Vacation Video Tips

Vacations are one of the most important family activities and a nice vacation video can capture the event for a lifetime. With so much time spent at work, we all need some time away from the everyday hustle to experience something different with the family. So it is vitally important to have a great time and capture the memories for yourself, your friends, and your family. Anyone can make a vacation video, but the quality of what you create depends on how you go about shooting the video. So how does one set their travel video apart from all of the other videos out there? You need to use some of the tried and true shooting techniques while thinking outside the box to create must see videos that grabs your audiences attention.

Most vacation videos follow the same format. Travel to the airport or cruise ship, time at the swimming pool, time on the beach or riding some rides, and the return trip home. These predictable videos are better known as "snooze fests" by most professional videographers. To make an enjoyable video you must create some excitement and uniqueness that people will want to see in their travel videos. You must differentiate yourself from every other video out there with some unique travel video ideas. This can be done by finding ways to get the most out of your equipment, your environment, and your number one resource...your imagination.

Vacation Video Essentials

•    A Videographer is Always Prepared

Make sure you have all the things you'll need with you before you go. It may be hard to find replacement accessories while you are one your trip. Pack your camera battery charger, extra batteries, and storage media. If you are traveling overseas purchase an adapter for your camera battery charger. Your travel video ideas will add up to nothing if you are not prepared.

•    Get To Know Your Equipment

You need to know your camcorder as well as you know your wife...maybe even better! Awareness of your equipment's features and capabilities will help you enhance the quality of your footage. Bring your camera manual along. It may come in handy when trying to solve a minor problem.

•    Take Short Simple Shots

Never...I repeat...never, shoot long, drawn out clips more than two minutes in length. It is just amazingly boring! Take short shots of 10 to 20 seconds. This technique stops people from becoming bored and brings variety to your audience. Would you watch a two minute clip of the same action that never switches views or angles? If you answered no, then you shouldn't do the same thing to someone else. Practice being selective with what you decide to shoot. You could edit scenes out later but will you actually do it? Even if you do, creating shorter and better your footage from start creates less work when it comes time to edit your video.

•    Steady As You Go

Nobody likes watching shaky video footage. Use a light weight tripod when necessary. If you do not have a tripod, rest your elbow against your chest or torso to keep the shot steady.

•    Stay Off The Zoom Button

Yes we all love to zoom in on those shots to try to bring the action closer to the audience. Just lay off of it as much as possible. In other words don't get carried away with it. Use it sparingly for certain shots and that's it. people get carried away. When you decide to use the zoom function make sure to do it slowly. A slow, well-controlled zoom is much more professional looking than a quick zoom.

•    Who's Traveling? Your Family or The Scenery?

Make sure you are using your camcorder to capture your family. Many people want to take long drawn out shots of the scenery. You can get pictures off the internet of the museum or the marketplace. What makes your vacation video special is your family, their expressions, and the activities they are engaged in during the vacation. You kids will be all grown up in a few years. Now is the time to capture them as kids you you can enjoy them like this forever.

•    Where Are You At?

Look for a landmark, a sign or natural monument that tells the audience where you are. Yeah, I know I said to record your family, but this will be a "quick shot" to give your audience a sense of where you are and what journey you are about to embark upon during your vacation. Professionals do this as well. Remember that movie when the camera zoomed in on the White House before cutting to a scene of the President and some of his aids in the Oval Office? Try recording signs to help you remember the places you visited. Get some quick exterior shots of the places you visit like hotels, amusement parks, beaches, etc.

•    Change Your Perspective And Get Several Shots

Adding different perspectives to your vacation video will create interest and make your video more pleasurable to your viewing audience. Try different things like approaching your subject from behind them, above them, or circling them. Letting your children record some footage creates a different perspective as well. It can add a lot to your video and it is fun for them to see their point of view when viewing the finished project.

•    Create A Story

What makes your vacation stand out from any other vacation? Is this the family’s first cruise, your son's first plane ride, or is it your kids first trip to Disney World? Instead of capturing random shots of the family posing on a boat, tell some of the story behind the cruise. Capture shots of you surprising the family with cruise tickets. Record the expression on your parent's faces as you announce that the entire family will be going to their 50th wedding anniversary in France. Think before you shoot and tell a story.

•    Interview the Family

Another great way to enhance the story behind the vacation is to interview the family. Your four-year-old will only be four once. Ask him questions about what’s going on around him. Let him talk. Allow him to explain, sing, dance, or do anything he'd like to do in response to your questions. Interview your spouse, your friends, your parents, strangers you meet on the trip, and any other person who will allow you to interview them. Interviews are great ways to capture the moment and they tend to get a lot of laughs as well. A good interview will only add to the professionalism and fun of your vacation video.


There are several ways to create a great vacation video but we feel that these are the most important steps in the process. Use your own imagination and creativity to come up with some original ways to make memorable videos that you will be proud of watching again and again.

Return to our Filming and Editing Tips page.

Return from our Vacation Video Tips page to our Home page.