How to Make Exciting Travel Videos: Travel Filmmaking for Beginners | Randy Alan | Skillshare

How to Make Exciting Travel Videos: Travel Filmmaking for Beginners

Randy Alan, Video Creator

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25 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Welcome

      0:27
    • 2. Who Am I?

      0:34
    • 3. What This Course Is and Isn't

      0:48
    • 4. What You'll Learn In This Course

      0:51
    • 5. Decide What Type of Video You're Going To Make

      1:39
    • 6. Story Time

      0:59
    • 7. Let's Discuss Camera Types

      1:43
    • 8. What's Your Story?

      1:23
    • 9. Creating Moments

      1:32
    • 10. Cinematic Techniques: Shot Variety

      1:21
    • 11. Cinematic Techniques: Shoot Through Something

      0:32
    • 12. Cinematic Techniques: Slow-Mo and Time Lapse

      0:43
    • 13. Cinematic Techniques: Limit Your Pans

      0:25
    • 14. Cinematic Techniques: Hold Your Shots

      0:16
    • 15. Putting It All Together

      1:27
    • 16. Editing Intro

      0:50
    • 17. Convey The Emotion!

      0:43
    • 18. Shot Choice And What to Look Out For

      1:56
    • 19. Choosing Music

      0:39
    • 20. Editing Techniques: Pacing

      1:35
    • 21. Editing Techniques: Transitions

      2:47
    • 22. Editing Techniques: Uncategorized Tips

      1:30
    • 23. What's With All These Rules?

      0:34
    • 24. Class Project

      0:10
    • 25. CONCLUSION: One More Thing

      0:46
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About This Class

How to Make Exciting Travel Videos: Travel Filmmaking for Beginners

Are you interested in being able to film your vacation in a fun and engaging way? Do you wish you could make exciting, entertaining, and/or educational travel videos to share on YouTube and Instagram?  This course will give you the foundational tools you need to become confident in planning, filming, and editing your next travel video.

There's no magic formula for success, but there is a basic foundation. How to Make Exciting Travel Videos: Travel Filmmaking for Beginners will help you understand and implement it.

Students will learn the foundation in three phases:

  1. Lay the groundwork before you go:  What type of video are you going to make? And what kind of camera(s) should you bring?
  2. Build the story: What do you want to tell your audience? How do you tell them? And what camera techniques will you use to do so?
  3. Convey it in editing: How do you sort through all the footage? What's the best way to edit? What are some powerful editing techniques that will boost the quality of your video?

This class is built for beginners in mind.  It isn't about the technical know-how.  Here's what you'll need:

  • access to a computer with basic editing software
  • a camera you know how to use (a smart phone will do!)

At the end of this 30-minute crash course you'll have the blueprint that you can take with you on your next trip.  You'll also have learned practical skills to practice and implement immediately.

I hope to see you in the class!

