A few weeks ago Chris and I made a vacation video in the spirit of the viral one Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard made.
A lot of friends and family have asked us how to do something similar. I wanted to do this blog to help other couples or families or lone wolf travelers understand how easy this is to do with technology nowadays. I will also outline mistakes we made so that you don’t make them. Doing a video like this, because we are not celebrities, may never go viral – but it is awesome to have because how cool would it be to sit back 20 years from now and watch a fun video you made while on vacation? It’s a fun way to share with family and friends as well.
What you need:
- A cell phone, preferably two if you have a partner in crime
- A selfie stick
- A good song
- Video editing software
- Ready to have a good time.
- Also, check your ego at the door and be prepared for people to stare at you while on vacation if you decide to do some silly things like spin in circles or dance.
I want to start with one rule that I am glad we followed… Do not make your vacation about shooting a video. Enjoy your vacation in the moment! You do not have to take a ton of video for a 3-minute song. Maybe 9 minutes total in a whole vacation. It is a simple strategy we used – any time you want to take a picture while on vacation, do it. But then just hit the video record button afterward and do something fun into the camera. Or just film the scenery wherever you are. It is that easy if you choose to make it that easy. We only did one day out of five where we spent about 40 minutes shooting ourselves dancing on the beach – everything else was unplanned. When we wanted to take a picture we also shot 10 seconds of video, it’s as easy as that. So, with that in mind – here are the simple steps to make your video!
Tip number 1
Pick a song that sets the tone of your vacation style to use for your video. If it’s a fast-paced vacation or a relaxing one choose a song you feel fits your vacation style. Or just pick one of your favorite songs, because at the end of the day this is a video you will have forever. But be smart about it because the kids or grandkids might be watching someday!
Tip number 2
Make sure to download the song to your cell phones as an mp3 so you do not have to have a signal or wifi nearby to play the song. If you download it, you can play the song whenever and wherever you want. If you plan on doing any lip synching, you just hit play from one phone and record from the other.
Tip number 3
We shot our video on a Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung S6. But we made a huge mistake. Make sure both phones are set to the same video recording settings – like resolution, frames per second, etc. Chris ended up having to resize multiple videos from his phone that were not shot in HD and were not even the wide screen.
Tip number 4
Know your phone’s video features. We apparently had video stabilizing springs in our phone we did not have activated or engaged. And we also could have shot in 4k from both phones- we did neither of these. So, watch a YouTube video or two on video recording tips for your specific phone before hand.
Tip number 5
Set up a DropBox folder where you can dump all your video files in one place and label them for an easy way to find footage for when you go to edit.
Tip number 6
When you get back home, sit down and watch all your footage all the way through and make a list of the clips and time codes of each part you want. You may end up with more footage or less than you hoped but you can always add or subtract more clips from there or get creative with speeding up video in your video editing program to get more shots in.
Tip number 7
Make sure to lay down your audio track for the song first. Then match your video to that. It makes it easier to line up the edit and trim clips in time that way. Mute the audio on your video clips unless there is something you want to hear in the background under your music.
Tip number 8
The video editing takes longer than anything else when making vacation video. But don’t be intimidated by video editing- remember this video is for you. Chris, my husband, edited ours together and even though I have a background in television and gave a few ideas here or there, he edited the whole thing. His only previous video editing experience was green screen stuff he has done for clients through his company. It helps that he is creative and has a good eye for this stuff but the point is he has never done this kind of editing before, and he did great.
Even if you don’t have a computer – you can go to a library with your cell phone footage and use theirs, or you can download a video editing app on the phone itself.
Tip number 9
It’s hard to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. My recommendation is this: If there is a certain memory or video clip that you love – then make sure to make those nonnegotiabls in the editing process, LAy all of those favorites first – then fill in the rest with your other video clips. It’s much easier to cut the other stuff that is not as important to you.
Tip number 10
If you don’t have the time to edit video or don’t have that creative eye, hire someone to do the editing for you. It should be a simple handoff – since you’ve already shot all the video, picked out the song, uploaded everything to Dropbox and selected your must-have video clips already; that is if you followed these tips. It will be like a nice post vacation present to yourself, and you will most likely be totally happy with the result.
What we could have done better
- Looking back we should have edited less of us lip synching and maybe put in footage of us arriving on the plane and getting to the resort.
- We could have done more footage of the resort and island itself.
- It would have been cool to have another underwater camera or a waterproof case for the cellphones to shoot some of the fish in the water in the Bahamas. The place we stayed, Sandals Royal Bahamian, had a great little coral reef off shore with fish and even some sea turtles that would have been fun to put in the video.
- We wish we had set both our phones to same video setting in the highest quality and used the video stabilizers, but there is always next time.
We truly had a blast creating the video and I hope these tips help inspire you to shoot your own as well. If you have any other question feel free to message or comment and I will be glad to help!!