How to take better holiday videos

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We’ve been so lucky to meet many talented people on the Sea Princess World Cruise, and two of them include the ship’s videographers Sophie and Waide, two film makers who are loving travelling the world and capturing the unique stories of each country we visit.

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They’re always out and about videoing events on the ship as well as the destinations we visit, and they interview and video our destination guides in action too.

They’ve put together fantastic videos for the Sea Princess Reflections DVD’s  which encompass many of the highlights of this cruise,  and have also created heartfelt Legacy DVD’s for passengers – which you can read about here : What will your Legacy be? We were interviewed for this initiative and watching the video still makes us cry – Sophie and Waide teased out much of our life history that we’d forgotten about, or buried under the day to day of life,  but which is actually poignant and meaningful and shouldn’t be forgotten. We felt enriched by this experience.

So who better, we thought, to give us some tips on how to take better holiday videos, than Sophie and Waide.

Sophie Misrahi from Brighton, England – Senior Video Producer

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This is Sophie’s fourth contract with Princess Cruises, she began on the Sea Princess in May 2014 and has been on various ships and itineraries around the world. Her highlights of her time with Princess Cruises are filming King Penguins in the Falkland Islands, shooting icebergs up close in Alaska and her recent trip to Machu Picchu on the Sea Princess World Cruise.

Waide Grunow from Durban, South Africa – Junior Video producer

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This is Waide’s second contract with Princess Cruises, he started on the Mediterranean run in June 2015 on the Emerald Princess. Highlights of his time with Princess Cruises are flying in a helicopter over the Panama Canal, Scuba Diving in the Caribbean and roaming the deserts of the Middle East.

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17 Tips for creating your own holiday videos

  1. Hold your shot for 5-7 seconds.
  2. Try to keep as stable as possible, if you need movement use your body instead of your arms – or invest in a tripod.
  3. Shoot a mix of wide and close-up shots, as you will need both when editing. Capture a wide shot of the location to set the scene and then focus in on the details.
  4. Shoot smart – it’s better to have fewer good quality shots than sifting through hundreds of useless clips.
  5. Use your light effectively, it’s important that your subject is well lit, so look for both natural and artificial light and position accordingly.
  6. Avoid cheesy movements like fast zooms. It is better to pan up and down or tilt right or left slowly.
  7. Think about framing – there shouldn’t be lots of ’empty’ space around your subject.
  8. The rule of thirds – position your subject in the first or last third of the frame to avoid a ‘snapshot’ feel.
  9. Shoot people. Providing you’re not being intrusive, locals will always add a personal and cultural feel to the video.
  10. Organize your footage when importing clips to your computer – split into different folders according to the occasion – include the date and location.
  11. For basic video editing, Imovie and Windows Movie Maker will suffice, allowing you to import, edit, add music and export your videos.
  12. Don’t edit two shots, that are similar, next to each other. Likewise, don’t edit two shots next to each other that include similar direction of movement.
  13. Music is very important. Find a track that matches the content and the feel you are hoping to portray to the viewer.
  14. Make sure you cut every shot to the beat of the  music.
  15. The key to a successful edit is to ensure the viewer does not notice any of the cutting involved. Shots should flow seamlessly into each other. Avoid obvious preset transitions.
  16. Keep each final video short and interesting. It’s better to have multiple shorter videos than one long tedious one! A good length is between 2-5 minutes, depending on the amount of good content you have.
  17. Build the story according to the subject, for example if you’re touring the Colosseum, begin with exterior wide shots and gradually move in to the main arena. Don’t give the highlight away too early – build up to it!

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You can contact Sophie at email:  [email protected] and Waide at email: [email protected]. I’m a guest of Princess Cruises but all opinions are my own.

Comments

  1. great tips. I think keeping videos short is vital. I think we’ve all had to sit through hours of other peoples holiday videos. I don’t think my camera video function really cut the mustard on our recent trip.

  2. What useful tips from the pros (and you)! Thanks for sharing~

  3. Great tips. I’ve to learn a lot. Just started with iMovie and figuring out how it works. It’s fun but it takes a huge amount of time!

    • So true Marcelle – it’s great fun, but woah it’s time consuming to get right. Access to good copyright free music is also a bit of a bugbear.

  4. Very interesting. I just had a TV producer friend here showing me how to use Final Cut Pro and I’ve given her and old stills camera to play with. She says she can cut a 30 second video in half an hour… gulp… I used to work with her in TV amnd we’d take 12 hours to edit 5 minutes!!

    Anyway, these are good tips and here’s hoping I’m bold enough to try something new.

    • It’s amazing how fast it can happen, hey Seanna. I guess the trick is to work with a great programme, make sure you have access to some cool copyright free music and then learn how to put it all together and just keep on keeping on 🙂 Look forward to your videos 🙂

  5. Some very useful video tips here like “move your body, not your arms”. I avoid video as mine are usually so poorly done and I’m not familiar with the editing tools. This article has inspired me to make more of an effort.

  6. These are great tips. We’ve been incorporating more videos in our work and I’m going to put this information to use.

  7. Thanks for this. I suck at taking videos. I normally end up taking them of my feet! It is yet another skill I need to learn. 🙂

  8. Thanks for the tips – To date I have only ever taken still shots for my blog but I got some great video of elephants stampeding on our recent trip to Sth Africa. It made me recognise the power of videos. We are off to your home state in a few weeks and I’m hoping to get a few blog/Facebook page worthy videos of beautiful Western Australia

    • Woah, Lyn, stampeding elephants would make for great video! Can’t wait to see your vids of WA soon – and let’s hope we can catch up sometime? Keep in touch 🙂

  9. Great tips there – Thanks Sophie 🙂
    I love watching snippets of video (as does everyone!!) but I tend to get put off actually doing it due to the time it takes to piece meal the story together – I can see I have to be more conscientious and patient as the end reward is worth it! 🙂

    • Video is something that I definitely want to come to grips more with too Linda. I think the effort is worth it – but as Sophie’s and Waide’s tips show, there’s a lot to be aware of in order to get a reasonably professional result.

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