How to create a great vacation Video/After movie

You went on an amazing trip, and you may have taken some really cool photos, but a photo doesn’t fully capture everything. A photo really only captures a still moment. Your photo’s will most likely be stored somewhere in an album or on a hard-drive that you’ll probably never go back to look at.

A video (or what I like to call an “After movie”), will change all that. You’ll watch it over and over again. Creating an After movie is the game-changer that will capture the detailed atmosphere of where you are, the ambient sounds, the voices, and you’ll truly capture the memories this way.

My Greece and Cyprus After Movie from 2015. I adventured to one of the best Greek islands called Zakynthos in 2015. Where is Cyprus? It’s right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea! Here’s the Aftermovie!
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Why create an After movie?

I personally create After movies because I love creating. Not only creating, but sharing what I’ve created. I love the process because it’s truly mine. You start with a blank canvas and you find ways to tell a story and share the memories. It’s also an excuse to travel and adventure more.

These are some of my tips and ideas for how I create my After movies. Whatever you do, if you’re inspired by any creator out there, don’t copy their work. Create your own unique video. Nothing worse than creating something that is yours that took you hours or days to create, then seeing a very similar video uploaded that oddly matches certain aspects of your style. Don’t be “that guy”! (or girl.)

 

PLANNING

  1. Take Notes It’s easier to know what you’re going to shoot before your trip begins. I like to take some notes on my iPhone to reference back, to make sure I have all the shots I’d like to include.
  2. Locations – Save some time by planning an itinerary of specific locations you want to see. Get creative. Go to the places that no one goes to. You can easily go to popular landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in Paris (definitely go there), but you also want to film other interesting places that no one goes to. You WANT people to ask “Where is that!”.
  3. Gear – Since you’re not Batman, you can’t have all your gear equipped on your belt.
    1. Backpack – I like to carry the Lowepro Slingshot backpack (See Here). It’s one strap that goes across your chest and it’s a lot better for your back than a regular two strap backpack. I carry my DSLR camera and 5 lenses in there. There’s also room for chargers, chords, and batteries in little compartments within the backpack.
    2. Cameras – I use a Nikon D5100 (See Here) which has a flip out screen that is great for getting different angles while you’re filming. You can also film yourself by flipping the screen to the front. I’ve had it for a few years now, so price went down since then. I also just use my iPhone 6S. It’s perfect when you’re short on time and just want to get a quick shot. I use this when I want to get 120 fps slow motion shots as well. GoPro Hero 5 Session (See Here), is an awesome camera for shooting in extreme conditions and wide angle shots. Cliff jumping to the water, surfing, snowboarding, etc. This version you can’t see what you’re filming, which could lead to interesting footage, but you can tether it to your phone and see what your GoPro sees. It’s also a lot smaller than the GoPro Hero 5.

Hollywood Hills // California

FOOTAGE

The specific footage you capture is key. You not only want to capture the moments of what you’re doing, but you also want to capture the in-betweens.

  1. Film everything – Literally don’t turn off your camera. Okay, maybe turn it off sometimes to save some battery, but just smash that record button as often as possible. Film yourself putting on your shoes, walking with your plane ticket in hand, opening doors, getting into a taxi. These shots act as your “B-roll” footage meaning extra footage apart from your main footage, or transitions to show relocation and movement.
  2. Vlog Sometimes it’s a great idea to just talk to the camera. This could be a good time to tell you’re audience what you’re doing and who you’re with. You might think people are looking at you funny walking down the street talking to a camera, but realistically they’re too busy to care.
  3. Setting –  Film a few seconds of where you are every so often. You can set up the camera somewhere, frame your shot, and hit record. I like to let it record for at least 5 seconds to get enough footage for editing.
  4. Give someone else your camera –  Get in your own shot. Give the camera to your friend or family member, or if you’re traveling solo, test your social deviance by choosing a trusty looking stranger to record you doing something awesome. If they look like the Hamburglar, maybe think twice. He was known for snagging a few cheeseburgers.
  5. Transitional footage –  This footage will be used to jump to a new location seamlessly. Yes, you could simply just cut to a new scene, but that gets boring. Do some Whip Pans, which starts in one location, and you whip the camera up, down, left, or right, and edit the clip to whip up, down, left, or right into a new location. You can also use what I like to call the Palm technique, which again starts in one location and you cover the camera with your palm, and when you uncover the camera, BAM! You’re magically in a new location. This is all done with proper editing.
  6. Get the third person view – Set up your camera somewhere, and frame the shot just like in the movies. Film yourself from a third person point of view packing, putting on your shoes, getting into the car, or even simply just walking by. This takes a lot of time so it is difficult to do if you’re in a rush. This just gives the video an interesting perspective instead of always holding the camera.

#3* Set up my camera and hit record to capture the setting of Zakynthos Greece as an intro for the next scene.

MUSIC

Music makes your movie interesting. Without a little music, your video will be bland.

  1. Style – Choose music that relates to your movie and choose music that you like. I personally like upbeat and chill electronic music, which usually relates to the feeling I like to give out in my movies. It’s fun and happy music which people usually enjoy.
  2. Copyright – If you’re posting the video to youtube, you are allowed to use copyrighted music, but you will have ads on your video, and any money made on the ads will go straight to the artist. Which is fair since you’re using their music. If you upload the video with copyrighted music straight to Facebook from your computer, your video will be taken down, and if you do it too many times, Facebook will ban you for a few weeks from uploading videos. It’s best to just use royalty-free music, or create your own.

 

Editing video in Final Cut Pro X

EDITING

Take the time to edit your videos. Editing is one of the most important parts of the process. Editing includes cutting clips and putting them together, colour correcting, colour grading, and adding music and titles. It could take a long time, but it’s super fun when you get creative with it. It’s so worth the effort in the end.

  1. Software – Practice and get familiar with the software to edit. I like using Final Cut Pro X, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe premiere depending on what I’m editing. These can be costly, but luckily all iMacs and Macbooks come with iMovie for free, which doesn’t have all the features, but it’s pretty great for basic edits.
  2. Colour Correcting – If the white balance is too cool or too warm, be sure to colour correct your footage. Sometimes you might want to leave it cool or warm depending on the mood.
  3. Colour Grading – If your colours look flat, it might be a good idea to colour grade your footage. Colour grading gives your footage a certain feeling or mood by adding certain colours to the image.
  4. Music – When you’re editing the music in your video, try cutting the clips to the beat of the music. No one likes an off-beat clip cut. It will throw it off completely if the music doesn’t match up to the cut transitions.Be sure to “duck” the clip when someone is speaking in the video. Ducking pretty much means fade down the volume in parts to hear the person speaking clearly and still be able to hear the music subtly in the background, then fade up the volume when they are done speaking to start hearing the music again. It will be annoying for the viewer if they’re trying to hear the person speak in the video and the music is blasting at regular volume over top of their voice.
  5. Titles – Throw some text in there. Add titles over top of your video to label the setting or date of the video. Also give yourself some credit at the end.

This is how I personally like to create my adventure and travel After Movies, so try it yourself. Again, use this as an outline and create something new.
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