Transcripts

1. Welcome: Hi, everyone. My name is Randy. In this course, I going to teach how to make great travel videos. Whether you're going on a family vacation, road tripping with friends, or just taking a solo trip. Being able to document the experience well through video is a skill that you can learn. In this course, I'm going to help you make an engaging video, one that really connects with your audience. From planning, to filming, to editing, this class is taught in a step-by-step approach to help you build a solid foundation. 2. Who Am I?: As I said, my name is Randy. I'm a filmmaker, a YouTuber, and I love making travel videos. My style is a bit of a mix; vlogs, cinematic, narration, weird combination there. If you've no idea what any of that is, that's okay. We'll get to that in the next lesson. Just search my stuff online. If you type in roadtriprandy in YouTube, it should pop up and you can see if you like my stuff. My goal here is simple. To use my experiences and the things that I've learned over the years to help you make your own awesome travel video. 3. What This Course Is and Isn't: Two things before we get started. First, this course is for beginners. However, I'd recommend that you have a good grasp of how to use some type of camera: your phone, a point-and-shoot, DSLR, whatever. I'm not going to be going over the technical details of cameras and editing software. This course is more about making the travel video itself. I'll be sharing techniques, organizational tools, and the general thought process that's behind any great travel video. Second, this is a shorter course to get you up to speed fast. It won't cover every detail of travel film-making. I want to gauge student interests first. If you're interested in a more comprehensive course, after you take this one, please let me know in the comments and especially what areas you're interested in. If the interest is there, I'd love to dive deeper into a lot of these topics. 4. What You'll Learn In This Course: Speaking of topics, let's go over them so you know exactly what's in this course. The pre-trip or planning phase. What type of video are you making? Knowing this before you travel is more important than you think. What type of camera should you bring? We'll discuss the benefits of traveling with different types of cameras. The trip or filming phase? What's the story here? We'll discuss your larger story, creating moments or sub stories and some practical filming tips to capture great looking footage. Finally, the post-trip or editing phase. How do you connect with your audience? What do you look for in your footage? We'll also discuss the music choice and then end it with some powerful editing techniques. After you take this course, you'll feel more prepared and confident to film your trip well and with practice, you'll be making great traveled videos in no time. 5. Decide What Type of Video You're Going To Make: All right, one of the first things you want to do before you start your trip is decide what type of video you're going to make. Is it going to be a simple vlog, you just talking casually directly to the camera, or is it going to be a cinematic montage, where you show off the beautiful landscapes and architecture of the location you're in? Is it going to be educational? Are you going to add voice of a narration or music? My suggestion is that you keep it simple, but you commit to something. Don't just wing it when you get there. Choose the type of video that you'd be excited to watch. There are a couple of reasons you want to know ahead of time what type of video you're making. First is the practical element. Going on vacation with a lot of extra stuff that you don't need is just a burden. If you know what type of video you're going to make, it's easier to determine what gear you will need. For example, if you're going to vlog, you probably don't need to carry around a bulky camera and six different lenses. A simple point and shoot camera or your phone will probably do. Are you going in the water or doing something extreme? Then you'll probably want to pack the GoPro or an action cam, but if not, you could leave it at home. The second reason is to help you spend less time looking through the viewfinder and more time enjoying where you are. When you're in a new place and you see something cool, it's easy to get excited and want to capture every aspect of it. You might be tempted to record it with multiple cameras or shoot things over and over again to get that perfect shot. But remember, you want to make a video while also enjoying the trip you're on, so simpler is better. Knowing what type of video you're going to make will help you decide what you actually need to shoot. You don't need to pull out your camera for everything. Chances are, you only need to pull it out a few times at each location. 6. Story Time: So on one of my recent trips to Portland, I can admit that I did not follow this advice. I went there and just thought, "I'll wing it and shoot what feels right." But what ended up happening was, I over recorded everything. Because I couldn't decide on the type of video I wanted to make, I essentially shot two videos. I shot different things in slow motion because I thought, "Oh, this would be a cool slow-motion video." But at the same time I said, "Yeah, but maybe I want to make this a vlog," so I would shoot almost the exact same footage in regular speed. I essentially double recorded at every location and only ended up using half the footage in the final video. All that to be said, I am happy with the final video, but, had I committed to one type I would have saved myself shooting time, I would have saved myself editing time, and I probably would have enjoyed the vacation a lot more. So ask yourself, what