How To Make A 360 Video Travel Vlog In 5 Simple Steps!Aug 24, 2023
If you're getting ready for your next big travel adventure and want to capture cool and unique shots on your journey without missing anything, then 360 cameras really are the perfect choice for their versatility and ease of use.
To make a great travel video however, you're going to need to make some important shooting and editing decisions that can ultimately make or break your video.
So, i’m going to guide you through the five most important steps you'll need to follow in order to make a great travel vlog with your 360 camera. 👇
# Step 1 - Gear Selection 🎥
Step One is choosing the right camera gear to bring with you on your travels, and that obviously starts with your 360 camera. Right now, I'm using the Insta360 X3; however, there are many other great cameras out there, and no doubt plenty more to come in the future.
The next must-have accessory is an SD card, and if you're travelling, you're likely to be shooting a lot of clips, which is why I'd recommend one with a high memory capacity so you can capture as many clips as you like without ever having to worry about running out of space.
At an absolute minimum, I'd recommend this 256 gigabyte SD card from SanDisk. On the high end, you can go for the full one-terabyte version or choose any number in between.
To go with the camera, you will need a selfie stick, and there's no need really to spend a lot of money on this. In fact, the free one that came with the camera is perfectly fine. In fact, this is my selfie stick of choice when travelling or when I'm just doing day-to-day filming since it extends out to around a meter and the quality is also really good.
I know there's the temptation to buy and bring more expensive gear and selfie sticks, but when you're travelling, there's a higher margin for error and risk, which is why going with the cheaper alternatives is going to be a better choice.
Another fantastic accessory you'll want to consider for your travels is the power selfie stick, which has power built into the actual selfie stick, as well as recording buttons on the handle. This will extend the battery life of your camera by two to three times, which is especially handy on those really long travel days where you might not have time to charge your camera.
You'll probably want to bring a normal power bank with you as well, but that's optional.
The best 360 camera clamp is a great travel accessory because it basically gives you a lot of versatility for mounting your selfie stick to any place you like.
Another worthwhile accessory is the Insta360 quick reader, which allows you to insert your camera's SD card into it, and then it plugs directly into your phone, meaning you can edit your shots faster since the SD card's connected directly to the phone, which makes the app faster, and it also means your camera doesn't need to be on and draining battery while you're doing your editing.
If you're looking for a small camera pouch to carry your accessories, I love these Think Tank Cable Management bags, which I've been personally using for a long time. I think I bought these around five years ago, and they're such quality that they don't break. They've got this clear window so you can see exactly what's inside, and they come in multiple sizes depending on how much gear you're bringing.
Now, whether you want to bring more or less than this is up to you. They're not all necessary. At the bare minimum, you'll just need to bring your camera and SD card and a selfie stick.
# Step 2 - Pick The Right Activities 🏕️
Next, you want to make sure you pick the right activities for filming in 360 and knowing what is going to work well and what's not.
Since 360 cameras shoot wide-angle shots, sometimes this is perfect for certain activities where you really need that wide-angle perspective, and other times it's really not. 360 cameras are not a one-size-fits-all tool, and if you're focusing on anything far away in the distance and you want to capture it with any level of detail, then I'd still recommend using a phone or another kind of camera that has more resolution in one direction only.
I've just come back from an amazing trip to Queenstown in New Zealand, and when I was there, I shot with both my X3 and my phone because certain situations required one, and other ones required the other.
The kinds of scenes that work well shot with the 360 camera are ones where the action is close to you and the camera can easily see it a few meters away, or if you have an epic location that truly has 360-degree views. Both of these things have potential to make for amazing reframed 360 videos, but again, if you need more quality in one direction and the activities you're filming are far away, like if you're doing sightseeing or you just need a long lens perspective, then consider using your phone or another camera.
So when I went to Queenstown, I deliberately chose my activities to be 360-friendly. The first one was Milford Sound, which has truly 360-degree views.
The next was a bunch of fun activities around Queenstown where I knew the action was going to be close to me.
And the third one was Mount Cook, a place where you've got both 360-degree views and some great hiking shots to be had in front of amazing backgrounds.
# Step 3 - Shooting Tips & Techniques 📹
Once you've chosen the right activities to film in 360, next you're going to need to refine your shooting techniques.
Often when you're traveling, you don't have as much time to stop and think about what kind of camera setups you're going to achieve while you're there. You've got to be fast-paced and often make quick decisions. So learning how to adapt to a changing and unfamiliar environment is really important.
The most fail-safe way to do this is keeping your camera on a selfie stick. In the vast majority of places you visit, shooting with your camera handheld is a surefire way to capture both you and your environment to be used either in the same shot or completely separately.
