How To Make Cinematic Travel Videos | 10 Useful Tips For Beginner Videographers

Updated on October 5, 2021

As a videographer, video editor, and traveler I will explain how to create stunning videos with little gear and easy methods. Creating a travel film is the dream of many people who are fascinated by exotic locations, unique experiences, or unfamiliar cultures. If you aspired filmmaker, you will need a few pieces of equipment and some preparation in order to create cinematic travel videos.

To create an astonishing film that captures the beauty of your location, a higher-end camera is recommended. But does this mean that only the biggest productions can make beautiful videos? Of course not! Good travel films are made by creative people who understand how to approach their stories. Anybody can become a filmmaker, the only thing that separates you from your artistic peers is knowledge and determination.

Do not be intimidated by cameras with features that seem to be overwhelming at first glance, just think about what kind of story you want to tell. You can do it! Remember that great journeys are started by imagining them in our minds

1) Make some research about the places

Before going to the location, you should learn more about it. Note that some things might change during your trip, but this is okay and in most cases adds to the experience. Search for locations and plan the order of shooting. It will be easier to shoot the material you need and tell your story in a logical way. For me, it is always the best time to shoot in the morning, this is because there are way fewer people, and everything is calm. So, especially if there are no clouds, you can get a perfect shot during the sunrise.

2) Select the right frame rate

I learned that the hard way, when I was recording my latest travel video about Colombia's Andes I forgot that in the different continents there are different electric voltages and frequencies. What does it mean? Well, while you are recording in your studio at 24fps it looked great, while at the location-it was flickering. The same happened to me when I recorded with a drone. Remember, that there is no good and bad frame rate, you need to match the frame rate from your camera with those from the location.

3) Remember about the sound

In most cases, people forget or do not have enough time to prepare for a sound recording before going on a trip. And only later did they find out it was crucial to do it. On the one hand, this is because they do not know how to record good sound and on the other hand, even if they do - a big part of them does not have the necessary equipment or a place to record good audio. In most cases, it is not handy to record professional audio if you moving a lot and have many unexpected shots. But, you can try to add a simple mic on top of your camera, so you will be able to improve your audio, and at the same time keep everything compact enough.

4) Do not hurry with technical stuff, let's talk about the story first

Do not rush things especially if you are a beginner. It is recommended to use a tripod or gimbal for shooting video, so you can be steady and avoid shaky videos but it is not necessary. So before you go to the location which you want to shoot ask yourself these questions: what do I want? What should my story consist of? How long should it be? From which perspective should I shoot? What order of remarks should I have? How to start and end the scene? The story is very important because it will make your travel video unique and special.

Even though you should not rush with the technical stuff, I would recommend setting up the sound recording first before you go to the location or at least prepare the optimal levels for the shoot and go. This way you can be sure that everything is ready for the shooting and you do not need to worry about how to set up certain things. Generally, a travel film has a structure with three parts: introduction - main part - conclusion. The beginning and the end are very important because they help viewers to understand what kind of story it is going to be and thus attract their attention.

5) Don't shoot only wide-angle shots

A wide-angle shot gives the viewer a perspective and an idea of ​​the place's size and scale, but do not forget that it is also important to shoot close-ups - this will give more information about what you want to talk about. For example, in my latest video about Colombia's Andes, in the introduction, I used wide-angle shots to show the vastness of this mountain range, but I also took close-up shots to tell about unique plants living there. Wide-angle shots mixed with close-up shots are a really good combination.

6) Use titles if needed

I would recommend adding some useful information in your video, which you could easily do at the beginning or during the main part of the shooting. For example, you can add information about the location (the name and its meaning, history, culture) or give some tips on how to behave when you are in that place.

7) Do not be afraid of experimenting

This is especially important for beginners. If you want your travel videos to stand out from the others, I recommend trying different shots such as close-ups, panoramas, time-lapses, hyper lapses, cinemagraphs, or cinematic shots. This will not only help you to move further from boring videos but it will also make viewing your video more fun because viewers want something new and interesting - especially if they have potentially seen a lot of other videos about the same topic.

8) Either capture action or slowly move the camera along

When you film landscape, it is best to capture action or move the camera slowly if there is no action in the scene. Then you can help them feel like they are actually there with you. If you, for example, want to make a video about an architectural object, and there are no moving objects, then it is best to move the camera slowly. You can do panning or tilting, so it will make your video more dynamic.

9) Choose the right music and sounds

Let's get started with the final stages of production. People watch travel videos not only to see great locations but also because they would like to listen to the sounds of nature and unique places. Select music that will help you describe the atmosphere of your video.

If you use external soundtracks, it is recommended to use them carefully, because there could be some copyright issues. Try to find free (CC) soundtracks on the internet.

10) Don't overdo transitions and effects

Transitions and effects are good to improve the quality of your video but don't overdo it. If you use too many transitions in your video, it will not only look bad but also distract viewers. Try to avoid jump cuts in your travel videos because they can be confusing for viewers.

In conclusion, there are several various approaches to creating fantastic travel movies. If you implement all of these suggestions, don't be afraid to experiment. Always think of how to show the viewer what is happening with your video and what emotions you want them to feel. Have a nice day!

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