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How to Create an Original Travel Video that Will Captivate Viewers

Zach Ramelan

Travel videos can be a dime a dozen, so what can you do (and not do) to make your video stand out in a crowd of look-alikes?

You’re back at home after your vacation. You have a hard drive full of epic, experiential shots from the trip, and you’re ready to cut the footage together. For inspiration, you check out some trendy YouTube travel videos. There’s only one small problem — they all look the same. You get quickly overwhelmed by zoom transitions, six packs, and back-flips. Your motivation dwindles, and now all you can think about is that you don’t have a six pack.

This is how I felt a little over a year ago. Other than what I saw on YouTube, I didn’t know anything about travel videos. So, like most others, I fell into the internet’s creative vortex, copying a trend rather than creating something authentic.

In the following post, I’ll go over how I broke free from the cliches and share how you can get your own original results.

 


Step 1 — Avoid Trendy Transitions

Transitions simply move the viewer from one scene to the next. But, used improperly, they begin to show the seams in the project. While some creators have made very successful careers out of using motion-driven transitions, this technique isn’t for everyone. I believe zoom, warp, and swoosh transitions have their places in specific timelines; however, excessive use will detract your audience from the intended experience.

The key is motivation before movement. Emotion before motion (we will get to this later). If there is no motive behind the cinematic elements you’re adding to a scene, they won’t translate. Transitions are like salt. A little dash enhances the flavor, but too much spoils the broth.


Step 2 — Avoid Influences from Other Travel Videos

The mistake I learned from a year ago is still relevant today. Instead going to other travel videos for inspiration, watch documentaries, dramas, music videos, Vimeo staff picks — basically, anything else. By diversifying what you watch, you’re changing up how your brain will come up with ideas. For example, when creating my latest across-Canada video, I drew inspiration from the double-exposure effect in the opening credits of True Detective.


Step 3 — Music Is King!

The right track can motivate the entire video. For me, finding a killer song to incorporate in my films before beginning the edit changes the entire creative process. Music is a good way to convey emotion, so I spend hours on end listening to either my friends’ music or selections from PremiumBeat.com. From there, I pick a track that eventually influences the rest of the project.


Step 4 — Sound Effects Connect with Your Audience

Have you ever watched a video that was captured, composed, and edited beautifully, but it still lacked something? The issue was probably good audio. If you skip the sound design, you’re robbing the audience of auditory immersion. For example, if your video shows a waterfall, but your audience hears only music, they’re not getting the full experience. If I’ve captured shots rooted to a specific meaning, I like to apply the slightest bit of sound design to give them a kick.


Step 5 — Emotion Before Motion

When you’re starting your edit, try to remember what the experience felt like. Experience always trumps cinematic trends. I usually ask myself How did you feel when shooting this? And then I follow it with How do you want the audience to feel? Remember, the most significant, most profound films are usually those that nail the emotion corresponding to their scenes.

(Tip: sometimes, when I capture scenes or moments, I’ll pull out a little pocket journal to jot down the essence of where I was. Later, I’ll reference the note to properly apply that feeling to my edit.)


Looking for more video production tutorials? Check these out.

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