How to create awesome travel videos on your iPhone
Whether you’re capturing holiday memories to show your friends and family or you secretly want to launch a career as a travel videographer, simply clicking the record button on your iPhone isn’t going to produce the kind of film that will hold anyone’s (except maybe your mum’s) attention, or show how amazing your trip really was.
Before you head off on your next holiday, follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to creating a movie that will do your travel adventure justice (and your audience will actually enjoy watching!).
1. The most important tip of all… make sure your iPhone has enough free storage space!
You don’t want to find yourself ready to film a beautiful sunset or the perfect wave, only to get that dreaded message on your iPhone – CANNOT RECORD VIDEO.
If you’re planning on shooting video while travelling, be sure to either clear your phone beforehand so it has enough space or set up your iCloud drive for extra storage.
2. Think about what you’re going to film
Think about the things you like seeing in other videos: Delicious food, beautiful scenery, people doing fun activities. You want your video to tell a story and show the things that made your trip so amazing.
Don’t forget to film multiple angles of one scene. You can choose the best scenes to use in your video in the editing stage but you can’t go back to that moment, so make sure you get enough shots while you’re there.
3. Frame your shot correctly
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don’t film with your iPhone in portrait! I know it’s tempting to hold your iPhone upright because that’s how you generally use it but think about how you’re going to watch your video later.
Whether it’s on a TV, laptop or YouTube, you’re going to watch it in LANDSCAPE. Turn your phone on its side before you film as you can’t change the orientation of the video after you’ve taken it.
4. Use a tripod if you want a professional look
You might think you have steady hands, but the camera isn’t forgiving when it comes to the slightest shake, and nothing says ‘amateur’ more than shaky footage. While some hand-held videos look good if done correctly, nothing gives that ‘pro’ video look more than a steady tripod shot.
There are adapters you can buy to use your iPhone with a regular tripod, or you can buy mini iPhone tripods, which are more practical if you’re travelling. If you don’t have access to a tripod just make sure you use both hands to hold your iPhone and keep your elbows close to your body to keep the camera steady.
5. Tap the screen to focus
There’s a little trick to your iPhone that not everyone knows about. To make sure your shot is sharply focused, frame your shot and then tap the screen on the area you want focused. The iPhone camera will then re-focus on exactly where you tap. This works especially well if you have a key subject you want to focus on.
Bonus trick: Tapping will also correct the exposure and colour balance of your scene.
6. Experiment with external iPhone Lenses
Achieving different effects with a variety of lenses is no longer exclusive to DSLR users. You can now attach a variety of lenses to your iPhone, including fisheye, macro, telephoto and wide-angle lenses.
Different lenses allow you to amplify your creativity and achieve a larger variety of shots. For example, to get that stunning landscape shot that doesn’t miss a thing, use a wide-angle lens, or to magnify a small subject use a macro lens.
7. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t zoom with your iPhone camera!
If you want to get closer to a subject, use your legs and walk. Zooming with your iPhone will make your video lose quality and become pixilated. You need to move closer to the subject if you want to a closer view.
8. Make your movie look really professional with time-lapse footage
A little bit of time-lapse footage added to your movie will definitely give it a professional touch. There is a time lapse feature on the iPhone camera (if you have the latest update) or there are some free apps (like Hyperlapse) you can download to capture time lapse easily with your iPhone.
The trick is to keep your phone still while taking the footage. Movement can sometimes look good with a time lapse, for example filming through the front windscreen when driving in a car. However, the general rule of thumb is to keep the phone in one place (preferably on a tripod) and let it film.
9. Be aware that your battery will run out quicker than usual
Make sure your phone is fully charged before you head out to video and/or get yourself a mobile battery pack (some of which also double as extra storage devices). Just be aware that your iPhone battery will die quicker when filming.
10. Edit your footage down to between 1 to 3 minutes
Not even your best friend is going to want to watch hours of your holiday footage. Most travel videos have lots of different scenes, which only last a few seconds each, and the total length of the movie is 2-3 minutes.
To edit your footage you can either import your video footage to your computer and edit it with software like iMovie, Final Cut or Adobe Premiere, or there are iPhone apps you can download so that you can edit your video directly on your iPhone.
11. Add music to your video
Nothing polishes up and gives a video a particular feel more than the music. It really can make or break the end product so finding the right soundtrack is CRUCIAL.
The thing with music is that you can’t just use your favourite song or band due to copyright laws. You don’t want to waste all of this effort creating your amazing video, only to have YouTube take it down because of a music copyright violation.
Unless you’re a musician or have the budget to commission and pay for original music, you’ll need to look for music that is categorised as Creative Commons, which allows artists to share their work by giving permission to the public to use their work. A few websites where you can find Creative Commons music are Soundcloud, Vimeo Music Store and Jewelbeat.
12. It’s time to share your video!
When you’re happy with your end product, it’s time to share it for people to watch! You can upload your video to either YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook directly from your iPhone.