Some of the world’s best images are being created by professional filmmakers traveling the globe. However, there’s a lot more to being a professional travel filmmaker than filming in a beautiful environment.
Pro travel filmmakers focus on the story and they create with strong work ethics. They also always make sure to be prepared for the unexpected and still strive to maintain very high standards for their craft. So, while a beautiful location surely can help, it’s the filmmaker’s dedication to their craft that truly makes their travel videos beautiful.
It isn’t easy working as a professional travel filmmaker, but in the end it’s worth it. If you have the desire to tell stories through your travels, here’s what you should be prepared to do:
Always shoot to tell a story
Capturing life and turning it into a story is a big job. Making beautiful places look nice and fun isn’t as hard as telling a story amongst the beauty. As a professional travel filmmaker, you have to be ready to capture all dynamic life interactions you encounter as they happen. One of the best things about travel videos is everything that’s happening is happening in real life. That’s something scripted videos have to struggle to achieve: relatability.
Keep your camera with you and document your journey and experiences as they happen. A lot of the time, the story is constructed in the editing room, but you can still blueprint the narrative. Plus, the more you shoot, the easier it will be to make a beautiful video with a solid story.
Making a cohesive story is key. Document your trip throughout your trip, not just the beginning and end of it. Film everything you feel will aid the narrative of your travel video.
You have to put time into it
Destinations can be beautiful, but the joys of travel aren’t always about the destination. You don’t necessarily need to go to the top tourist destinations to create a beautiful travel video. Sometimes the most interesting places aren’t always the ones easiest to get to. Often times, the road less traveled is more interesting.
The more effort you put into your travels as a pro travel filmmaker, the better your video will ultimately be. The story’s not about the destination; It’s about the journey getting there and the adventures you have while there. As a professional, it’s up to you to put the time in and capture your journey, not just the destination.
Be ready at all times
When traveling to a new destination, you never know what is around the next curve. You have to be ready to capture the story as it unfolds on your travels. Admittedly, this is easier said than done. However, there are a few things you can do to help you be ready.
First, always have your camera with you. Have it ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. Second, form a basic plan of what you’re going to be doing during your trip. You can prepare you gear accordingly knowing when you might need it.
Make sure your gear is up to the task
Professional travel vloggers always make sure they’re using the right tools for the right instance. Sometimes you might need to use a higher-end run-and-gun camera and sometimes you might need a waterproof action camera. Different situations require different gear. Using the right tools at the right time will deepen the story you’re trying to capture.
Also, have your cameras all set up and ready to go so they can capture the best image possible on the fly. As we said before, you never know what’s going to happen during your travels. Have your gear ready to capture it.
Take color in post-production very seriously
When all the traveling is done, it’s time to put the video together. One of the most important things that pro travel filmmakers do in post is color grading. It’s a very important step in crafting a travel video.
When you sit down to edit your video, your end product will dictate what color space you should work in. For videos that will live online, like on your website or on YouTube, your viewers will most likely have an sRGB monitor. In that case, editing in sRGB ensures that everyone will experience the video as it was intended. If the video is destined for cinema or other channels of distribution, then Adobe RGB with its wider gamut gives you better color reproduction.
Proper color grading requires a color-accurate monitor. The monitor you use should display color-accurate, true-to-life images. Industry color standards like sRGB and Adobe RGB should ensure that. Also, look for a monitor that can deliver at least a Delta E < 2 value and offers color space like Rec. 709, DCI-P3, EBU, DICOM-SIM. Delta E is the measure of the difference between what you see on screen, and what the true color is. Delta E < 2 means the color you see on screen is virtually the same as the color it should be. It would also be good for the monitor you use to have HDMI, DisplayPort and USB Type-C connectivity options. A monitor like ViewSonic’s ColorPro monitor meets these requirements.
As a professional travel filmmaker, you need to take post-production and color grading very seriously. Having an adequate monitor is essential for beautiful color grading.
Being a world-class travel filmmaker isn’t easy, but putting in the time and adopting the qualities above will put you ahead of the curve.