Travel Video Guide – Some Tips I’ve Learnt
I’ve started to get into them, but because I have the attention span of a goldfish, I started out not knowing much about how to produce a decent Travel Video.
But I contacted a friend of mine who’s awesome at them – and he gave me some great Travel Video Production tips I’d like to share with you! Check out this site at World Window for an impressive collection of Travel Videos. In fact, he has been featured in Lonely Planet TV!
But here is a good step by step guide which will help you produce better Travel Videos, with a worked example!
These tips relate to a Travel Video that I took the footage of the Cockroach Races in Brisbane, Australia. Check it out here:
Pre Travel Video Planning
With any Travel Video, try and formulate a ‘loose’ script and shot list before filming – kind of like ‘pre-visualising’ in photography.
Inevitably the real story will unfold on the day, but if you have a rough plan plan it will help you to keep focus on what you want to capture.
On The Shoot Itself
Some good tips are:
- Shoot more than you need. You can always ditch footage, but you cannot take more after the shoot!
- Keep the camera as steady as possible. Whilst most people don’t realise it, this has one of the most significant impacts on the quality of your final product. On a subconscious level it is something that every viewer is aware of. So where possible use a tripod and where it isn’t possible try and adopt postures that will enable minimal shake (i.e. bracing against a solid object)
- Avoid unecessary zooming and panning (this tends to really annoy a viewer) – try and pick your zoom levels before recording and then keep them constant during the duration of your capture. A good lesson that will put panning into perspective is this – look around the room that your in for about 10 seconds. Now think about how you just did it. Notice that you didn’t actually move your eyes around in a smooth continuous motion like most people tend to do when they first pick up a camera. That’s because its not natural, and in fact it’s actually impossible for most people to roll their eyes around in a full circle smoothly. Instead what our eyes naturally do is jump from position to position, and good video mimics this. Next time you watch televison notice how long each continous scene goes for . . . on average it will be about 3-5 seconds, and never longer than about 12 seconds. So keep this in mind when your coming up with your loose script and capturing video.
- Shoot from as many different angles and ‘zoom levels’/’distance from subject as possible’, as this will facilitate better editing and result in more engaging footage. It might help to keep in mind the 3 basic shots:
- Wide Shot
- Mid Shot
- Close Up
- Try to capture your footage in sequence. This relates to the earlier point about having a loose script/shot list. Dont worry, it is never possible to capture video from start to finish in the order that you want, but the more you keep this in mind, the better sequence your final video will have. To elaborate a little more on the concept of sequence – this simply means that the preceeding shot should strive to lead into the next in some way. Once you get your hands into some editing you’ll become aware of how important sequence and the “rhythm” of a video are.
- Like photography, remember that good video is not just about the subject in question, but also peoples reaction to the subject.
So How Does This Relate to the Cockroach Races?
Hmmm . . . maybe I should give some examples with the Cockroach Races that will tie in some of the points that I just made.
First of all, I captured a panning shot of the Story Bridge that captured the city in the background. This served as a context shot that gives the audience information about where they are. A benefit also is I was able to capture this any day of the week – I didn’t have to wait for the event.
When I was filming the races, I tried to get a good close up of the cockroaches – a detailed shot will really strike a chord with the audience, hitting home at just how funny and crazy the day really is.
I also took wide and a mid shot of the races too, in fact as many different shots and angles as possible!
When the races were on, I also obtained close ups of the faces of the people watching. I tried to have different responses, from excited to disgusted!
Another option is to record a 2 minute time lapse of people coming into the venue. To shoot a time lapse all you need to do is pick a single vantage point and make sure you keep the camera as still as possible the whole time – the rest is all done in the editing process.
If you are going to be in front of the camera, try and gauge what sort of audio you’ll be picking up. Chances are you will have to be as close as possible to the camera to compete with all the ambient noise.
The Editing Process
You no doubt have a good idea of the story and message that you would like to convey, as well as a good feel for the footage you captured.
As a starting point I suggest you write this down, either as a dot point sequence or if possible a story board (i.e. a rough sequence of scenes with a description for each).
This next point is always the hardest (but also the most effective) for any aspiring film maker – and that is to go through and assess the footage that you like and cull the footage that you don’t (the last point being the most important). The urge to include everything will be overwhelming but rule of thumb is that “less is more”, and ultimately capturing the message should be your focal point . . . a good scene which has no relevance will only distract from your story.
Also, put a list of effects and transitions in your story board.
More Travel Video Stuff
Once you’ve done these tasks, start editing away and see what happens!
There you go, some Travel Video Tips which may help you out!
You’ll be a Michael Palin in no time!