4 problems with your travel videos and how you can fix them

When we travel, we want to share the amazing experiences with video, but there are problems that make the video not so amazing. Here’s how to overcome them.

YouTuber Brandon Li has been traveling non-stop for years now and he’s come across many problems when trying to make a decent travel video on his vacation. Luckily, he has easy and practical solutions to all of them.

In a video, Li presents four problems that he sees typical vacationers and even travel videographers encounter. He then tells us how he would go about fixing those problems:

Here are the problems Li has encountered and how he would fix them:

First, your travel videos are too static

When Li says that the travel videos he sees are too static, he’s not talking about the videos not having enough transitions between the shots. Rather, he says that the videos often don’t have the feeling of cinematic motion in their shots.

“ … a lot of aspects of travel tend to be actually fairly static,” says Li. But for travel videos to be up to professional quality, it’s up to you to make the static parts visually interesting. There are many different ways that you can add cinematic motion to your clips. You can pan, tilt, shoot tons of close-ups, use timelapses, get some aerial shoots. It all depends on what you want to achieve with your travel video.

There’s no story

The first question you need to ask yourself when starting your travel video is to have a general idea what story you want to tell in your video. Do you want to tell the story of your family’s vacation? Or do you want to tell the story of the locals you meet at the place you traveled to? When you find the purpose of your video, then you can start getting the shots you need.

Without a story, your video could turn into a mashup of clips that have no real flow with each other. It will be a mashup of clips rather than a video. One way to have a cohesive story is to film a defined beginning and end. It will give your narrative a place start and to end. You don’t have to have the entire story planned out. After all, how can you plan a story that’s supposed to be about experiences that haven’t happened yet? The story can be solidified in post. Just go into it with a basic idea about the story to help you decide what you should focus on.

Couple looking out at sunset over a body of water
One of Li’s favorite ways to end a travel video is to have a subject looking out into some landscape

You’re over-shooting

Now, if you are traveling to a destination specifically to shoot a travel video, you can disregard this tip. Over-shoot as much as you want. However, if you’re traveling to a destination for a vacation and also want to make a video about it, you should pay attention to this section. You don’t want to spend your entire vacation behind a camera. But you don’t want to miss anything right? That’s understandable, but you can still make a great travel video and enjoy your vacation at the same time.

According to Li, the best way to go about shooting a travel video during a vacation is to shoot only at the times of day when the light is best. Those times are dawn, sunset and dusk, which makes up only few hours.

“ … if you only shoot at those times of day you’ll probably get the most beautiful looking footage overall, so it’s kind of a win-win situation,” says Li. “The rest of the day you can just spend enjoying yourself and having a vacation.”

You bring too much gear

Many of us are guilty of this, including Li. You shouldn’t have to haul around all your gear throughout your trip. Also, bringing lots of gear encourages you to spend more time behind the camera.

Instead, bring only the gear that you anticipate you will need. That way you can spend more time enjoying your vacation than having to deal with all your gear.

These four common travel video problems are all easily fixed. Try Li’s tips for fixing them the next time you find yourself going on a vacation or traveling to shoot. Your videos will end up looking much more professional, and you’ll enjoy your trip much more than you might have otherwise.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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