Hey guys and gals,
Everyone has a Gopro because, well let's face it, they kick ass.
The camera is a pretty amazing tool.
Being so small and powerful it let's you capture all those amazing moments.
I have made some really fun movies for clients over the years.
Check out my friend Nadia's YouTube for inspiration
Here are some pro tips I use to guide me.
1) Shoot Short Shots: A shot is like a sentence—it has a noun and a verb. Together the noun and verb are what keep the “move” in “movies.”
On your backpacking trip a random video clip of “Bob” is not a shot. “Bob picks up his pack” is a shot. “Bob hikes down the trail” is a shot. To keep your shots short, stop shooting when the action is complete. “Bob hikes down the trail” is interesting for about 5 seconds unless Bob falls off a cliff. So once you’ve got the action covered, be done. We don’t need to see Bob’s back for another 30 seconds as he heads off into the distance. [more on short shots]
2) Shoot People, Not Scenery: Think about why you’re shooting vacation video in the first place—to remember.
The Empire State Building will probably look exactly the same 10 years from now, In case it doesn’t, thousands of great photographers have already shot it better than you can. What makes your vacation video special is that your kids went up the Empire State Building—and your kids are going to look completely different in 10 years.
“But the scenery’s so beautiful” you say. It is– in person. Video of the Grand Canyon looks great in Imax, okay on your 42” flat screen, and like tiny blurry garbage on your iPhone. Unless you’re shooting Imax, best not to dwell.
Frame a great shot of the kids looking over the railing and that stunning canyon vista will look great too—in the background, where it belongs.
3) Find the Story: Instead of random shots of the family posing on a boat, find the story of everyone getting together and taking your parents on a cruise. Have your camera ready when you surprise them with the tickets. Interview your brother, who hates cruises but is coming anyway, armed with Dramamine and wrist-bands because he loves his parents. Shoot your dad tearing up as he gives a speech to the group at your first big dinner on board
What’s different about your vacation? Is it the family’s first time out of the country? Your daughter’s first plane flight? The Disney vacation you’ve been saving up for for 5 years? Think before you shoot. Tell that story.
4) Interview: Video captures not just what we look like, but how we think. Which is perfect for that embarrassing wedding video 20 years from now. Don’t just interview the kids. Interview your spouse, your parents, strangers you meet on the trip. It’s a great way to capture the emotion of a moment in time.
Your five-year-old will never be 5 again. Ask her open-ended questions about what’s going on. Let her show you, explain to you, sing to you.
5) Shoot sparingly. If you shoot just 2 ten-second shots in each of 8 touring hours a day, that’s almost 3 minutes of footage a day. A week-long vacation is pushing an Armbrusturian 20 minutes—longer than anyone, including you, will actually watch. Practice being selective. Sure you can edit later, but will you? And even if you do, the shorter and better your footage when you start, the less work it is.
Always start taping a few seconds before the important action begins and continue a bit after it ends, to give yourself room to choose edit points.Get establishing shots--wide-angle views of the location, so that viewers can orient themselves. Pan (slowly and smoothly) if necessary, to encompass the whole scene.From each shot to the next, change both the image size (long shot to closeup) and the camera angle (front view to three-quarter view) to create smoother cuts. It also helps if subjects begin out of view, move into the shot, then exit the frame. This makes closely-matched action unnecessary.In addition to covering the main action, get insert shots to reveal small details (a stone cherub's head, a flower in a Yosemite meadow) and color shots (billboards, swaying willows, reflections on water). These cutaways will help you condense and pace the sequences.Look for natural titles in things like posters, street signs, or the covers of brochures.Don't forget sound. Tape several minutes of ambient sound to help smooth the audio differences among different shots. And if you're in exotic places, pick up tapes or CDs of local music. This can lend a wonderfully authentic quality to your program.
1. Let the location speak for itself!
Show, don't tell. Think of the setting as one of the subjects of your video. You can still be the star, but let the scene have it's camera time, too.
2. Show us your friends.
Video allows for candid moments. Try to capture your fellow travelers being themselves as opposed to herding them in front of notable landmarks and forcing them to say "Cheese!" (Though a little cheesiness never hurt anyone, see the Pro Tip below!) Take a look at Escape byScott Foley for a good example of this.
3. Think in shots.
It's easy to get carried away and film everything you see, but this can make editing a bit of a headache. Have the final video in mind when you're shooting, and be selective. Try to shoot clips that vary in length. It's hard to edit down really long clips.
4. Document the "moments" you want to remember.
Sometimes little things like a bottle of beer sweating in the sun can bring back the strongest memories. Try to notice the little things and give those moments some time in your video. If you watch a performance, there's no need to document the whole thing, just show a moment from it, and that's all you need. Think of your video as a highlight reel!
5. If you're having fun, chances are it's going to be fun to watch!
If you're having a blast on your vacation, taking some video while you're in the midst of your happiness will preserve that time for the future! Sometimes it doesn't hurt to let one of your trusted travel companions to take some video of you, too.
Pro tip: A fun alternative to those classic group vacation shots is what we call a 'fauxtograph', where you tell your subjects you are taking a picture but it's actually a video. Get everyone set up and then see how long you can get them to sit still. Trust us, it's a hoot!