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How to Shoot Travel Video Like a Pro

Sometimes a picture just doesn't capture enough. The sounds of glass clinking at a Paris sidewalk café. The graceful seduction of a couple dancing the Tango. With today's inexpensive flip cameras, even some cell phones, you can achieve so much more than just a two-dimensional image for your scrapbook.

With some simple, everyday tools and a little know how, you can add layers to your images that evoke the sounds, scents and feel of your experience abroad. Here are some useful tips to consider when shooting video of your study abroad travel internships:

10. Use a sun shade from your car as a reflector to better focus light on your subject. They're cheap and work great.

9. Look for affordable Fluid Head tripods, which allow you to smoothly pan shots like landscapes and crowds. You can find them for as low as $50.

8. Need a place to record voice-overs? Try a car – automakers have spent millions of dollars sound-proofing the insides of cars.

7. If you have a headphone jack on your camera, use it to listen for background noise your camera might be capturing as you record. Good, high-quality audio can make the difference between an amateur effort and a professional one.

6. When editing video, keep it simple and avoid fancy transitions. If you watch most professional TV shows, movies and commercials, you'll notice they use simple, clean cuts that last a few seconds at most.

5. Always shoot plenty of B-roll. When shooting on location, make sure to take plenty of 30-second clips of the surrounding scenery. You never know when you'll ever be in that place again, so get the extra footage to use between scenes and cutaways.

4. Limit your light sources. Whenever possible, try not to mix different lighting. Fluorescent tube lights have a different color temperature than more conventional bulbs. Most cameras have automatic white balancing, but it makes it tough for your camera to balance a mixture of light temperatures.

3. Avoid back-lighting in interviews. If you have a video light, use it to light the front of your subject as much as possible. Light coming from behind your subject will make your subject appear black or like a dark shadow. If your camera doesn't have a light, use a reflector (see No. 1) to reflect light on the front of your subject.

2. Have a plan when you pan. When panning (recording a scene while moving the camera in a fluid motion from left to right, or visa versa), have your starting and ending point in mind. Don't just pan to fit everybody into the scene.

1. Steady as she goes. Even though today's modern cameras have image stabilization, you should hold and treat your cameras as if it's very fragile. Hold the camera with both hands and try to roll your feet as you walk. Use your arms as shock absorbers Your audience will thank you later.

If you need a little inspiration, take a look at what some current CEA study abroad students put together this semester for our video contest. Got great tips of your own? Please, share below!
Read more about our CEA Content Creators.
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