3 tips to shoot more engaging travel videos

Practical tips to make better videos, easily explained.

Here at Planet we’re on a mission to raise the bar of the travel content we consume when exploring travel ideas or booking our holidays.

Travel is a strange industry, as it is both at the forefront and behind the times when it comes to producing high quality content. And unfortunately, most of the largest and most used travel websites and apps fall into the second category.

It should not come as surprise to anybody that videos are one of the most engaging formats for travel — if well made, they allow the people watching to immerse themselves in a new place. Videos provide so much more than images with the possibility to add sound, music, voices and narration, movement and more powerful emotion. It then comes as no surprise that the new world of “vlogging” is growing at a phenomenal pace.

And for content creators, it has never before been so easy to produce high quality videos: we all now have smartphones that are capable of shooting videos in HD in our pockets and many people also have action cameras or DSLRs which can achieve 4k resolution, 30fps and more.

Yet, a huge amount of videos, whether they’re made from bloggers, hotels, tourist promoters, or just normal people travelling, are very poor (and frankly boring)

But… travel is exciting!! And one of Plenet’s design principles is to make crafting your next trip as fun and exiting as travelling itself.

To achieve this, we use what we call “immersive design” which makes use of great video content in a mobile format. As we want the world of travel to start producing better quality content (disclaimer: we want to use some of this content in our product), we have put together some guidelines that we think results in much better video. Here they are:

01 — Personal point of view

Very simply put, videos that give the impression as if you were looking from someone else’s eyes are much more engaging that other perspectives.

DO — Camera follows
DON’T — Fixed camera, very low point of view

To achieve a personal point of view

DO:

  • Move camera to follow main characters
  • Mount camera on you (chest-to-head height)

DON’T

  • Fix camera to a position
  • Position camera too high, too low, or in unnatural position

02 — Pick a main character

Every section of your video should have one and only one main character.

The main character can of course be a person, a group of people, but also objects, a landscape features, an action or basically almost everything. What matters here is that you pick something and focus just on that.

Common mistakes include picking no main character at all, or focusing on multiple characters at the same time.

DO — The pool setup is the main character
DON’T — No main character
DON’T — Multiple characters. Is it about the pool, the sea or the person?

03 — Move, move, move! …but with purpose

Few things make videos less boring than when the camera doesn’t move. At the same time, random movement is just as bad.

Yet the rule is super simple: move towards your main character. And 95% of the times, do it in straight line. Follow your character, move closer, move away from it, zoom in or out, circle around it. Don’t stay put.

DO — Follow characters
Don’t — Camera doing nothing
DO — POV and move
DON’T — POV and NOT move
DO — Even subtle movement can be better…
DON’T — …. than no movement.

That is it! These three rules are the most important aspects we use at Planet when shooting our own videos or when choosing the videos we put in our product.

There are some others, more subtle guidelines that we use internally on top of these, and I’ll will make another post with them, but I feel these three alone should already make a huge difference.

Hopefully this will help you shoot, edit, or purchase your next travel video.

Make the most of your time in this Planet!