If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a mountain of photos you’ve captured and collected whilst travelling. And when I say a mountain, I really do mean it… like thousands. Now don’t get me wrong, I love taking photos and capturing memories that will live on forever. BUT, when someone asks how my trip was, I am reluctant to sit them down and scroll through photo after photo after photo with them. No matter how enthusiastic they are to know about my adventures, 5 hours of photo flicking, just isn’t fun for anyone after a while (unless wine and cheese is involved!).
And then I had a thought… a brain fart of some sort. Why don’t I make a cool travel video about my adventures!? We were a few days out from heading off on a 3 month road trip through the Western United States in our old (new to us) RV called ‘Big Girl’. This would be the perfect opportunity to capture the fun and excitement of the trip and sum it up for other people (and myself) to enjoy. The only hurdle was that I had no idea how to make a sweet travel video. I am by no means a professional videographer or even photographer for that matter. But I am passionate about capturing moments that will live on forever. And so I decided to wing it; take lots of short clips during our road trip and figure out how to put them together to create a fun, memorable video that would sum up our amazing adventure in a just a few minutes.
So here are my 10 steps to creating an AH-MAZING travel video – no film making experience required.
Step 1 – Decide what camera/s you will be using. I used a combination of a Sony A58 DSLR and a GoPro 4. Now remember, I am not a professional photographer, but I do enjoy learning and experimenting with my DSLR. You really just need any decent camera that can take short movie clips. Heck, an iPhone 5 or 6 takes better videos than some point and shoot digital cameras these days!
Step 2 – Take short movie clips of your adventures. Be conscious about actually taking short film clips. I really did have to remind myself regularly that ‘hey this would be a great video opp!’ Get creative with your filming, for example: using a pan shot across from left to right (or up or down) to capture landscapes. Also keep in mind that you want your video to tell a story, which means it will need a beginning, a middle and an end. Be conscious of capturing ‘in-between’ moments (as I like to call them) as well as the obvious to allow your story to flow. For example: an obvious clip you’d want to capture would be a pan shot of the Grand Canyon while an in-between might be while you’re sitting at the bus station doing nothing in particular, waiting to go to your next destination. Combining these types of shots together lets the viewer feel like they are right there experiencing it all with you.
Have a think about what kind of shot you might use to introduce the film, as this will be setting the scene for the rest of the video. For my adventure through the USA, I used a short clip of the U.S. flag flying in the wind. Within the first second, the viewer already knows what this video is going to be about or at least where this video has been shot.
Step 3 – Sort videos into a ‘Keep Folder’. Now that your road trip (or other adventure) is all done and dusted (sad face!) and you’ve got your videos loaded onto your laptop, it’s time for the fun part. Go through and watch ALL the clips you took, have a good old giggle and decide which ones you will want to use in your video. Create a folder and call it something like your ‘Keep Folder’. This will make the whole movie making process sooo much smoother when you want to find specific clips to upload and edit.
Step 4 – Decide on a kick-ass song. This is super important because a travel video would be pretty plain and boring without a catchy tune to go with it, right? BUT WAIT… Before you get carried away with the tune fairies… there’s something you need to be aware of, and that is… C O P Y R I G H T.
So it turns out, in this digital day and age, you just can’t take the first song you like, slap it on your own video and upload it to your Facebook or Youtube account. Go figure?!? **Sarcasm** If you’re likely going to want to share your amazing creation with the world, or at least your online tribe, you need to be mindful of where you obtain your chosen music. Check out this great article from RealSeo which explains the do’s and dont’s of copyright in an easy to understand way. They also give some great suggestions on where to find publicly (free to use) music.
Need some more inspiration? Head over to soundcloud.com (free!) and have a poke around at the different songs and playlists on offer under the ‘To Use Commercially’ tab.
Step 5 – Open iMovie and create a new project (Sidenote: The following instructions apply to iMovie). For those of us not using a Mac, try using Windows Movie Maker. For those in the MacBook tribe, open up iMovie (I have iMovie version 9), head to ‘File’ and click ‘New Project’. Give your project a name, save it and get ready to create some M A G I C.
Step 6 – Add your song track to the project. Now that you’ve got a sweet tune picked out, head to the right side of the screen (depending on what version of iMovie you are using) and click on the music note icon. Essentially, you need your song to be available in iTunes first before you can load it into the project. When you find it, simply drag it over into the project area.
Depending on where you get your song from, you may have to convert it to an .mp3 and save it to your iTunes. Don’t get overwhelmed by this, just google it if you don’t know how to convert your song.
Step 7 – Import the clips you are going to use into iMovie. This is pretty straight forward. Remember the ‘keep folder’ you made? Head over there and insert all of the clips you are going to put together in your travel video. Take your time, I’ll wait 🙂
Step 8 – Edit and arrange your clips.Now this is the really fun part. This can all be done with a drag and drop method. You can also trim each of your clips so you’re only using the part you want from them. Be free, be creative and spend as much time as you want mucking around with the layout of your video. Listen to the song play and visualise how your movie should look and if you want your video to be uber awesome and semi-profesh looking, make sure the videos flow and are in time with the music.
Step 9 – Finalise and export your video (Yayyyy!). Once you are all done and dusted/finito/all fuzzy inside with how well your movie turned out, you will need to finalise your movie and share it with the world! The beautiful thing about iMovie is that you can literally share it straight to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo or other social media platforms under the ‘Share’ tab. It really is that easy.
The 10th and final step is for you to now sit back, relax, pour yourself a wine or crack open a beer and watch your movie from start to finish knowing that you are a kick-ass travel video maker; no film making experience required.