How To Create A Vacation Video You'll Actually Watch

No one is watching an hour of you riding a camel through the desert, including you, but you can make something you'll at least enjoy.

By: Jason Hatfield
June 14, 2016

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I'm not going tobother with some catchy lead-in or talk about creating memories that last alifetime. If you're like me, you've probably got a lot of video sitting on yourhard drive, the cloud, or NSA servers. My primary focus for the past 10 yearshas been on creating images, but as my cameras started including high qualityvideo capability I started shooting more of it. Most of that videounfortunately, languishes unseen, waiting for me to have the time to get aroundto editing it. 

When the moodstrikes me though, or I take a trip unique/fun enough I want to relive theexperience on a screen from my couch, I put a video together of the adventure.In the time I've been creating short movies I've found what works for me, thatmakes me actually want to watch it numerous times, and it's mostly not creatingsome 30 minute behemoth.

1. Editfor Brevity

Thatleads me to the first tip, it's pretty hard to make the video too short. I've"seen" numerous videos on my FB feed that are the modern equivalentto watching a vacation slideshow. I don't need to see absolutely everything youdid, nor do you, the point is to show key highlights of the experience and/ortell a story.

2. ShootSmall Clips

Tohelp with creating a short, watchable video, capture short clips. You don'tneed 5 minutes of yourself mountain biking down the same trail, just be readyto record in the best sections and stop soon after you're through. This willgive you much less video to go through when editing, and make finding your bestshots easier.

3. Selectfor Impact

Onceyou've captured all those short clips of your trip, you'll need to startpicking which ones to use. Curate the collection for the video with the mostvisual impact, or those which help tell your story the best. The footage thatlooks the best isn't always what you expect when shooting.

4. Createa Linear Story

Whencreating your video it doesn't have to be in perfect order, but it should movethe story along. Editing for a more linear story will make a trip easier toremember especially when you visited a lot of places or participated in anumber of activities.

5. Musicis Key

Nowthis is definitely something of personal preference, but I'm not big ondialogue in my vacation videos, especially the kind describing everythingyou're seeing to the viewer. For me music is the key to setting the tone of thevideo and evoking the experiences felt. I typically spend my time firstselecting a song or songs (from a creative commons database) and then startediting the video to it. Having songs selected beforehand also helps limit thelength of my movie.

6. AlwaysBring Your Camera

Whetherit's your camera, phone, or GoPro, make sure you have a video camera with youeverywhere you go. I've missed numerous opportunities to capture somethingspecial about a trip because I thought I wouldn't need my camera.

7. Capturethe Whole Scene

Don'tjust focus on the activity you're doing, shoot clips of yourself getting ready,taking transportation, grabbing a meal, etc. Try to think about the whole sceneyou're in and how showing the small details tells more of a story.

8. BeUnobtrusive

Thecamera is there to capture the trip, not take it over. Take time to set thecamera down and just enjoy what you're doing, living behind a camera can takeaway from some of the experience. When you are shooting, try to minimize yourcamera's presence and keep it out of the way. 

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.