type of video are you going to make and commit to it? 7. Let's Discuss Camera Types: Now let's talk about cameras. What camera are you taking on this trip? Since you've already determined what type of video you're going to make, that'll help you narrow it down, but let's talk about the benefits of each one. Smartphone, this is probably the most portable, and most convenient option out of all of them. Almost everyone has a phone that can record video that fits in their pocket, and that they know how to use pretty well, and by most standards, the video quality is great. Just remember, if you're recording a lot, you'll need to charge the battery on the go, you want to keep track of your storage capacity, and you're not going to get much of zoom capability out of the phone. The point and shoot, these are great because they're still pretty portable for travel, they shoot great quality video, and they usually have better zoom capabilities to help you vary your shots. DSLR or mirrorless, these are the bulkier options, and they can be a pain to carry around all day, but they do produce the best quality video, you can also change lenses on them, this allows you the freedom to get the exact shot you want, like zooming in really close or making the background blurry. Action camera GoPro, great for filming in the water at high speeds or in any other type of action related setting. I usually grab this one when I don't want to risk getting my camera wet, but for most other situations, I actually choose my smart phone. As you can see, each one has its trade-offs. What's most important for you? Is great quality video worth the bulkiness of carrying around a DSLR? Or are you willing to give up a bit of quality for the convenience, and ease of carrying your smart phone or point and shoot. Take these things into consideration as you plan for your trip. If you have any questions about your camera or the pre-trip planning phase in general, please let me know. In the next lesson, we'll switch over to the filming phase. We'll start shooting your video, that's next. 8. What's Your Story?: Welcome to the second phase. This is where you're going to start filming your trip. I'm going to break this up into sections, starting with the broad story that you're trying to convey, the smaller stories or moments that you want to be looking out for, and then the specific cinematic techniques that are going to make your footage look great. First thing, what is the larger story or theme here? You've chosen what type of video you're going to make and the best camera to fit that. Now you're going to take it a step further and define your story. Humans connect with story, this is very important. If you want people to connect with your video, you need to tell a good story. But it doesn't have to be complicated, keep it simple. Story can be as basic as your vacation itinerary. You flew to X island, took a boat to Y city, and flew home from there. There's a beginning, a middle, and an end. Story can also be told to broader themes, freedom, culture, beauty, wealth, nature, friendship, whatever. Maybe you want to tell a story through the lens of one of those. For example, freedom can be conveyed in a montage video with shots of open landscapes, literally opening doors, running on the beach, there are a million ways to express it, or your story could be a cultural comparison of the country you're in now to your home country. This could work great as a vlog or an educational video where you share your thoughts on all the differences you see. I know it might seem like a lot of unnecessary structure, but story is really important. 9. Creating Moments: Now let's move on to the smaller events of your trip and discuss how to go about filming them. Think of these as moments or sub stories in your larger story. You want to make your audience feel like they're at that place with you. You want them to see what you see and feel what you feel. Let's take an example of the cliche sunset, it's in every travel video. What's the best way to share it? Are you just going to point the camera at it for five seconds and call it a day? Maybe. But here's an alternative approach. What are you actually experiencing in that moment? People around you are laughing. There's a permanent smile on your face. You're sitting in this amazing seat surrounded by nature. So show these things, get a shot of the sunset, but also get a zoomed in shot of your friends laughing. Flip the camera around to the expression on your face. These are real moments that connect you to the audience, work on sharing the full experience. We need smores. That'd be amazing. Even if you don't plan on showing this to a general audience, if this is just for you or your family, this way of filming is going to be so much more meaningful for you. Watching it back and seeing the smile on your friends faces during the sunset will be much more memorable than just a generic sunset shot. The goal here is to make a lot of these smaller stories and essentially string them together to fit in your larger overall story. Multiple authentic moments that connects you with your audience and give a fuller picture of the event will be the best content for your video. Before we move on, let me know if you have any questions about creating stories or the smaller stories. 