How to Make Cinematic Travel VideosNovember 16, 2021
Gone are the days of using film cameras strapped on leather belts for shooting cinematic travel videos. They are a major frustration as you have to carry them everywhere you travel to capture experiences and memories along the way.
These are times when photographic cameras have got this new meaning, look, and feel. The cameras of the present times can click and store hundreds and thousands of images and video clips in just a single memory card.
Although film cameras were pocket-friendly and small, camcorders or video cameras were heavy and thus difficult to carry around. Therefore, it was not very popular to capture cinematic travel videos.
Now let’s dive into the details of what it actually takes to make cinematic travel videos:
Know the Different Varieties of Cameras
Thanks to major advancements made in the field of camera technology and the latest introductions of shoot cameras and digital point cameras, individuals got the scope of clicking images and recording visuals on just a single, budget-friendly camera.
Now, there are highly advanced cameras available in the market. These come with variable zoom lenses, aperture, exposure systems, and automatic focus. These devices have caught the market by storm and are being used on a very wide scale for creating cinematic travel visuals.
Today, the market is filled with original quality digital cameras preferred by average consumers and professional photographers. They are highly affordable and have the capability of recording detailed and top-quality 4K videos.
Since the latest versions of point and shoot cameras are compact, they can be carried around easily. More and more individuals are going for these cameras for making cinematic travel videos.
Always Have the Rule of Thirds in Mind
Like photography, it is important to follow the Rule of Thirds to make your video compositions all the more engaging and interesting. Before starting with the recording procedure, take some time to recognize the subject of the shot and then move the camera so that the subject is placed in one of the thirds of the screen.
If you are shooting with a smartphone, it will get easier to go on with this process because the smartphone applications have grids that help divide the screen into thirds simply by default. If your shot also has a secondary subject, try aligning it with another third of your screen. In case the subject is an individual, one of the easiest ways to decide which third to position them in is by which way the individual is looking.
For instance, if the subject of your shot is looking to the right and down from your end, try placing it in the upper left part of the screen. This is important because going this way, anybody who watches the video later will get a clear idea of what the subject is actually looking at instead of guessing what is happening outside the frame.
Selecting the Best Camera Is Very Important
No doubt you have to put in your best efforts in choosing the right camera for shooting cinematic quality travel videos. Now, this endeavor can be a little difficult considering the experience you possess in this category.
Suppose you have never bought cameras earlier or are looking to shift your preference from the present model that you are using to something you consider more suitable for the job. In that case, you can be completely unsure of what you actually need to go for.
The whole procedure is specifically confusing these days, considering that the majority of the compact system cameras, DSLRs, and compact cameras are now available at reasonably similar rates.
How to Start With the Process of Choosing the Right Camera
You can start with the process of choosing a camera by pondering on how you are going to use it. If you travel frequently and hate carrying a lot of luggage, it will be better for you to get something slightly larger. But make sure the camera you are going for offers top-quality results and more control.
It is also important for you to think about what you are looking to do within the videos once you have finished recording them. If you are shooting a travel video only to save it as memory and watch it time and again on your computer with little to no production, you might be better off with a top-quality compact system that easily goes into your pocket.
Well, getting such cameras is a possibility these days as camera technology has advanced at a very rapid pace. There are compact cameras available with a wide variety of lenses ranging from zoom lenses to prime lenses.
Such cameras can capture almost everything from telephoto shots to wide-angle captures. Frequent travelers and avid travel video makers should always make it a point to go for cameras with wide zoom lenses.
Nevertheless, if you are planning for some post-production work, it is better to choose cameras with LOG mode as they can offer a better dynamic range. The mirrorless cameras or compact systems work perfectly fine for the ones looking for maximum quality.
The majority of these cameras provide the same kind of sensors as the DSLRs, along with a compatible range of top-quality accessories and lenses.
It is always a great idea to choose cameras with tiltable screens as they will allow you to move them around to varied positions, so you always get the best view of the scene despite moving the camera.
Choosing the Right Video Editing Tool Is Also Very Important
It doesn’t really matter what kind of video editor you are going for; all of them have their very own workflow and variations. So, what you are going for will completely depend on how you will be working.
