How to make a vacation video or travel video

5 tips for making a vacation video

Learn how to make a vacation video today! I get asked all the time how I make my vacation videos and travel videos.  If you look back at my earlier work, you will notice that I had no clue what I was doing.  I watched hours of YouTube videos from other travelers and they looked so professional.  I studied them, watching tutorials and even upgraded my equipment.  After about 9 months of trial and error, I started figuring out what it takes.  I’m by no mean an expert or full blown professional, but I know the ingredients which I will share with you today so that you can make amazing vacation videos and travel videos.

Step 1

The Story

It was months before I realized that some of my vacation videos and travel videos were all over the place. When I would travel, I would shoot anything that I thought was exciting, a unique moment or something that could look good in a video.  When I would play it back, I found that it was not as interesting as I originally thought in the moment and was not even a usable shot.

After some more training, I figured out that I needed to have a story that I was trying to tell before I even went to shoot the video.  Too many people just shoot film to shoot and then they go to production and find out that they do not have what they need and that they have too many videos to comb through.  Do you want your audience to be educated?  Is it just to entertain your audience?  Are you trying to sell them on something?

Recommendation:  Create a script by determining the message you are trying to send with the vacation video.  For most that are reading this how to, you are probably creating this video so that you can share it with family and friends.  You likely want them to feel like they were part of your vacation or travel experience and to see some of the exciting things that you did.  You likely know where you are going for the most part.  Break that down to the shots that you need to get, like the amazing waterfall, parts of the scenery driving, the boat ride to the secluded island.

Figure out what “B-Roll” you will want to get.  This is all the secondary footage for your vacation video or travel video that might not be as exciting but helps connect the story.  It could be a shot of the sky, your travel partner walking in front of you or panning across a beach.

Step 2

The Equipment

Once you know what you want to shoot, you will need to have the right equipment to shoot your video.  Sure you can capture a lot of the video on your iPhone or Galaxy phone, but if you want to get some really good footage, you’ll want to upgrade your equipment to some higher quality gear such as a GoPro, DJI Osmo or DSLR camera.

One of the first cameras I got was the GoPro Hero waterproof camera.  It only shot in 1080p but the footage looked amazing and I was able to get some great shots while snorkeling, jet skiing and other water related activities. I’ve since upgraded to the GoPro 4 Silver, and since onto the newest GoPro Hero 5 Black.  This is a MUST HAVE camera for any vacation as its extremely compact where you can carry with you anywhere and get 4k footage of your journey.

If you are looking to move up in quality and expand capabilities, you might take a look at getting a DSLR, like the Sony a6000 that shots 4k footage along with being able to capture extremely high-resolution images. Other options might be the Osmo+ by DJI.  The quality is in 4k, but its a bit bulky and takes some time to startup so if you want to capture something quickly, this is probably not the route you want to go.

Then there are the drones.  If you want to take your vacation videos to the next level, you might look at getting into the drone market and buying something like the DJI Mavic Pro.  It’ll add some amazing views and footage to your travel videos.

Step 3

Getting the footage

Now that you know the story that you are going to tell and the equipment to capture the footage, you need to get out there and get the right shots.  This is probably the most difficult step to making an amazing vacation video.  Even though you made a list of the shots that you need to get (from step 1), making sure you get good footage is very important. This consists of the right lighting, background, sounds (if applicable), stability and everything in between.

My first videos were extremely shaky and sometimes hard to watch for viewers because of that. A technique that can be used in getting stable footage is to slow the footage down through recording in slow motion and editing it in production.  I use a stabilizer for my GoPro which makes for very stable footage.  Using a tripod for your video camera can also help a bit in getting stable footage.

Another key to shooting quality footage is to make sure you get plenty of angles for each scene/shot.  The last thing you want is to get into production and find that you missed some key footage because of poor lighting or bad backgrounds.

Rule of thumb is to check your footage before moving on to ensure that you are satisfied with your shots.

Recommended video equipment

Step 4

Creating the video

Now that you have your footage, you will need some video editing software to make your amazing vacation video.  There are a lot of options out there depending on your budget, skill set, and quality that you are wanting out of your vacation video.

Quik (by GoPro) – if you have a GoPro action camera that you use to capture all of your footage, Quik by GoPro will be the fastest and easiest way to creating amazing vacation videos.  Quik allows you to upload all of your vacation footage where you can drag and drop edits, add filters and/or text as well as have the edits play to featured or your own music.  They also have an iPhone and Android App that makes it extremely easy to use on the go, that in my opinion, is better than the desktop app. This is also a free piece of software.

Wondershare Filmora – I used to solely have GoPro footage so all of my videos were made using Quik.  However, as I added in footage from my drone(s), DSLR’s and other recording devices, I needed something that I had a little bit more control over.  I found Filmora on a random ad and paid the $59 (one-time fee) and gave it a try.  I use this currently for all of my vacation videos. It is easy to use and has the ability to add animation to any video, intros and text overlays along with more advanced editing features.

Adobe Premiere – Adobe is known for their photo and video editing software.  This is by far the most robust solution out there that really gives you full control to make extremely professional looking vacation videos that people might think are commercial.  Through Adobe Premiere you can add in pretty much any custom effect and even delete elements out of a frame, such as those annoying tourists in the background.  There are a few negatives to this, one being the price of $49/month. This is truely an enterprise level program for creators that are making lots of videos and know what they are doing. With that being said, there is quite a learning curve as there are so many features that you are likely going to want or need to take some classes or courses to learn how to use it.

iMovie or Final Cut – These are both Apple products.  iMovie is a free tool that is available for all Macs.  While lots of people like using it to make videos, you are quite limited.  As a beginner, it is worth trying out to see if you like it.  If you are looking for some more control, you could try out Final Cut, which is Apple’s version of Adobe Premiere.

If you are a beginner looking to make a vacation video, I would start with Quik or Wondershare Filmora.  If you are just shooting footage with your GoPro, then you can use Quik for your first couple videos.  Otherwise, spend the $60 and get Wondershare Filmora.  If you are planning or wanting to really make some amazing vacation videos now and in the future, and not just a couple here and there, move to Adobe Premiere.

Step 5

Sharing the video

You are done and ready to share your vacation video with friends and family or the travel community.  There are many options out there to upload the vacation video to the internet where you then can send a link to family and friends.  You can upload it directly to Facebook, Vimeo or YouTube if you wanted.  Our suggestion is creating a YouTube account where you can store all of your vacation videos there.  While our  YouTube channel has grown to be more than just vacation videos, we started it solely for that purpose and we were able to share our YouTube links on other social media channels and directly with family and friends.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

-Have a plan by creating a short script so that you know what shots that you want to get. This will help eliminate you spending the vacation with the camera always out and shooting everything and anything that will essentially be useless.

-Get plenty of quality footage so that there is no shortage when you are making your vacation video.

-Practice makes perfect. You’re likely not going to make an amazing video on the first try. The more you make videos, see what works and does not work and you’ll figure out the right way to make amazing vacation videos.

-Ask for feedback. Ask friends and family what they thought of it. Was it too long? Was it entertaining? This will help to make sure you are making quality vacation videos for your audience.

Here are some top camera products that we use

when making vacation videos and travel videos

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