10. Cinematic Techniques: Shot Variety: Let's talk about some cinematic tips to help you really improve your shots. These techniques will make your footage look better, and with the exception of one of them. We'll get to that one. They can be implemented with any camera. Shot variety. You want the type of shots you shoot to be varied. If all of your shots look the same, this going to be boring. This simplest way to add variety is your shot types, wide, medium, and close-up. A wide shot is exactly what it sounds like. It's a wide view of your subject or location. It's a great way to help establish a new place. Medium shots get much closer to your subject. They help the audience feel like they're in on the action. Close up spring the camera even closer to show detail or emotion. You might feel a little close when filming people, but it looks pretty natural when you watch it back. Just don't shove a camera in someone's face. No one likes that. Angles. Angles bring another element of variety to your shots. You can shoot high and low. Angles can also convey emotion. For example, a low angle, where the camera is lower to the ground, and pointed up, is going to make your subject look more powerful, while a high angle will do the opposite. Movement. Finally, incorporating movement in your shots will also help give you variety. There's nothing wrong with a nice static shot, but consider adding even just a bit of movement left or right, or forward, and back and see what it does. 11. Cinematic Techniques: Shoot Through Something: Next, shoot through something. This technique is about using the foreground, what's close to you, to add a visual boost and more context to your shots. This is a fun tip for photography and video. The idea is simple. You shoot through an object at another object. Here's some examples; Shooting through a door, shooting through a fence, shooting behind a tree or branches, and shooting past the corner of a building. Again, you're trying to use these things in the foreground to make your composition more interesting and compelling. 12. Cinematic Techniques: Slow-Mo and Time Lapse : Slow motion and time lapses.These can be a fun way to add more variety to your video.Jumping shots, water shots and action shots are all great in slow motion.This is a one technique though that is dependent on if your camera has the capability.So if your camera can record in slow motion, consider shooting a few shots for your video this way. Also, time lapses are a good way to show a passage of time.You basically record a long stretch of time and speed it up to fit in a much smaller amount of time. A few examples to use would be sunrises, lakes, and high traffic areas like cities.If your camera doesn't have a time-lapse feature, a very easy way to do it manually is just to record video of the event normally and then speed it up in your editing program. 13. Cinematic Techniques: Limit Your Pans: This next one, isn't so much of a technique, but more of a caution. Limit your pans. Panning is when you move the camera horizontally, across your scene or subject. Although you're probably trying to show your audience a complete sweeping view of what you see, many times it's actually quite boring and doesn't work as well as you'd think. As an alternative, I'd suggest shooting a wide shot as described earlier, and then shooting a few medium or close-up shots of specific subjects in that scene. 14. Cinematic Techniques: Hold Your Shots: Hold your shots longer. Hold on your shots a little longer than what you think you need. There's usually a second or two at the beginning and end of a shot that is shaky and unusable. Plus when editing, I can't tell you how many times I've wished I recorded a specific shot just a few seconds longer. 15. Putting It All Together: Let's put it all together. Getting used to these techniques can take some time. One tip I have is to start with shot types. When you're constantly moving to different locations all day long, pulling out your camera can get tiring, especially if you're doing so to try to get every technique in. One easy thing to remember is wide, medium, close. It's a very easy way to create variety and keep your shot simple. You grab a wide shot to establish where you are. Then you film a medium shot of something you want to draw the viewer's eye to. Then a close-up of its detail or a person's emotion. This is very simplistic, but it works and you've seen a more advanced form in movies all the time. A helicopter view of the city, wide, and then we're on a crowded street, medium shots of people, food, clothing, and then a close up of the main character to begin the scene. Start with the wide, medium, close-up technique. Then, when you're comfortable with that and you want to film more, add some more close-ups, add movement, and add in angles. You can also combine techniques. For example, shooting a wide establishing shot through the branches of a tree or getting a slow-mo, close-up reaction shot of your friend trying a unique food. These techniques start to build on each other. Once you are able to combine them, you can get some really dynamic shots, but start simple and build when you're comfortable. Now that you've learned the basics of the filming phase. Let's move on to the editing phase. As always, if you have any questions about what we discussed so far, please let me know. 16. Editing Intro: Because you are already committed to the type of video you're going to make, and then because you're specific about the shots you got, the editing process should be a lot easier for you. You don't just have a big mess of unrelated shots that you don't really know what you're going to do with. You've got a plan and you've got a nice structure to work in. Now comes the fun part. Editing is where the magic happens. It's where you really shape and craft your story and turn it into something special. One quick note before we start. When you look to your footage, you might find moments or stories that you didn't intentionally mean to shoot. You might see a new theme you can incorporate into your story, or just a funny moment. These are great accidents. Be open to them, even if you don't think they fit right away. Editing has a lot of structure, but there's so much creativity in it too. I want to make sure that you allow that to come through. Let's begin. 