HOW TO EDIT TRAVEL VIDEOS
5 ESSENTIAL TIPS
In a world where everyone and their ten year old niece is making YouTube videos, how do you make your travel videos stand out and be seen? How can you turn those hours of footage into something engaging and captivating? Whether you’re just getting started or looking to up your game, read on and learn how to edit travel videos that will interest, delight, and inspire your audience.
SHOOT GREAT CONTENT
A great travel video doesn’t start on your timeline.
Before you even hit record, you need to have a solid plan and final outcome in mind. Whether you’re creating cinematic travel videos, or vlog style pieces, getting the right shots to begin with is vital. So, what things do you need to consider?
If you keep all these things in mind when shooting, you’ll have the best possible material when it comes to actually cutting and editing your video.
USE THE BEST EDITING SOFTWARE
Choosing the right editing software, and learning how to use it, is vital to creating great travel videos.
If you’re serious about producing the best content you can, save yourself a lot of time, frustration and wasted effort and invest in Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X from the get go. I made the switch to Premiere Pro about a year ago, having tried numerous free and paid editing platforms over the years (Sony Vegas, GoPro Studio, CyberLink PowerDirector, etc.).
The difference is HUGE.
Not only is the actual editing software far superior, it is fast, reliable and efficient. I no longer break down in fits of rage when my software stalls or crashes, losing hours worth of work. I don’t have to painstakingly piece together my video, hoping it will look OK because the software is so slow and lagging that I can’t tell during the edit.
I also don’t need to worry about finding solutions to any problems that do arise – Premiere Pro is so widely used that there are a million tutorials and troubleshooting articles out there. I can resolve an issue in minutes, rather than hours, days, or in one maddening case, weeks.
I’ve learned the hard way that opting for budget-friendly editing programs ultimately leads to wasted time, effort, and money, while producing inferior quality videos. I encourage you not to make the same mistake!
So what happens once you’ve bit the bullet and signed up for pro-level software like Premiere Pro?
Learn how to use it!
Start with the basics, and never stop learning. Your aim should be to constantly build on your knowledge and editing skills, using new techniques to keep your latest videos fresh and interesting. A great way to keep expanding your know-how is through YouTube tutorials. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to create a specific effect, or just broadening your general skill-set, there’s a ton of useful info out there. Soak it all up and you’ll be well on your way to knowing how to edit great travel videos.
CHOOSE AWESOME MUSIC
Music can make or break a video.
Even if all the other elements of your edit are great, cheesy music will turn people off. Conversely, great music can capture your audience’s attention, draw them into your story and maintain their interest throughout. Choosing the right tracks for your travel video should be at the forefront of your editing process. It’s certainly not something to be slapped on your timeline as an afterthought. Opt for music that helps drive your story, the tempo of the tune complementing the mood on screen. Vocals can be distracting, so focus on instrumental tracks instead.
So where can you find this great music?
There are several websites and platforms that offer royalty-free or creative commons license downloads that you can use in your travel videos. Some are free, some are paid. My favourite sites for sourcing free music are Thematic and Soundcloud.
Thematic has a variety of music that you can use, as long as you credit the artist. You can create ‘projects’, which is handy for saving the tracks you like for future use.
Music on Soundcloud is not automatically cleared for use on YouTube, etc. You need to do your homework and find songs that are free to use. They’ll either be under an appropriate creative commons license or have express permission from the artist.
We personally use Artlist – you can get 2 months free on your annual subscription using our promo link (and we will too, win win!).
It can take time to trawl through all the options, listening to endless songs before you find the right one. But when you hear that perfect beat, it’s all worth it.
MAKE IT SNAPPY & INNOVATIVE
You’ve shot your footage, chosen the perfect music and imported it into your editing software. Now it’s time to finally make an awesome travel video.
If you want to keep your audience engaged (which you do, obviously) you need to keep your edit snappy and innovative. Your music and visual content should go hand in hand.
First, make it snappy.
Cut your clips to the beat of the track so that what you see and hear is perfectly in sync. Then mix it up so it doesn’t get predictable. Every so often, shift the rhythm of your cuts to the off-beat. If the tempo changes, reflect this in your edit. For example, fast paced cuts to match an epic beat drop, or a slow motion shot during a lull between beats. Your clips should be short and punchy, continually moving the story on. Long, drawn out shots are boring and your audience will quickly lose interest.
Now, it’s time to get innovative.
Once you’ve mastered cutting to the beat and creating a snappy pace, get innovative with other effects. For inspiration, look to other travel videos out there that you enjoy watching. Use these as learning tools. Pick a sequence or effect that you like and figure out how to re-create this in your own video edits. Keep it simple at first, developing your skills one at a time.
Set yourself achievable goals. Don’t expect to be editing something like JR Alli’s Egypt video straight off the bat. Some of the videos I love and have learned different techniques from are Because We Camp’s Thailand and Porto videos, Nico’s Seoul Cinematic and Guilin videos, and pretty much all of Brandon Li’s short films. Ultimately, your goal should be to combine various effects to create your own unique style – a style that will keep your audience coming back and wanting more.
DON’T FORGET THE SFX
If you really want to engage your viewer, drawing them into the heart of the destination you’re portraying on screen, then sound effects (SFX) are crucial.
So often this is the one element of otherwise great travel videos that’s missing. The absence of the right SFX can leave the audience feeling disconnected from what they’re seeing.
When we travel, all our senses are heightened, excited by new smells, tastes, sights and sounds. By incorporating real life sounds into your travel videos, you can convey those sensations and heighten the emotional response of your audience.
Great sound editing can be used to wonderfully dramatic effect, like in the Egypt or Porto videos mentioned above. As a viewer you feel like you’re there, experiencing every moment alongside the filmmaker.
That’s how powerful SFX are. But you’ve got to get them right.
You want your sound editing to be crisp and clear, enhancing your visual content, not distracting from it.
The best way to achieve this is by using a directional mic at the point of filming. Something like the Rode VideoMic Pro will capture the exact audio you want to focus on, and none of the annoying background noise.
Alternatively, you can find SFX that match your clips. Download them and line them up with the footage on your timeline. YouTube has an entire sound effects library, or you can search on sites like Freesound or Zapsplat. It can be fun playing around with different sounds. Layer them on top of one another and create the perfect atmosphere that’ll really bring your video to life.
HOW TO EDIT TRAVEL VIDEOS
5 ESSENTIAL TIPS
We hope you’ve found these tips useful for learning how to edit great travel videos of your own. You can connect with us on YouTube where we’d love to check out your work!
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