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What should you record whilst travelling? Quality vs Quantity for videographers.

We all want to come back off our travels and plug our memory cards into our computers and find an abundance of beautiful footage available to us from our shoot - that would be any editors ideal wet dream. Unfortunately, that rarely happens and there are so many factors that account for why that doesn’t happen but we can boil it down to one major factor and that is Time.

As soon as your feet touch the ground the clock is ticking. Every moment is an opportunity to record something that may or may not be used in your edit later down the line. So the big question we filmmakers need to be asking ourselves all the time is, how do I manage my time when travelling and filming? Do I shoot everything and hope that some of it turns out to be nice? Do I take my time (and use up battery power) whilst setting up the perfect shot and focusing on something with my edit in mind already? Those are great questions and we’re about to give you some tips that will help you on your next trip.

What story are you telling?

Always think about what story you want to be telling, with your shots. It’s easy to get lost in filming lots of random things but if you can start thinking of a narrative in your head whilst filming, you can start justifying what to shoot based on the context of the story you’re going to be telling in the edit.

The basis of any good story is about taking the viewer on a journey and the language of moving image is a vast world, so feel free to be creative with what you’re capturing and take your time getting a beautiful shot just at the right moment as long as you know that it will in some way be relevant to the story you’re going to tell. You don’t have to use that shot - but if it’s still relevant to the context, you’ll have more reason to use it.

When you’re thinking of what story you want to tell your audience, it’s important to think about the following:

What is the reward for the viewer?

An example of a reward for the viewer would be; some b-roll shots of hiking gear, some feet walking through mud and then finally (here comes the reward) the viewer sees the subject at the top of a hill or mountain with a vast beautiful view. So the journey is shown in the smaller details and the reward is shown in the achievement. Thinking about these things may help you decide what to record and how what you’ve recorded might end up in your edit later.

Are you telling your story using different perspectives?

You can tell stories from different perspectives and they all help add a certain sense to your video. If you want to give the sense of grandeur or you want to establish the location a bit better then, aerial shots are a great way to go. Drones are much more affordable now and the height you can get from them can really give you the perfect perspective.

If you want to highlight the unique elements in a location that really define it, then you should try using close ups. You can cobble together 4-6 close up shots of each feature and it’ll start defining that areas qualities. Alternatively, you can get even closer and start shooting Macro to accentuate the texture of those individual elements which takes the viewer to an even more granular level.

All in all, the quality of the shots you’re taking are much more important than the quantity of shots you take. It goes without saying that the more you shoot, the more choice you have in the edit but if you’re forward thinking about it, you’ll be getting quality shots and you’ll also have some time left to enjoy the journey without being behind the camera for the whole time.