In the age of the smartphone, and with so much technology at our fingertips, anyone with passion and creativity has the ability to transform their vision of the world around them into a pretty spectacular travel video. As you know, we love seeing you capture your travel memories on social media and see your entries coming in for our Exodus Photo Masters Competition, so we thought we’d open the floor to video and share our handy tips, so you’ll be able to create a great travel video on your phone in no time.
However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t take the time to appreciate the surrounding scenes with your own eyes before reaching for your phone – don’t forget that the images we create in our minds are equally as important. But sometimes memories fade, so by having an epic showreel of your travel experiences on your phone, you can re-run the video over and over again, whether it’s hiking along the Path of Gods on our Walking the Amalfi Coast trip or clips of feeding the friendly deer in Nara Park on our Ancient and Modern Japan adventure.
1. Invest in a Stabiliser Gimbal
A gimbal is a nifty piece of kit that all videographers should invest in. By using rotating axes which are operated by motors, a stabiliser gimbal keeps your phone camera steady and prevents blurry footage. It allows you to create smooth action shots while you’re walking through London, for example, thus producing a higher quality video. You can even get gimbals that are good for cycling, to capture those moments when you’re riding past Trulli houses in Alberobello while Cycling Puglia & Matera. Although prices for gimbals do vary, you can pick one up relatively inexpensively, and you’ll be glad you made this small investment.
2. Consider all angles
So, you want your travel video to be impressive, right? To make it stand out from the crowd, you’re going to need to think outside of the box. Even though everyone loves a head height shot, it’s the more creative angled shots that are going to get your video noticed. You might have to put your pride aside while you lie on the floor or balance precariously on the branch of a tree whilst trying to capture a more unique angle of your subject, but you’ll thank yourself for your acrobatics when you see the results! Also, try the various modes on your camera – many phone cameras now have the option of using a wide-angle lens, so give it a go and see what a difference it can make.
3. Shallow depth of field
You might be surprised to know that many phone cameras now have the ability to create shallow depth of field. By blurring the background in your video and focusing in on something less obvious in the frame, you have the power to really manipulate the viewer’s perspective so they can zoom in on smaller details that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. To get the best results, make sure your subject is set away from the background, close to your camera and is in focus.
Time-lapse is an exciting feature that works great for capturing moving clouds, sunrises or sunsets. Because it appears to speed up time, the viewer can appreciate hours’ worth of slow-moving nature in just a few seconds. If you choose to shoot in time-lapse mode, make sure you allocate plenty of time for recording your subject as you will need to be filming for approximately an hour to capture just a couple of minutes’ footage.
5. Try to capture audio (if possible)
Don’t forget that a good travel video isn’t just about the visuals, it’s also about creating an ambience with the soundtrack too. Find a quiet spot where the only sound you can hear is a bird chorus, the trickle of a stream, crashing waves or other sounds that will be fitting for your video. You only need to record the sound for about 10 seconds so that you can add it to your video in the editing process.
One of the most important things to remember when you’re going on an all-day shoot is that your phone will lose its battery life fairly rapidly. As well as making sure it’s fully charged before you leave the house, it’s well worth investing in a portable phone charger (oh, and don’t forget the cable!). You can buy a decent one for about £30 which will last the entire day, if not longer, and it will also charge your phone up quickly.
7. Protect your phone
If you’re shooting a travel video, you will likely be spending most of your time outdoors. Regardless of the weather, you’ll find many locations pose some kind of threat to your phone with either dust, water or objects that could scratch the camera lens. I always leave the house with a good protector that will prevent damage to my phone. I tend to use Thule covers as they are slimline and provide protection from scratches to the screen and lens as well as being drop-proof.
8. Research your area
Although we have captured many great videos in unexpected moments, we like to spend a little time planning in advance in order to achieve something really outstanding. As well as taking the weather into consideration, swot up on the location beforehand. For instance, if you’re wanting to capture that epic sunset in Halong Bay on our Vietnam Adventure or sunrise breaking over the Prosecco Hills, you’ll need to know where to position yourself – otherwise, by the time you’ve realised you have your back to it and have had to reposition yourself, the perfect moment might have passed you by. Maybe watch other videos online of the same area to inspire you or even recce the area on a different day and plan your shots. You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg but if you have done some research in advance, it certainly helps!
9. Pay attention to your surroundings!
If you’re a fan of the selfie-walking shot, make sure you know where your feet are actually going and what lies ahead. You don’t want footage of you walking straight into a sleeping bear den in Ouklana National Park on our Wild Finland trip only to be discovered by the park rangers! Alternatively, if you’re shooting by the ocean, be aware of the tide and make sure you’re not going to be stranded overnight on a tidal island.
If these video tips have inspired you to make new travel memories for 2021, then find out more information on our Guided, self-guided and Private Group adventures by clicking here.