can afford to invest in a cheap travel tripod.
- Shot composition is important. The impression of three dimensions and depth can be enhanced by including lines in your shot toward the vanishing point on the horizon.
- Pay attention to the “rule of thirds” to ensure dynamism in your shot. Imagine the field of view in the camera is a grid of nine squares, arranged in three rows. Place foreground objects along the lines, if possible. The horizon in a landscape should lie along one of the horizontal lines; an interview subject can stand along the right or left axis, rather than directly in the center.
- People tend to like to watch people, as magnificent as the wall of the Sistine Chapel might be. In general, animate subjects are better than inanimate subjects.
- Carry your video camera with you everywhere you go. Don’t run the risk of missing a perfect opportunity for great travel video footage simply by leaving your camera behind in your hotel room. Also, make sure your battery is fully charged before going out for the day.
- Consider purchasing a cheap external microphone with a fuzzy wind filter if sound is important to your video.
- Keep your camera rolling. You never know what might turn out to be great video footage, but you can always delete and/or edit video footage later. Buy an extra battery and keep your camera rolling so you can pick out the high quality footage after your trip.
- Pay attention to white balance. Typically a video camera has an automatic white balance, but you can hold a white sheet in front of the camera and engage the “custom white balance” function to calibrate the camera yourself in conditions where lighting will shift from shot to shot.
- Educate yourself on the fundamentals of photography. MediaCollege.com is a good place to start.
Randall Davidson is a co-founder of AudioTranscription.Org, an innovative audio and video transcription company located in San Francisco, CA. Randall has a passion for providing the public with useful information on a wide variety of topics, including his hobby of shooting videos. His company, AudioTranscription.Org, is committed to helping both individuals and businesses succeed, both through the personal development articles that Randall writes for the company blog and through the transcription services the company provides. Incidentally, if you are interested in posting and promoting your travel videos online, pairing them with a transcript is a great way to increase your number of viewers; after all, search engines can only index the content of a video if it is accompanied by an accurate transcript.