Making Travel Videos that Will Create a Scene


Making Travel VideosWhen was the last time you got out all those old vacation videos, pulled the blinds, poured yourself a drink, and did a little armchair traveling? Been a while?

If you are like everyone else, the main reason you don’t do it more often is that your old vacation videos…er, uh…how can I say this…well, they don’t even interest you! They’re dull, predictable and have absolutely no pizzazz. But don’t feel bad. Until now, it’s been fairly difficult to make a great vacation video.

Things have changed, though. Thanks to recent improvements in camcorders, it’s now possible to make interesting, beautiful and memorable travel videos that you’ll treasure for years to come. Imagine if your kids and friends actually begged to see your vacation videos? Now, there’s a thought!

Don’t believe it? Keep reading. To start your journey toward the land of vacation video bliss, let’s begin with a few simple tips that have nothing to do with the technology, but that will make an enormous difference to your video film, right off the bat.

Too Much Shakin’

Let’s first deal with the number one vacation video problem—too much shakin’ goin’ on! Yes, the old unstable camcorder syndrome is a major one. Long ago, it was established that the one sure way to correct this problem was to use a tripod. Today, you can find any number of inexpensive, small, lightweight and easy-to-pack tripods on the market. Use one whenever you can, and you’ll eliminate all that unnecessary shaking.

But as we all know, sometimes using a tripod is impractical, such as when you’re on a tight travel schedule and there’s just no time to get a tripod out, set it up and take it down. In these cases, you can still stabilize your camera by placing it on a solid surface, such as a park bench or rock wall. You can also brace your body against that kind of surface, hugging your elbows to your side for good arm support.

This will make a big difference. And don’t forget, most camcorders now have automatic image stabilizers, so just turn that little button on and watch things smooth out automatically!

Closing in

Ok, now that we’ve got the shakes out, let’s zoom in on the next problem area. Perhaps you’ve noticed that professional filmmakers hardly ever use the zoom feature on their cameras. There’s a good reason for this! While zooming can occasionally work as a shooting technique, it’s not used very often simply because too much camera movement can be dizzying and annoying for the viewer.

Amateur vacation videographers often think that zooming is a cool feature on the camcorder. And it can be useful; but in reality, use it sparingly. Your videos will be better, and your audience will be grateful.

Short and sweet

Things are looking better already! So here’s your third and final Hip Tip for today. Shoot shorter scenes. The average homemade travel video has scenes that last 20-40 seconds. Those are l-o-n-g scenes. It’s very hard to make a scene of that length and still keep it interesting. The audience invariably starts to drift off.


Check out the length of a typical scene in the next TV show or movie you see. It’s amazing how short they are – usually 4-5 seconds each. The reason for this is that short scenes reflect the way we humans see and think. For that reason, short scenes are much more appealing on video.

So, if you limit the length of your travel scenes to less than 10-15 seconds each, you’ll find that you will have produced a much more interesting and engaging piece. If you want more footage of something in particular, turn your camera off, set up another angle and shoot. Filming this way may take a bit of getting used to at first if you don’t plan to edit your work later, but you’ll find it is well worth it in the end.

Here’s my bet: If you try these three simple video tips, you’ll find your travel videos will have improved by 110%. Stay tuned, though. Over the next few months, I’ll give you hundreds of other insider tips and secrets that will make your vacation videos a joy to watch — and make you a real travel video star!

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