Remember, video editing is one of the most crucial steps in the production procedure of making a cinematic quality travel video. Of course, there are a large number of both free and paid video editing tools available in the market. Nevertheless, if you do not want to confuse yourself while making a choice, the best is to consider your requirements.
So, the key here is choosing a video editor that best fits your requirements and workflow. But then, just choosing any tool will not work for you. If possible, go through a video editing tool buying guide and try comparing varied editing tools.
Always choose the ones that come with dynamic features and a plethora of beneficial plugins.
Go With the Golden Hour
Shooting a video or clicking an image, lighting is something extremely crucial in both cases. Lighting plays an important role in capturing the essence of a travel destination. Unfortunately, you might not always have the luxury of bringing perfect lighting to your travel video shooting conditions.
Well, there’s nothing to worry about this as the best kind of lighting you can use in your video is naturally available twice during the day. And that is during sunset and sunrise. The time just before sunset and after sunrise is called the Golden Hour, and there’s a good reason behind this name.
These are times of the day that offer top-quality, flattering brightness for any city, person, or landscape you record. So, try to take full advantage of these lighting conditions by planning way ahead of time.
Of course, you also have the flexibility of using different sites to take inspiration when you are on the lookout for appealing places for shooting cinematic travel videos. Once you have visited a city, get up and go before sunset or after sunrise to capture the best shots.
Sure, the weather does not cooperate sometimes, but if you are lucky enough, you can capture shots that look great. The same shots would not look as amazing as they are if they were captured at noon. But why?
That’s because recording with the sun offers great lighting. Therefore, it always works to stick to shooting travel videos as close to the Golden Hour as possible.
Choose Music Way Ahead
One of the most crucial parts of shooting an exclusive travel video is selecting the right kind of music and that too beforehand. Remember, the music in your video forms the bedrock upon which you can place your shots. It will influence how the viewers feel after watching your video.
The best way to incorporate music in your cinematic travel video is by going with the theme, the feel, and the environment of the city or the place you are shooting. For example, if you are in Los Angeles, classical folk-rock music will be the right choice for your video.
In the same way, New Orleans goes with jazz music while classical music works for videos shot in New York City. The grand skyscrapers and the city spectacle go well with classical-style songs.
Also, your video shot in NYC should feature a timeless song considering how timeless the city feels. You need to listen to the music while shooting your video to get a clear sense of what the audience will be experiencing.
It always works to choose music for your video beforehand because it gives you the scope of listening to it. This way, you get an idea of what your end result will be like. You shoot your video to convey your feelings while traveling.
Leveling with People Is Crucial
Just as talking down to individuals is considered rude, it is not a good idea to record down at people either. This precisely means that it does not look good on the people. Recording down on individuals in your video will make your subject look insignificant and small if you fail to get hold of the perfect angle.
Insignificant and small might be the perfect look for your video if you are shooting in a huge landscape and are looking to show good scale. But otherwise, this process might not prove to be beneficial.
If you are shooting someone else, specifically a kid, try moving the camera down to the kid’s eye level so you will see the world from the child’s perspective. Of course, the world appears more interesting through a child’s eye, but this tip can even work for others.
Moving down slightly below eye level will make objects and people appear more important and taller. This is one technique that has gained huge popularity in Hollywood. And this technique is popular to such an extent that celebrities there are often mistaken to be taller than what they are in reality.
Steady and Smooth Always Wins the Race
Now stabilization is something very important when capturing cinematic travel videos. There are different technologies that you can use for achieving top-quality stabilization of your shots.
Remember, your stable and steady hand can help you in achieving the best of results. Combine the right technology with a steady and stable hand, and nothing can stop you from shooting as if the camera was floating through the thin air.
The trickiest of shots are the ones that are captured when trying to follow the ideas of some other individuals. It is always very important to practice walking smoothly in order to get great end results.
Bend your legs a bit when you are all set to shoot your video. Take a step forward and make it a point to land on your foot heel. Now roll it towards the toe while getting prepped up for the best step.
And yes, do your best to look funny while shooting the video. After all, getting the right shot matters the most.
The Bottom Line
When trying to shoot cinematic travel videos, it really does not matter how much experience you possess or what kind of gear you are using. What really matters is concentrating on the procedure. Simply work on this and enjoy what you are doing. Remember, video recording is a track without a destination. You will be learning new things every day.