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Want to learn how to make an award winning travel video? Read on.
The travelcuts FilmFest
I’m inspired. Positively inspired. I’ve just been at the Second Annual travelcuts FilmFest (no, that’s not how I would have capitalized it either) and saw the award-winning travel video, plus videos from the two other finalists as well as some new travel videos from last year’s winners. Actually I’ve been watching a lot of travel videos lately and I’ve learned a lot. By dissecting them carefully, I’ve learned a few essential ingredients that go into making an award-winning travel video, which I’m going to put into practice immediately. (Just as soon as I get my stupid iMovie working again.)
But first I’m going to pass on the secrets of making top-rated travel videos to you.
Before we start, take a look at the award-winning travel video by the 2015 travelcuts FilmFest winner, Mark Harrison, to get you into the travel-video-making mood.
Secrets of making an award-winning travel video – Buy a drone
I was just telling another travel writer at the FilmFest that I thought drones were a fad, that once all those cool arial shots had been taken all around the world, and we’ve become saturated with stunning arial footage, then what? Drones will be done. Then I watched the finalists’ videos. Wow. Just wow. All I can say now is … if you want to make an award-winning video buy a drone.
Tip 2 – Learn how to work the drone
This tip is a bit of a drag. I think I’d be pretty good at buying a drone. Using it is another matter entirely. Plus there is the problem of packing it. Right now I can’t even travel with a tripod, because that would take up valuable shoe space in my luggage.
And the winner of the 2016 travelcuts FilmFest is …
Benoit LaLande! Whoot! Now let’s take a look at the award-winning travel video of the Second Annual travelcuts FilmFest. It’s Sama Sama by Burlington local, Benoit LaLande. Congratulations, Benoit, and may you enjoy the $5,000-worth-of-travel first prize. We can’t wait to see what travel videos you’ll come up with that.
Travel video tip 3 – Go underwater
What? It’s not enough to get drone shots from the air, now I need to go underwater, too? Bloody hell. I’ll have to add a GoPro to the mix – and you know what this means, at this point I’ll be down to one pair of thin-soled shoes.
A key element to making travel videos – Learn to leap
Leaping is a valuable tool for making a high-quality travel video. To make a video that resonates with travellers you should cultivate a love for leaping into jade pools off the top of a waterfalls (or at the very least, learn to stand pensively in front of one). You should also consider jumping off cliffs into aquamarine seas or, at a minimum, leap off a boat, preferably holding hands with a group of new friends who share your innermost wanderlust soul.
Shoe shots rock
I quite like this one because it means you can sit down. If you’re too scared to leap off a cliff you can sit on the edge with your feet hanging into the abyss to get some quality footage (that’s a foot joke by the way).
One of the three finalists in the travelcuts FilmFest is Tyler Cave from Victoria, BC. To stay in the spirit of things, let’s pause to watch his fab travel video Indonesia.
Tip 6 – Smile
If you aren’t having the time of your life and grinning with the biggest most widest smile in the whole wide world in every shot, how do you expect to inspire others to travel through your videos?
Tip 7 – Pensiveness
There are some exceptions to smiling. If you’re standing in front of a waterfall (as I mentioned before) or sitting on a rooftop patio overlooking a beautiful city such as Florence with the starry night sky twinkling overhead, an expression of profound thoughtfulness is acceptable. Perhaps you could even shed one dew-like tear. Because travelling is deep.
Last year’s finalist Elise Chan rocks the pensive-while-being-happy genre of travel videos. Let’s watch. Is she not just too likeable for words?
Travel video tip 8 – Look good in a bikini and/or short shorts
If you want to learn how to make an award winning travel video, remember this: Beach shots are always fun, and it helps if you have good legs. I’m currently researching some work arounds for this, however, and am looking into whether or not a pair of knee-to-stomach unicorn tattoos would disguise ungainly thighs while also projecting an aura of independence and carefree rebellion.
Another option is, obviously, to film someone else who looks good in a bikini. This especially works if you’re a man.
Now let’s take a look at a beautifully-shot teaser video from last year’s finalist Valentyn Syenin.
The final option for a bikini avoidance strategy is to only film in cold places, a key bit of brilliance I dreamed up after watching the captivating travel video, Popsicle Sagas, submitted by Dominic Faucher, one of the 2016 finalists.
Video tip 9 – Dance
An extension of looking good in shorts or a bikini is dancing in shorts or a bikini. Dancing is a pure way of expressing the joys of being a nomad, and is an excellent form of nonverbal communication, which brings me to my next point.
Shut the eff up
Music, my friends. It’s all about music rather than words. At the travelcuts FilmFest (no, I don’t feel any better about the capitalization than I did before) I interviewed two of last year’s top video makers, Valentyn and Elise (who are both adorable by the way, not to mention uber talented). They told me that YouTube offers free music as does SoundCloud – a valuable travel video tip I’m now passing on to you (and one you probably knew anyways, but I’m trying my best to help).
On the plus side, less speech and more music means less historical research and fact checking. Yay! On the downside, it means you really do need to hone your filming and editing skills. And that’s on top of learning how to use a drone.
And finally, edit edit edit
These award-winning travel videos might look all spontaneous and hey-we’re-just-having-so-much-fun, not one of them happened by accident. A tremendous amount of work clearly went into editing, cutting, splicing and dicing. (I got those last two terms from a cooking show.) So congratulations to all the top contenders, who managed to do it all.
If you like it, pin it!
About the travelcuts FilmFest
2015 was the first travelcuts FilmFest and I’m sure there will be more to come. To learn more about it and to find out how you can plot and plan – with the help of my invaluable ‘how to make an award winning travel video’ tips – to be one of next year’s finalists check out the travelcuts FilmFest page. And I’ll see you at the FilmFest next year! I’ll be the one with the unicorn tattoos.
Travelcuts is an online Canadian travel company that’s been around for practically forever. They specialize in searching out the best deals in flights, hotels, all-inclusive vacations and tours, and, evidently, in hosting a crowd-sourced film festival that we’re all going to be finalists in next year. Happy filming.