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Tips and tricks: shoot better travel videos with GoPro

Let’s face it, when it comes to travel and adventures, gone are the days when people would carry around their bulky dSLR’s. GoPro has now become the norm. It has dominated almost all aspects of travel and adventure videos and photos, given that it’s the most versatile and feature-rich action camera out there.

I have been into video editing for a while now and I wanted to share some of things that should help fellow Weekend Warriors who have limited resources capture, maximize their GoPro’s, and share their travels and adventures. These are all based on my experience so far and if you have some tips and tricks you can share, feel free to leave a comment below.

At the end of this post, I’ve also added some videos as examples.

Note: this is assuming you cannot afford to bring a laptop, an extra memory card, a spare battery, and/or a stabilizer (gimbal) on your travel

Before the trip

  1. Do a lot of research
    – This will allow you to figure out what mounts you need to bring and make a checklist
    – Read about your travel destination, there might be hidden gems in there
  2. Plan out how you want your final video to look
    – Visualize and make a story board in your mind
    – Once you have a visual story board, make a check list of the shots you want to take
    – Prioritize the shots in your list but also keep in mind that the best moments happen spontaneously
    – Watch YouTube videos for inspiration
  3. Search for a good song
    – There are many good travel songs out there. Sometimes the best travel songs come from indie producers/writers

During your travel/adventure

  1. Conserve your battery.
    – Turn off the WiFi and as much as possible review your photos ONLY when necessary
    – Set GoPro to auto-off after 5 minutes idle time (Settings)
    – Turn Quick Capture on (Settings > Rabbit icon)
  2. Conserve your memory.
    – Shoot only 10-15sec clips unless otherwise necessary (e.g. you’re interviewing someone)
    – Shoot at the proper resolution (You don’t need to shoot larger than 1080p resolution unless you’re showing this video in a super large screen).
    – Make sure to follow your check list
    – For time lapse, if you’re using a GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition, shoot using the video time lapse sub-mode. This way, you don’t have to store hundreds of images but instead, just one short clip. BONUS: you don’t have to convert them using GoPro Studio.
  3. Shoot at the proper frame rate
    – for slow motion shots, make sure to shoot at at least 60fps. Shoot at 120fps if available.
    – for normal shots, you can shoot at 30fps or 24fps.
  4. Shoot at different angles
    – try to avoid just taking selfie or “groufie” shots. Shoot from below, on the side, top, etc
  5. Remember the three W’s
    – Show your audience WHERE you are, WHAT you are doing, and WHO you’re doing it with
    – The main reason you’re taking videos is so you can share your experience, not your faces
  6. Keep your hand steady while shooting
    – This will come in handy during the post-editing time as you don’t have to stabilize so much
  7. Protune – on or off?
    – Protune comes in handy for guys who are serious about video editing
    – If you’re not that guy, keep this thing off and let GoPro do the rest

After your travel/during editing

Post editing is the hardest part. This is exhausting but at the same time rewarding. Try to finish editing within a one-week time frame after your travel, otherwise you’ll burn out and eventually not be able to finish the video.

  1. Watch all of your clips
    – Watch them one by one and make a list of your favorite clips, include the time interval if you want
    – Do not delete any clips just because you don’t feel or like them, you can use them later for fillers
  2.  Try not to make your video dragging
    – You only need 3-5sec of the clips you chose, depending on your music. The 10-15sec clips you shot should give you enough allowance to choose the best part.
    – CHOOSE ONLY THE BEST PART OF THE CLIP.
    – The best travel videos doesn’t have to be shot in the best travel locations, they’re just not dragging to watch/look at.
  3. Time your video transitions with the beat of your music.
    – This is one of the tricky parts, but if you are using a good software (I use Adobe Premiere Pro), this won’t be that hard
  4. Stabilize your clips
    – I use Adobe After Effects to stabilize my shots using Warp Stabilize filter.
  5. Apply color correction
    – Whether you have Protune on or off, it’s best to apply some (even minor) color corrections
    – Try not to over-do it though, I only apply curves and levels corrections

MOST IMPORTANT: HAVE FUN! 🙂

Software I use:
* Adobe Premiere Pro – video layout (transition), music layout, reduce speed, reverse video
* Adobe After Effects – stabilize, color correction, other effects

*Video credits to their respective owners

Published in GoPro Travel tips Videography