The internet is full of people who offer you advice on a wide range of topics but some topics are so specialized that you need someone who is fully immersed in it to get the best advice. Travel cinematography is one such area because everyone doesn’t have the freedom or luxury to travel extensively for the purpose of making films. Brandon Li has traveled and shot in more places than most of us will get to visit and has gathered enough experience to give in-depth tips for shooting while on the road. Here are four problems he hopes to help you avoid on your next trip.
1 – Not enough motion
- Shoot a time-lapse
- Capture drone footage
- Use a gimbal
- Shoot from a moving vehicle
Look for life around the buildings and landmarks. This can be human life or wildlife that you happen to come across as you walk around. By placing the landmarks or buildings within the context of everyday life, you make the shots far more interesting.
2 – not telling a story
Film a defined beginning and end to your trip.
It doesn’t have to begin and end with you entering or exiting the plane, train, or boat. You simply need to use shots that communicate a sense of beginning and a sense of closure to your adventure.
Groups your clips according to the time of day
Assuming you captured enough footage at different times of day, you’ll have the flexibility to compile them into a unique story in once you’re in post production. This creates a great flow for your storytelling that is natural for your viewers because it’s how we experience time.
Voiceover & Narration
Using a voice that guides and compliments the visual components you’ve captured is a great way to tell a story. However, you’ll need to make sure that the words are relevant to your footage and make their addition evident, otherwise; it will look like a failed attempt at being profound.
3 – Overshooting
When you first jump into photography or video, you’re “that guy” or “that gal” with the camera who is always shooting. Eventually, we mature into an artist who is more selective with their image capturing timing and choices. However, traveling is a stumbling block that can cause us to quickly relapse into our former shooting self and we end up missing the entire purpose of your trip by being plastered to the back of our camera. By limiting your shooting adventures to dawn, dusk, and sunset, you capture the best light and leave time to enjoy yourself and your traveling companions.
4 – Too Much Gear
Packing gear for a trip is a lot like shopping for groceries while you’re hungry. You tend you go overboard buying things that satisfy whatever craving is being fueled by the pain in your belly at the moment. Likewise, when traveling you may have a grand vision that demands you pack three zooms, six primes, and a tilt-shift, but reality dictates one prime and one zoom will suffice. Know what you’re shooting and only bring what you need for those shots.