Create great travel videos

I travel the world for a living, making videos of the places I visit, people I meet and experiences I get to have. These videos inspire people of all ages and races to go out and explore this beautiful planet for themselves.

Some of the most common questions I get about my job are surrounding the video making process itself: What cameras do I use? How do I edit my videos? How am I so comfortable on camera? They’re great questions, and they lead to an important starting point in taking your own travel video skills to the next level.

 

What cameras do I use?

Visual storytelling is my business, so having top gear is important to me. My camera collection is constantly evolving as new tech is released. I’m currently shooting with a Sony A7SII, Sony RX100V, Go Pro Hero 5, Osmo+ and DJI Phantom 4. The lenses I use on my A7SII are the FE 85mm F1.8, FE 16-35mm F4 and FE 24-70 F4.

This may sound like a lot, but it’s also not necessary to have all this gear to make good travel videos. There are many affordable cameras out there that will help you do the job well. Many people buy great cameras and never take the time to learn what they’re capable of.

I would suggest mastering a cheaper camera before investing in something more high tech and expensive. I would also suggest making good audio a priority over picture quality. I would much rather watch a video in standard definition with great audio than high definition picture with poor audio. If the camera you are using has the capability to attach an external microphone, I would highly recommend purchasing one. I am currently using a Shure VP83 LensHopper Shotgun Microphone which creates excellent audio quality. It’s also very compact, making it easy to take on the road. I also have a Zoom H4N Handy Recorder which I use for voiceovers. If your camera doesn’t have a external mic input, you can still use your internal mics, but purchasing mic muffs will make a huge difference when shooting outdoors. The mic muffs helps control any wind interference.

 

How do I edit my videos?

There are several options for video editing software. If you use a Mac, there’s an editing program called iMovie already installed onto your computer. This program will allow you to do very basic edits – combining a variety of clips in a meaningful way to tell your story is the essence of creating videos, and this will get you there.

If you want more room to play and get creative, I’d recommended Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. I’ve used both, but prefer Final Cut Pro, which I’ve been using for the past 12 years. I would suggest signing up for a free trial for both programs. That way you can get the feel of how each works and choose which one you feel more comfortable with before purchasing.

 

How do I keep viewers engaged?

Engagement is key when creating any type of video content. If you can’t keep your viewers engaged, they will stop tuning in. So, how can you keep them watching? I always make sure to get a variety of shots when out filming. This means close-ups, mid-shots and wide shots of the same subjects along with pans and tilts. Movement is important for keeping viewers engaged, so I don’t use a tripod very often. I think movement in the frame keeps viewers watching because it’s more stimulating than a static shot. Pacing is also important to consider. I like to keep the shots I use in the final edit short and sweet rather than long and lagging.