17. Convey The Emotion!: One thing to keep in mind as you edit is this, what did it feel like to be there on the trip? You're trying to convey an entire experience in one single video. It's not easy. But if you can convey even a little bit of the emotion, the video will connect with your audience more. Remember when we talked about creating sub stories or moments in the trip phase of this course, in the same way you filmed events to convey the experience more fully, now you're looking to edit in a way that conveys the experience more fully. This is what makes your video stand out. It's what gives your video more depth, and the feeling of authenticity. So how do you achieve this connection in editing? Through shot choice, through music, and specific editing techniques. 18. Shot Choice And What to Look Out For: Shot choice. Let's start by looking at the footage. What did you get? Are you happy with it? Are there any surprising stories or themes in it that you weren't intentionally going for? What's the pacing like? Are most of your shots short or long? Do they have a lot of action? Or are they more slow and static? Hopefully, most of your shots met your video type and story. After you look through the footage, put the clips in your editing program and start getting rid of the ones you know you won't use. These are the clips that are just bad or you're 100 percent sure you won't need. Don't worry though, deleting them in the editing program, doesn't mean you can't get them back if you change your mind later. Next, trim the clips that you do like. What are the best moments in them? This process can be rough and imperfect. You're just doing it to get a good sense of what you have to work with. You'll trim and delete more of these clips as you get deeper in the edit. Things to look for in your footage. What exactly are you looking for in the footage? Remember, our main goal is to convey the emotion and connect with their audience. We're looking for pleasing shots, shots of beautiful scenery, nice architecture, delicious food. Plain and simple, humans like to look at beautiful things. Unpleasant shots can be effective too, but I'd suggest only using them if it's really intentional, like if you're trying to shed light on an unfortunate situation. Excitement. Did you have any adventure during your trip? Any surprises? Was there trouble? Did you have to run and catch your flight? These moments are exciting to watch. It's never fun in the moment, but people love watching conflict. It's the universal piece of any good story. Humanity. Look for shots that show off your personality. Are you goofy? Did something embarrassing happen? Were you simply tired? These moments of just being human come across on screen very well. Consider putting these shots in a separate band or labeling them as a different color, so you can find them later. You're still going to use the other shots. You're just noting that these are the ones that you really like right now. 19. Choosing Music: The next step is to find a song. If you're not going to use music in your video, skip this step. If you are, find a song that matches your video type and overall story, and one that conveys the tone or emotion. If fast-paced and upbeat describes your video, that's the type of song you need to find. If it's more slow and relaxing, the song should match that. I usually find a handful of songs first, bring them into my editing software, and then edit a few clips to one of them. If it doesn't fit, then I try the next song. This can take some time, so don't get discouraged if you can't find a good song right away. When you do find the right one though, it can really bring life to your video and make editing it even more fun. 20. Editing Techniques: Pacing: The last step, is your actual editing choices. You're editing choices should help tell the story in a natural way that doesn't distract the audience. As funny as it sounds, a good editor tells a story without drawing attention to the edits. Effective editing takes time to master, but there are still techniques that you can learn now that will boost the quality of any video. The first is pacing. Think of pacing as how fast or slow the video moves. This is a simplistic definition, but it's still helpful. Ask yourself, are the elements of the video working together to move the story along at an appropriate pace? For example, if the music is fast, are you editing the shots quickly so they match or you holding on shots for too long? If you're trying to convey the emotion of a moment, are you holding on the shot a bit longer and letting it unfold? Or are you cutting into another scene too quickly? One of the best ways to practice pacing, is through music. Songs naturally have their own pace. If your song matches the tone of your video well, matching your cuts to it will fit perfectly. The strategy here, is to match your cut decisions to the beat of the song. Say you have some clips that you like in your timeline, you can cut each clip to match to the beat of the song. When the beat hits, you cut to the next clip. Cutting to the beat, gives you a natural place to move to the next shot. You don't need to cut to every single beat of the song. But doing it for a small section, is a great strategy. To take it a step further, you can also match the action of the scene to the beat. Stay with me. For example, if two people high-five in a video, match that high-five to the beat not the cut. 21. Editing Techniques: Transitions: The second technique is transitions. Videos are full of cuts, but remember a good editor makes sure that you're unaware of them. They instead get you absorbed in the story. This is why transitions