Cinematic Essential: Tips to Shoot Better Travel Videos

cinematic drone video lut

Let’s Shoot Better Travel Videos

Any type of video has its innate demands. Travel videos are not different and the demands are not typical. You could shoot a short film using the classic camcorder capable of recording a video at twenty nine or thirty frames per second, convert it to the more conventional twenty four frames per second during editing and you can attain a certain degree of professional quality. This is of course considering everything else including the quintessentially important lighting is perfect. Travel videos should not be shot at twenty four frames or even thirty frames per second. You can capture landscapes at this frame rate when you are stationary but not moving objects or anything when you are moving. Fast moving images tend to get blurry when you reduce the frame rate.

There are many such finer technicalities that you will have to learn and familiarize yourself with in order to shoot better travel videos. You must have the necessary equipment and that list doesn’t stop at a camera and tripod. It extends beyond the obvious as you would be traveling. You cannot capture everything, actually most of the sights, using a handheld camera at your eye level or one hosted on a tripod, regardless of the adjustable height. You must get panoramic views, you must have aerial shots and you should have moving shots that have you as the subject, not just nature or the various objects en route.


My absolute nr1 tipp: Get a Drone for Aerial Shots

Imagine a practical and viable way to capture aerial shots for your travel video. You may not be able to hire a chopper. It is an unaffordable option. You can use one of the many accessories that help you to hoist the camera at a reasonable height atop the car or recreational vehicle. This will get you some better views and even vantage points compared to your handheld position. Yet, the shots would not be as dynamic as the angles and maneuvers you can attain with drones. Fortunately, drones no longer cost a fortune, they are not unsafe in any way and controlling one is a breeze once you get accustomed with the features.

The DJI Mavic Series has some conveniently utilitarian and highly functional drones that would not burn a hole through your wallet. Many drones are designed to just fly, some are tasked to deliver goods and some are meant for racing. The Mavic Series is primarily aimed at capturing aerial shots. To get the best dynamic range of of your footage make sure to shoot in the D-Log picture profile. For post production you can get a free mavic LUT for D-Log which increases you editing time and gets your best and calibrated results.


  • Mavic Air, for instance, is a foldable and portable drone with a 4K ultra high definition camera using a 3-Axis Gimbal, 32 MP sphere panoramas, 3D environment sensing and SmartCapture technology. It has a flight time of twenty one minutes.
  • Mavic Pro Platinum has half an hour flight time with the same 4K camera as the Air. Pro Platinum is also capable of reducing ambient noise by four decibels. That is considerable when you think of organic sounds in the surroundings, including buzzes and swooshes.
  • Mavic Pro Alpine White has a range of seven kilometers and a speed of sixty five kilometers per hour for the more adventurous videos. There are other variants you can check out if you want to add some zing to your travel videos. Always make sure to fly according to the rules and restrictions of each country. You check check the Wikipedia article of your country to get the information needed for your area.

cinematic ocean dron shot

Capture Sufficient Footage using Different Styles

A drone will not only help you to capture aerial shots but you can also capture yourself, either in the car or out in the wilderness, whether you are stationed or in motion. Such shots add a lot of flair to travel videos. You may have certain preferences pertaining to the type of shots or perhaps the angles. Do not let your personal sensibilities come in the way. Capture sufficient footage using different styles and approaches. Cover all possible angles. You should actually focus more on the interesting angles and not the typical points of view. You never know how amazing a shot you might get, intentionally or otherwise. All these conflicting or contrasting, complementing and identical shots can be seamlessly blended into one amazing video during the edit.

Organic Sound and Holistic Viewing

Travel videos are essentially about a story, just as a travelogue is a literary retelling of a journey. It cannot be a simple presentation of facts. A video cannot be a sequence of images, even if they are motion pictures. There should be a narrative. This is not necessarily about narrating something or you becoming the presenter and explaining everything. Let the organic sound and a particular order of things weave their magic. Many people rely too much on narration and sound effects. Some people have a lingering background score. Nothing works better in travel videos than organic sound. It could be just the wind or some faux pas of your traveling companion, someone snoring or someone crooning horribly. Everything natural or candid has its own charm. You can select the best ones and use music, dubbed narration or background score sparingly when you can achieve wonders with organic sound. Facilitate holistic viewing to impress the audience.

travel drone lut

Jerks & Shakes, Falls & Weird Angles

You should use a steadicam and mount it on your shoulder or get a handheld stabilizer. You don’t want constant jerks and shakes throughout your adventure. This will spoil the video. However, there are times when jerks and shakes look organic. They add a distinct attribute to the frame or the shot. Your camera may suffer falls and you will have some shots from weird angles. No one is a perfect videographer. Do not dump all the shots or frames with jerks, shakes, falls and weird angles. You can always find some precious moments in these rushes. Use them wisely but only to an extent of sprinkling in a few and your video will have a unique flavor.


Travel Videos should have a Theme

You cannot proactively script an entire travel video. This is similar to forecasting and actually dictating all the fun you could have and staying away from everything unscripted. Be flexible to allow your story some organic twists but have a central theme. A video can be about adventure, fun, nostalgia, nature, revelation or wonder among innumerable other themes. There can be aberrations here and there but the video should largely adhere to the central theme.

cinematic drone video lut