Next time you go on vacation, go prepared to record a better vacation video.
Shoot People, Not Scenery
Think about why you’re shooting vacation video in the first place—to remember what you did while you were there.
The Grand Canyon will probably look exactly the same 10 years from now. In case it doesn’t, thousands of great photographers have already shot it better than you can. What makes your vacation video special is that you took grandma and the kids to see the Grand Canyon – and remember that awesome hairdo sister sally had on that trip? Spectacular!
“But the view is incredible!” you say. It is – in real life. Not so much on someone else’s screen. Video of the rain forest looks great in a theater, pretty good in 4K on your 60” flat screen, and like any other blurry set of trees on your iPhone. Unless you’re shooting with professional gear, best to go easy on the scenery shots and use them for sweeping transitions between shots of people.
Use the scenery as background to shots of people doing things and your videos will be much more engaging.
Change It Up With Some Interviews
Video is an incredible medium to capture who people are in certain situations. It can be so much more fun to look back on a family vacation video and see how cute the kids sounded when they talked about seeing Mickey Mouse rather than just seeing the photo or video of them standing next to him. This footage is also great to have for the wedding video you’ll be putting together in about 20 years. Capturing emotions and feelings about key events before, during, and after the vacation will be great pieces to fit around and tell the story of your epic vacation and make the chunk of cash you spent to be there so much more worth it when you look back at video down the road.
Don’t Record Everything
Editing Your Video
Once you return home and recuperate for a day or two, you can begin post production of your vacation video. When you plan your vacation video up front and script the story you want to tell with the video, you can more easily film the right shots to match each scene in the story and not too many extras. If that’s you, then your post-edit will be much easier. If you didn’t follow our advice to be selective of what shots you film, you’ll now be wading through hours upon hours of footage that would put the entire family to sleep.
Upload and Organize Your Footage
The first step of the edit is to cut out all the clips you don’t want and only keep the clips you do want in the editing software. This will help keep things clean and organized.
Once you get your stage organized, you’ll want to order your clips by chronology of the final video and start laying them down track by track. Each clip will need to be motion stabilized, cropped, angle adjusted, color corrected, and transitioned. This can take a lot of time to get right and many free or entry level video editing software programs don’t even allow for much granularity in this process. Don’t worry too much if you can’t do these steps, but if you can – they will make the final product look much more professional.
Animation and Effects
Next you’ll want to add any text, animation, or graphics to the video. If you want to add dates, locations, names of people, or events, you can go crazy and be as creative as you want, but we find it best to use simple text with smooth and clean animations, but it will depend on the feeling you’re trying to evoke.
If you want to get fancy, you can add a good intro and outro to your video with some animations and sound effects. This is optional and often a fade in from black or white is just as effective.
Once you get the video dialed in, you can start working through the audio. Ensure all the volume levels are stable throughout and work to remove any unwanted background noise, or artifacts.
People frequently ask what the best camera is to shoot vacation videos. The best camera is usually the one you have with you when you need it. Most frequently this means you’ll be shooting with your phone camera. This used to mean poor quality video, but with newer phones, you can get amazingly great footage.
Other cameras you may want to bring on your vacation to capture all the action are adventure cameras like the GoPro that goes in a waterproof and mountable case. This will let you film all the fun of you flying out of the raft into the rapids or diving off that massive cliff into the lake. Drone cameras can also get you some incredible shots and unique perspectives.
Regardless of what cameras you bring, be sure to remember all the memory cards, batteries, microphone attachments, and other accessories. With some good planning and careful framing of your vacation video shots, you’ll have a viral vacation video worth watching over and over again.
Now get out there and make some memories!