I recently landed a job with three tour companies to explore the National Parks of the United States and capture footage in short travel videos. Knowing the road would become my home for the next three months, I bought an inexpensive RV (to save on accommodation costs) and set out on my journey driving south from Calgary into Montana.
I love the big sky country of Montana—the snow-capped mountains, clear streams, and the abundance of wildlife. But most of all I love the open road, setting my car to cruise control and drifting down the highway to my first destination with hardly a car or human in sight.
Before sunset, I like to find a beautiful spot to camp and make sure I’m prepared for the next day—meaning I’ve charged the batteries for the drone, my electronically stabilized steadycam, and the DSLR camera. I also make sure that all my SD cards are empty and ready to go.
I check out the weather for the next day and plan my itinerary. If the next day looks to be very sunny—turning to cloudy the following few days—then I try to film as many of the highlights in a National Park as possible by driving from location to location, shooting most of the scenery and panoramas in beautiful sunlight, which is, of course, what tourists like to see. If, on the other hand, it’s cloudy then I usually chose a scenic and interesting hike, since hiking under clouds still looks great on video.
Glacier National Park was my first destination, and, as it turned out, it was going to be sunny and beautiful. The scenery was absolutely stunning with snow-covered mountains and glaciers, pine-forested valleys, and rocky streams ending up emerald green lakes. I saw moose, elk, and marmots along the roads and short hiking trails by the edge of the lakes.
In the evening, I relaxed at my campsite with a view of the river and a glass of wine, reviewing my shots and planning for the day ahead. Some nights, I would even start a fire and roast marshmallows while a bluetooth speaker played my favorite songs.
After several days exploring Glacier National Park, I headed south toward Yellowstone to explore the marvelous geysers, colorful canyons, and abundant wildlife both on foot and by car. The colors of the geysers were simply stunning as were the moose, bison, wolves, grizzlies, and black bears.
The days were long and filled with so many impressions and visuals that it was hard to keep track of how much footage I shot. I ended up with over two hours of footage from Yellowstone National Park alone and another hour from the adjoining Grand Teton National Park. On days with less desirable weather, I would go hiking or explore the visitor center, local museums, or galleries. The Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyoming is well worth a visit—as is the Wildlife Art Museum on the way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
I enjoyed cloudy and rainy days as much as sunny days, since they gave me some downtime to catch up with chores like copying my footage from my SD cards to a hard-drive and then creating a safety copy—just in case the hard-drive broke or got lost.
Once in a major city like Helena, I usually indulged in going to a movie, eating out, and shopping.
I love road-tripping with a purpose and getting paid to do what I love–exploring nature, wildlife, culture, and going hiking. It’s an amazing lifestyle, and, after three months on the road, I equally look forward to being home again and following a routine while editing my material.
Take part in our travel video contest and earn $1000 for your travel video of 60 seconds or less.
Please find more details on the Great Escape Video Contest Page.
Learn how to get clients, how to get started, what you need, who to contact, what to say and how to film and edit. This comprehensive course will teach you absolutely everything, so you can become a part-time of full-time videographer.
Together with Great Escape Publishing I have now created a 7-part course on how to make money with travel videos. The guide includes everything from how to make commercial videos and plan video shoots to how to sell and get customers for your services.
I have been using this system for 10 years now and what started out as just a way to go on safaris and travel Australia and Africa has turned into a full-time profession that keeps me busy and generates reliable income.
I have now successfully used the same travel video concept to finance this upcoming documentary. Have a look at the trailer.
Here are some statistics on video marketing in 2017. The Graphics were created by HighQ and the original page can be found here.
Guest Blog by Helen Clark
Traveling is a fun hobby that millions of people enjoy every single year. Even though the internet has become an integral part of our lives, there are many people who do not realize the potential it carries and how you can use it to practically turn travelling into a passive source of income.
For example, if you are an avid traveler who wants to turn his or her adventures into an income source, establishing your own blog is a perfect way to achieve it.
Whilst you are on your traveling route, chances are that you are taking a lot of photos and videos and guess what? Those are the two most important things when it comes to establishing a blog that lures in plenty of visitors. Let’s take a look at what you could do to make those videos a way to make a passive income.