are important. Transitions simply put, are how you move from one clip to the next and you get to choose how each one happens. So first, as a general rule, don't put two unrelated clips next to each other. Let's try. For example, if you use a clip of you eating breakfast, and then immediately the next cut is a baby playing in the water, your audience is going to ask what happened? How are these related? Transitions help keep the audience on track. Ask yourself. Is it clear how I got from A to B? If not, you want to look at your footage again and see if there's a better clip to use or something you can put in-between. Time transitions; if you're trying to convey a passage of time, the simple fade to black can be effective. In your editing program, you fade the video to black while you fade the music, and your audience will understand that one section of the story is ending, then fade up to move into a new section. Other great visual transitions are shots of planes, trains or cars. They're easily identifiable things that show you're going somewhere else which takes time, so it's a great transition. Finally, here's some fun transitions that you can use on an individual basis. Don't feel like you need to use them in all of your videos. Just becoming familiar with them will be helpful for future reference, and maybe even some filming ideas. Lead the eye; a great way to help a cut feel more natural is to lead the eye. If the main action in one shot is on the left side of the frame. For the next shot find a clip where the action is also on the left side of the frame. Pointing and head movements are also good examples of this. Lead the viewers eye to where you want it to go in the next shot. If a person looks up, the next clip can be of something in the sky or just at the top of the frame. Color matching; this is a simple technique that helps transition the eye easily from one clip to the next through color. If your first shot emphasizes the color red, for example, match the next shot with one that also emphasizes red. Jump cuts; a great way to save time while still showing what happens in a scene is to use a jump cut. A jump cut is pretty simple. You jump forward in time in a clip via a cut. If for example, you're walking behind someone showing off the scenery, jump cutting helps you skip to the best moments or just moves the story along more quickly. This would also be a great opportunity to use some music pacing technique earlier and match the cuts to the beat. 22. Editing Techniques: Uncategorized Tips: In this final editing section, I'll talk about some random tips that don't really fit in a specific category. But there's still good to know. Group your events or keep similar shots together. This should be easy to do because of the sub stories you already created in the filming face. But you can also look for other types of groupings. For example, I grouped all of my hotel entering shots together in this scene. Even if you aren't editing in chronological order, grouping similar shots and scenes together can be a creative choice as well as an organizational one. Next, voice over. Voice over is a great tool to help tell your story in a very straightforward way. It's your voice laid over your video. It can be used sparingly to give a better context of what's going on or it can be used heavily to tell your story in a more direct way. If you feel like your video story isn't as clear as you want, consider adding voice over to try to help it. Stabilization. When you're on vacation, you can't always get the smoothest cleanest shots. Shaky footage is going to happen. A great solution help reduce shakiness is the stabilization feature in your editing program. I highly recommend using it and it comes standard with most programs. Color grading. Color grading is a great final technique to give your video an extra polish. Adjusting the color can change the whole tone of your film. Make sure you use it to match your story. For example, a bright vibrant color grade will help sell a positive, upbeat video. Play with the color correction settings in your editing program and see what you can come up with. 23. What's With All These Rules?: > One more thing I want to mention before we end is that this process is very creative. I know I gave you a lot of structure to work in. It might not seem that way, but I want to be clear, it is. There are certain things that you should know first, but once you see how things work, what things you like, and start to develop your own style. That's when the creativity really takes off. With time and practice. You'll keep improving your storytelling, your filming and editing techniques, and soon the rules won't feel like rules. You'll learn more and get better. It's a fun process that just takes time. In fact, it never really ends. There's always more to learn. Stick with it. 24. Class Project: 25. CONCLUSION: One More Thing: All right, and that wraps up this course on "Making Travel Videos". I hope that you found it helpful and that it gives you a solid foundation to build on. As I said in the beginning, this is just a taste. It's not an all encompassing training course. But if you would like to dive into that, what topics would you like to see? What would you like me to dive into further? Please let me know how I can improve this course. If you did like this course for what it is, please consider giving it a review. It helps me, it helps the course, it helps other students, and I'd really appreciate it. I want to end by saying, thank you. There are tons of courses out there and you chose mine and I'm just super grateful. So thank you. If you have any questions, please get in touch with me. Connect with me here, connect with me on social media; wherever you need to. Thank you very much.