5 Tips For Creating Professional Travel Videos
I’ve held practically every job there is in the production industry. From PA, to script writer, to videographer and editor, to on-camera talent. If you live in the United States or Canada, you most likely have seen me at some point in a television commercial or on your local morning show.
1. Find A Fixer
What’s a fixer? A “fixer” is an industry term for a local insider on the ground that can help you with everything from arranging awesome interviews, getting you behind the scenes for creative shots, navigating location permits if they’re needed, and making other helpful recommendations. If you’re shooting in a destination you’ve never been to before, you need a fixer. Often times, Public Relations Managers are great fixers.
2. Set Up Interviews
As travelers, we typically meet the most fascinating people and characters. From the Florida astronaut that moved to Russia to learn to speak the language before living on the space station, to the last terra cotta piadina pan maker living in the mountains in Italy, to world famous chefs, they all have great stories to tell. (And yes, those are real examples of people I’ve had the humbling opportunity to meet and interview). I bet you know these types too! Get them on camera. Interview them and have them tell their story in their own words. Make sure to ask questions that are open ended and inspire a story rather than a one word answer. Also, mind your own commentary so that you don’t talk over the interview. I recommend giving a silent thumbs up and big smile instead of verbal feedback and at least 5 seconds of silence after they finish their answer just to make editing easier on yourself. Explain to the person you’re interviewing that you’ll be doing this, otherwise they might just think you’re a total goofball. But you’ll be so glad you did this once you start editing and have clean cut-aways.
3. Invest In Good Audio Equipment
I think most web viewers will forgive a shaky shot or something that’s not color corrected. In this era of reality tv, and sitcoms imitating reality tv, it’s almost expected. But one thing that makes video consumers cringe and click through to another site or channel is bad audio. A hiss from a faulty microphone is a total story-killer. Invest in a good microphone such as Sennheiser or RODE that is directional and eliminates some of the background noise. Bonus if your camera also allows you to plug in headphones and listen in while it’s being recorded live. This will help you notice if there is a loud plane, train, or automobile ruining your sound bite. It’s better to have them repeat themselves again while you’re on the shoot, then having to scrap the soundbite entirely when you’re editing. Triple bonus if you have an xlr input and can use a wireless mic.
4. Get The Right Angles
The five shot rule is used by news journalists around the world and is a favorite of Michael Rosenblum, president of New York Video School, who has taught journalists at the Travel Channel, BBC, and The Guardian. Once you know it, you’ll start recognizing it being used during news programs and documentaries. The angles are a natural story-telling progression of action and reveal your subject to the audience in the following order: close up, face, wide shot, over the shoulder, and a unique angle.
5. Edit To The Beat Of The Music
We see more with our ears then we do with our eyes, and if you want evidence of that then just try watching a video that has lousy audio. Or, check out this example of the McGurk Effect. (I promise, you’ll be wowed.) Make sure the movement and pacing of the video goes with the sound and edit your cuts to the beat of the music. Most video editing software programs such as Final Cut and Premiere will have a marker tool to help you mark the timeline where you hear or see the beats in the music.