High quality gear
Many people believe that taking high quality video demands expensive equipment, but as technology improved, prices for different types of quality equipment went down. For example, getting a great 1080p DSLR camera will only cost you around $400-500 and a multipurpose lens around $300-400. This is a minor investment that is enough to get you ready for taking good quality videos.
Audio also plays an important part of video quality and viewer’s experience. If you are planning to talk in your videos, an additional budget of $50-80 should be more than enough to help you meet the standards. On the other hand, if you do not wish to speak, adding background music in post-processing is fairly easy.
Perspective of a video
Videography is something that you should start reading about as video styles are very significant for traveling videos. Different types of landscapes are presented better with different filming techniques, making it very important to learn a bit about videography.
Additionally, acquiring a smaller tripod is necessary as some shots cannot be performed by hands only, so make sure to pack a light tripod to make amazing videos. While you are on the scene, make sure to be as creative as possible and pick the frame, it will significantly impact the satisfaction of people watching your videos. Once you cover all the basics, you can start taking cool videos that audiences from around the world will enjoy.
Rare are the cases when videographers take a video that does not require any post processing. In the blog establishing phase, you should learn to retouch your videos on your own as you want to save money. However, once the blog starts earning some income, outsourcing postprocessing services is a great way to save time and focus more on ideas about great videos.
Picking a video platform
There are plenty of different online platforms. Basically, the two best choices are either YouTube or Vimeo.
The benefit of being on YouTube is being able to create additional revenue channel. Whereas being present on Vimeo is going to attract an audience which is more focused on high-quality videos. Creating a powerful community is very important and Vimeo offers that as a bonus.
So, next time you are at your favorite traveling location, take some videos and upload them online, you will see how easy it can be for you.
Convert Travel Videos into Blog and Earn Money
This is an article I wrote for International Living. It explains how to get started as a travel videographer and how to succeed. You can find a larger version here.
What you need to get started
I have now spent almost 6 months in Canada filming a documentary on Grizzly Bear hunting and it was all financed by capturing commercial videos for tour companies. I did not even have to do the editing. I just filmed the main National Parks and cities in Western Canada. I absolutely loved every day of it and it gave me a chance to complete a passion project of mine. To see how the journey went please follow this Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Making-Money-with-Travel-Videos-11063721103/
Filming in Vancouver
I am currently filming a documentary on Bears in Canada and I am financing it via commercial tourism videos. View the Facebook page for more information.
Statistics on Video Marketing for 2015
Statistics on why video will only grow in relevance for businesses:
78% of people watch video online every week and 55% ever day
59% of senior executives prefer watching video over reading text, when shown side by side
69% of marketing, sales professionals use video to market their brands and 31% are
96% of B2B companies are planning to use video for marketing purposes over the next year
Using the word video in an email subject line boosts click-through rates by 65%
Websites gain an extra 2 minutes of dwell time when using a video
52% of marketing professionals name video as the best type of content with the best ROI
67% of companies found video somewhat successful and 18% very successful
75% of business executives watch video at least weekly
80% of senior executives watch more video online than they did a year ago
Being on the road as a travel videographer is exciting and fulfilling.
Really, it’s just like being a tourist -- the only difference is that I’m getting paid for my experiences.
Naturally that also comes with some responsibility. If I’m visiting a city with a good number of attractions, then I try to visit all of them. And if I’m filming a museum or event, then I may have to organize a filming permit in advance.
Once I‘ve done my homework, the fun part starts. I often travel with my luxury mobile home for a sense of comfort and familiarity. I prefer this to waking up in a different hotel room every night, and I truly enjoy having nature around me.
Read the full article here.
How to Get Started as a Travel Videographer
Perhaps you are toying with the idea to try your luck as a travel videographer. You realized you have a camera that also shoots HD video and you are thinking to yourself that not only would it be great fun but also quite lucrative to create promotional travel videos for tourism companies.
So your first step will be buying a tripod with fluid a pan-head or simply adding a fluid pan-head to your existing photography tripod, which unfortunately does not work very well for smooth panning (so don’t even try, since it does not look great on a big screen!). Once you have a tripod with a fluid pan-head you can go out and practice your panning. Though you will also create beautiful video shots just keeping your camera locked in position and all your photography skills for creating compositions will come in very handy.
