We leave society behind and march into the woods so we can stop and enjoy the moment, right? Well, yes, but sometimes you still want to look back at those moments in the near or distant future. You could leave your greatest camping adventures to live solely in your memory. Or, you could embrace your creativity and put together travel videos for each of your excursions.
Of course, recording your camping trip isn't for everyone. After all, technology of any kind can get in the way of enjoying the great outdoors.
But there's also absolutely nothing wrong with taking a moment and observing your surroundings — both with your eyes and with your viewfinder.
So, You Want to Make Travel Videos like the Pros
You can't just waltz into the woods with your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera and expect to create travel videos that belong on National Geographic. Then again, you probably already knew that.
But with that said, creating pro-quality travel videos that will impress your friends, family, and social media followers probably isn't as difficult as you may think.
What you'll need to get the job done
You could travel to the most gorgeous location and see the most incredible sights. Still, your experiences won't translate into a high-quality video if you don't also have the right equipment.
Things you should invest in before attempting your first serious travel video include:
That's just what you'll need out in the field. Once you get home, you'll also need access to editing software and a computer with enough power to run said software. Otherwise, your epic travel videos will never see life past your memory card.
5 Tips for Getting Your Adventures on Film
So, we said that even the best camping experiences won't make good travel videos without the proper equipment, right? Well, the proper equipment won't really get the job done either — unless you know how to score the right footage.
Yes, part of creating innovative video comes down to sheer talent. But by following some simple tips and tricks (and researching travel videos made by other outdoor adventurers), you can take your recordings from amateur to stunner.
1. Stay aware of your surroundings
This isn't just a basic outdoor safety tip. You're not going to get any worthwhile footage if you just record your surroundings willy-nilly.
Survey your camping location for spots that would make cool backdrops for recording yourself or your friends, as well as scenery that deserves a slow pan or timelapse.
But don't just think about your visual surroundings. Consider the soundscape, as well.
This could mean trying to eliminate or capture certain noises. For example, you don't want your audio distorted by wind or passing vehicles on a nearby road. But you also want to capture the serenity of a bubbling brook or chirping birds.
You also might want to overlay your entire video with music, which makes handling your audio recording a lot easier. But if you want to ensure your video is accompanied by high-quality sound, consider also investing in an external microphone.
2. Preparation is key
Do you know when the coolest shots happen? Yep, that's right. When you're not ready with your camera.
While you can't be recording 100 percent of the time, know that great travel videos aren't born from a handful of recordings here and there. Instead, you'll want to devote at least a little bit of time to getting some good footage.
If you don't want to be looking through a viewfinder for your entire trip, there are a couple of options:
First, you could set up your camera on a tripod. While you won't get any cool panning shots of the scenery, this is an excellent way to capture you and your friends hiking, fishing, building a campfire, or any other activities you enjoy.
Second, you could choose a GoPro as your recording device. With a GoPro, you can mount the camera to a handle or even to a head strap, creating a hands-free recorder. Unfortunately, though, this can also mean shaky footage and awkward angles.
3. Capture every angle
Don't just take one long shot of that killer view and call it a day. If you're really committed to creating top-tier travel videos, you're going to want a range of angles with which to work.
And don't be afraid to get creative.
Maybe getting down on your stomach will really drive home just how tall and breathtaking the forest's trees are. Or, perhaps (securely!) holding your camera over a cliff's edge will capture a jawdropping perspective of the landscape below.
4. Rise with the sun
Want to know the single most overlooked factor in high-quality video recording (or photography in general)? The lighting.
Out in the great outdoors, you're almost exclusively working with natural sunlight. And any other light sources you come across, such as a campfire or a lantern, will be more so the focus of your video rather than a true light source.
Generally, the best natural light occurs a few hours after sunrise and just a few hours before sunset. If you want to capture clear, true-to-color video, these are the times to focus your efforts.
However, that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of dawn, dusk, or even nighttime. Just make sure you adjust your camera's settings, if possible, to get the most out of these unique lighting scenarios.
5. Pack some extra juice
This final tip is a bit of a no-brainer. But it's one that even the pros need to be reminded of from time to time.
Don't leave the house without some extra batteries for your recording device. If your camera is rechargeable, consider investing in some battery packs or a portable solar charger.
Hopefully, you won't need to fall back on your extra batteries. But if you do, and you don't pack them, you'll be left with no way to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments throughout the rest of your trip.
Share Your Travel Videos with the World
Now, you're home, showered, and your travel videos are edited and rendered on your computer. What do you do with them after all of that work?
Of course, you could hold onto them and enjoy them by yourself or with friends and family. In an age where so much of our day-to-day lives go online, sometimes it's nice to keep some things for yourself.
But there's also zero shame in wanting to share your camping experiences with the rest of the world.
If you want to reach as many people as possible, you can upload your travel videos to YouTube or Vimeo. Even Instagram serves as a popular platform for bite-sized videos these days. For more personal sharing, Facebook also offers a great platform for uploading videos of your adventures.
However you choose to share your travel videos, though, they'll always be a reminder of the awesome adventures you enjoyed in the woods.
Do you have any outdoor vloggers or videographers you like to follow? Share their names in the comments section below!