And for the majority of shots, that is what you're going for, so there's no need to set up tripods, monopods, or any other kind of complicated camera setup when you can just keep things simple and shoot with a selfie stick.
My next shooting tip is to give your shots a sense of movement with either you moving through your location or capturing things moving around you. This will make your shots far more engaging and cinematic.
If you are capturing a travel Vlog where you're featuring in the video, then try to keep the camera close to your face. The ideal distance is between one and three feet, just depending on how prominently you want to feature in the shot. If you do want to feature prominently, hold it around a foot away.
If you want to showcase the background behind you, then by all means, extend the camera an arm's length away from you.
Also, if you have the luxury of time, then try a bunch of different angles. The first angle you shoot won't always be the best, so try the camera in a few different positions: in front of your face, at an arm's length away from you, above you, to the side. If you are at an amazing location, then it will definitely be worth capturing multiple angles so you can find the winning clip later on when you're editing.
I'd also recommend shooting as soon and as quickly as you can at certain locations because you never know when the weather's going to change. One minute it's sunny and blue skies, the next it's grey skies and bucketing down, and you have no control over the weather, but you do have control over how quickly you shoot. So don't wait around.
And that happened to me here at this amazing view over Queenstown, where I was able to capture a few shots while it was still clear. But literally 20 minutes later, a snowstorm started, and suddenly that amazing view became completely white. And to be fair, this can also cause some fun spontaneous shots.Sometimes your plan B, like here walking through the snowstorm, can add a fun and memorable element to your vlog.
Now, an effect I need to mention when it comes to travel is hyperlapses.
Hyperlapses look great in any location, but especially when you're travelling through amazing scenery. More often than not, it's going to look amazing sped up and reframed into a hyperlapse.
So I'd always recommend any time you travel, shoot at least one hyperlapse. To do it, record 360 video with your camera for at least five minutes, or if you want to give yourself more flexibility later on, you can go up to 10 or even 20 minutes. Then in the Insta360 app, speed it up to 16 to 64 times, add the motion blur effect, and voila, you've got an amazing hyperlapse.
I'd also recommend not shooting everything. While I was travelling, I did notice a few other people with X3s, and they all seemed to be filming everything that they were doing, literally every moment of their vacation they were filming. And I can only imagine the headache it would be to sort through those thousands of clips and hundreds of hours of footage to find a few good moments.
So I'd really recommend only shooting when you have to to make editing much easier later on.
If you plan on capturing sound and dialogue in your travel vlog, then the inbuilt microphones of most Insta360 cameras will be good enough. It's not going to be amazing quality, but it will be good enough, assuming you're not at too loud of a location.
If you do plan on talking a lot in your vlog, that's when you want to consider using the invisible microphone setup that can be achieved with most recent Insta360 cameras and the Rode Wireless Go microphone system.
If you want to learn how to do that, I go into more depth about how to record sound properly inside my 360 video 101 course, as well as hundreds of other shooting and editing techniques that I've refined over the years to help me create amazing travel videos in any and every type of location around the world.
# Step 4 - Easy Editing Workflows 💻
The next aspect you need to consider with your travel vlog is finding the best and easiest editing workflow.
When you're at home, you've got the luxury of a desktop computer and all the time in the world. But when you're travelling, you don't have either of those things. So to really get the most out of your edits, you're going to need to adapt to a mobile workflow.
Now, if you really want, you can bring a laptop with you. But to be honest with you, I didn't use it at all for video editing. This is simply because the Insta360 mobile app is so streamlined for mobile editing that there's no need to overcomplicate things and create a longer workflow importing files to your computer, stitching, exporting; there's just a lot to do while you're travelling that you don't need to do on a bigger device.
Instead, I'd recommend mastering the Insta360 mobile app, which has so many features, so many great edits you can do to your footage on the go that it negates the need for a computer while you're travelling.
So, the workflow that worked best for me was using my iPhone with the Insta360 quick reader, and that was perfectly fine for getting out some quick social media shots before I returned home at the end of my trip to edit properly on my computer. Although a great new addition to the app worth mentioning is that you can now export at 4K quality with a 125-megabits-a-second bit rate, which is great for maximizing video quality.
# Step 5 - Be Present 👁️
Step five, and this isn't so much a shooting or editing tip, but it's more of a trap that up-and-coming content creators find themselves in every time they go travelling, and that is becoming so consumed with content creation that you're not experiencing the experience that you're filming.
We've all done this before. "Wow, this location's so amazing, I need to get the money shot at all costs."
But in pursuit of the money shot, you don't take the time to be present and appreciate it with your own eyes. And often, that's why you go travelling, to have great experiences, to be present with new environments.
And while capturing your travels is fantastic, it's also important to know when to put the camera down and experience the experience instead of just capturing the experience.