After you are confident that you can shoot stable images with smooth pans you will start to use video editing software. If you are a Windows user then you will have something called the Movie Maker as part of Windows Essentials. If you do not have it yet then you can download it using downloads.live.com If you are a Mac user then you will be able to use iMovie, which you can get in the App store if you do not already have it installed. Both programs are quite straight-forward to use once you know how to import your footage, trim your clips and add music as well as titles to your work.
You are now becoming more confident in your skills and you will contact a local business, such as a hotel or restaurant, and you will offer them to create a free video so you can practice your skills in a real-world environment. Once you have created a free video you then have a showcase video and a reference, given that your client was happy with your work.
Now you can go out and sell your services to paying customers. You will either continue to look for potential clients in your area or Google for tour companies that offer the kind of trips you would like to undertake. You can contact them via the phone and follow up with an email or you can set up a personal meeting. You could also meet your future clientele at travel exhibitions, which is a great place to meet your target market. You will choose small to medium-sized companies, since they are easier to approach and you will sell them the benefits of video. You will also convince them that you are the best person for the job, since you have very attractive prices and because you create very authentic videos. You can show your reference video to your potential customers and hopefully also show them positive feedback from your last client.
Most likely you will contact your potential clients a number of times before they make a final decision, so don’t be discouraged if they don’t say yes right away. However, if you have very reasonable prices, perhaps around 400$ per video, then they will make a decision very quickly. You will eventually increase your price and be paid as much as 4000$ per video. But you will have to work your way into that price range. As a beginner low prices will get you plenty of clients and plenty of practice so that you can build up your portfolio.
So there you have it. It is that easy. So what are you waiting for? Live your dream of living abroad and become a travel videographer to finance your new life in a fun and creative way.
As a big fan of Breaking Bad I could not pass on the opportunity of doing a Breaking Bad tour while I was in Albuquerque.
The following video gives an overview of some of the highlights of the tour and some important scenes from the show, associated with those locations.
I was asked to give a seminar on videography in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I decided to take another week to do a road trip from Santa Fe to Denver, Colorado. The following video is an overview of my time in the US.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Videography
What TO DO when your are filming:
Use your tripod
Level your tripod
Set your focus
Use slow and deliberate movements
Wait 4 seconds before making a movement
Check and clean your lens frequently
Record wide, medium and close-up shots
Record for at least 20 seconds per shot
Look for unusual angles
Try to use your manual focus dynamically
Use the rule of thirds, leading lines, symmetry and framing
Use shallow DOF to record subjects with a blurry background or foreground
Record objects in the foreground as well as the background
What NOT TO DO when you are filming:
Forget to use your tripod
Forget to set your focus
Film images askew
Try to zoom with your DSLR lens
Move too fast and without a clear direction
Record your own reflection or shadow
Take shots that are less than 20 seconds
Record with a dirty lens
Only take wide shots
Record without setting up your shot deliberately
Record less desirable objects (garbage bags, street signs, advertisements)
Film the heads of people
I am very proud to announce that together with Great Escape Publishing from Florida I have created a comprehensive 7-part course on how to make money with travel videos and to succeed as a travel videographer.
This course includes tutorial videos on everything from filming to audio and editing with a smartphone. I will teach you the basics of how to get started and guide towards become more professional. There are tips on how to sell your services and who to contact but also tricks on how to look more like a pro and get contracts.
You can have a look at what's included here.
Aerial shots are always desireable and make your production look so much more professional, but were so far above the budget of independent travel videographers. Not to mention the size and the quality of what was out there made it impractical to use one. Not so anymore! The new DJI Phantom 2 with Gimbal is small and light and achieves steady, smooth shots because movements are stabilzed and the results look stunning. Have a look at the following video to see for yourself.
Great Escape Publishing in the US has published the completely revamped version of the manual as a 7-part course, including tutorial videos, interviews, images and lots of additional and up-to-date information.
You can order the complete course on how to make money with travel videos here.
This is our latest travel video from Egypt,and you can find many more on this page, even though the voice overs were done in German.