Shooting travel videos has never been easier now that all you need for crisp, dynamic, and high-definition videos is your phone. Gone are the times when travellers lugged around bulky camera equipment on their travels; nowadays, phone cameras are the go-to device for vloggers worldwide.
With the right knowledge, it’s possible to produce visually striking travel content that rivals what can be produced by high-end cameras. If you’re planning to start a travel-centred YouTube channel or simply want to eternalise your travel memories in great quality, here are some tips and techniques to help you shoot top-notch travel vlogs:
1) Prepare Your Arsenal of Shooting Equipment
With the array of high-tech smartphones available in the market, it won’t be hard to choose one with superior camera capabilities even if you’re on a modest budget. For example, if you’re based in the Lion City, there are many cheap phones Singapore retailers can offer you that are packed with decent camera features. Read through the reviews for particular models and compare specs so that you can get the best value for your money.
While many phones come equipped with standard and telephoto lenses, you can also invest in a wide-angle lens attachment to make views of scenic landscapes and bustling city backgrounds more immersive to your viewers. And if good video quality is what you’re after, remember that sound audio is just as important as the visuals. Eliminate distracting background noises from your clips and ensure that ambient sounds are captured crisply by getting an external microphone for your phone.
Shooting in high resolution and using all kinds of features on your phone can drain its battery pretty quickly. Knowing that, you should also bring a trusty power bank with you wherever your next travel shoot is.
2) Plan Your Content
Before setting out to shoot a travel vlog, you should also think about the type of shots you want. Are you aiming to film the sunrise over the mountains, or is it the evening bustle of a night market that you want to put the spotlight on? Having a loose storyboard or shot list can guide your filming process and help you stay organised during your shoots.
To effectively plan your content, take some time to explore the locations in the area and find those hidden gems or picturesque spots. You should also do your research about peak hours for tourist spots to avoid going to them while they’re crowded. This will make it a lot easier to shoot vlogs, as well as enhance their audiovisual appeal.
3) Mind Your Angles
Using your phone to shoot content will also allow you to capture scenes from a variety of angles, since it’s lighter and more manoeuvrable than traditional cameras. Try adding unique shots set in different angles to your videos, such as an overhead snap of a local park or a low-angle view of towering skyscrapers, to give each of your vlogs a more cinematic feel.
Also take advantage of your phone’s lightweight and flexible build by experimenting with different angles like bird’s-eye views, worm’s-eye views, and Dutch angle shots. You won’t run out of interesting perspectives for portraying your travels if you try out different angles.
4) Tweak Your Camera Settings
When shooting with your phone’s camera, try to explore its options and settings. Don’t just settle for auto mode all the time, as you could be missing out on some awesome effects, filters, and high-resolution options.
See if you can adjust the focus, exposure, white balance, and other elements to ensure that you get the best shot of different sceneries. Many of the latest phone models offer high-resolution settings, which can make your footage look sharper and give you even more flexibility in post-production. And to release quality videos, always ensure that your phone is set to record at its maximum capability.
5) Learn Different Lighting Techniques
There are two basic lighting techniques you can utilise to make your phone-filmed videos look even better: natural light and backlighting. Natural light, emitted from sources like the sun or moon, will lend some authenticity to visual content by casting a genuine and vivid ambience that’s hard to replicate with artificial lighting—making it especially valuable for travel videography and vlogging.
Backlighting, on the other hand, is when the primary light source is situated behind the subject to create a halo effect or silhouette, lending additional depth and mood to videos. While it might be tricky to master at first, with practice, you’ll soon be able to master the art of balancing foreground and background lighting for a dramatic effect.
6) Take Stable Videos
A shaky video can be disorienting for viewers and put them off from watching your content. To avoid this, try to move slowly and smoothly as you take videos of your surroundings. This lessens the tremors in your videos and allows for pleasant viewing.
You can also invest in a gimbal that mechanically stabilises your phone and enables more fluid videography as you show off the different sights and sounds in your travel videos. If you’re going for more static shots or you want to keep your phone steady as you take a self-video, bring a tripod along. These come in various sizes, from pocket-sized to full-height tripods, and you can carry one with you on your trips with little difficulty.
7) Explore Third-Party Camera Apps
Many built-in phone camera apps are quite decent, but third-party ones often offer enhanced manual controls like shutter speed adjustments, focus peaking, and customisable white balances. There are also well-reviewed and widely recognised camera apps like FiLMiC Pro, ProCamera, and Moment that will provide advanced features to elevate the quality of your phone camera footage. In addition, they’re quite user-friendly and will help bridge the gap between phone and professional camera functionalities.
8) Tell Stories Through Your Vlogs
Remember that some of the best vlogs show more than just montages of beautiful scenes and gorgeous travel destinations. Try to engage with your viewers by narrating your personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
Talk to the camera as if you’re conversing with a friend, sharing insights and anecdotes as you explore new cities and countries. Introduce the place, share the main events or attractions, and conclude with reflections or highlights of your trip. This narrative style keeps viewers invested and provides context to the imagery you’ve shared with them. Who knows—maybe one of your viewers will nurture a dream of going to a particular place because of your travel vlog.
Ready, Set, Vlog!
These tips should help you maximise your potential to craft compelling and awe-inspiring travel vlogs using little more than your phone camera. Every great vlogger started somewhere, and with dedication and practice, there’s no limit to the stories you can tell about your travels!
DISCLOSURE – This is a collaborative post.