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Companies want to sell more travel packages… and when it comes to creating commercial tourism videos, there’s one thing they’re looking for: emotion

They want videos that evoke emotions in their potential clients — emotions that make them yearn for a certain destination or a particular experience.

This is great news if you’re a budding videographer wanting to sell travel videos. What it means is that they are looking for someone who can capture and evoke those emotions, first and foremost. High-quality video and a professional varnish are secondary. 

Let’s take the example of Alyssa’s safari video from Tanzania, below. Can you guess what she may have done right and what she might improve next time?

What she got right

Did it make you smile? Did you want to visit Tanzania after watching this? If so, then Alyssa did a great job. 

For me, Alyssa did an amazing job capturing the essence of her experience. When we watch it, we feel like we are there with her. It’s not a “professional” video but that’s an easy enough fix. I’ll give her some tips below to watch for next time. BUT you can’t help but smile after seeing this and that means she’s on the right track. It feels very authentic. 

Telling a story is a big part of videography. Stories have a beginning, middle, and end. So should your videos.

Alyssa’s video does this exceptionally well. We arrive with Alyssa in Tanzania, go out into the wilderness by Jeep, and see Africa’s “big five” game animals. We get stuck in the mud with Alyssa, and we get to return at sunset with her before finally enjoying an African evening at the fire. 


As far as technique is concerned, Alyssa did very well with panning – that’s the side to side rotation of the camera during filming. She was slow and deliberate and she changed direction, too, meaning she didn’t just pan in one direction. This made her supposedly amateur video feel a lot more professional, and it’s something every amateur can do whether you shoot with a phone or professional camera.

In addition, she often simply holds her smart phone still without moving and lets us enjoy a particular moment by lingering on it. Her individual shots are long enough that we can soak up the atmosphere but not so long that we get bored. 

Her movements are generally slow and never hectic or confusing. 

She used transitions between shots, thus creating a nice soft flow throughout the video. 


She incorporated music into her video giving us a light, jovial sensation while watching her safari experience. Music is a must if you’re going to sell travel videos. I go into detail on this – where to find great music and how to add it into your videos — in my course.

What Alyssa (and you) could do better next time…

Alyssa made a couple of mistakes in her video but none so big that they can’t be forgiven in a client’s eyes. 

Some of them even add to the charm of the video. Potential travelers sometimes relate better to these more authentic videos than they do to polished, high-end video productions. These videos show a real tourist experience similar to one they can have. 

But if she wants to fix her mistakes, she could do it easily. Here’s what they are and how to fix them:

Vertical video

The first mistake was to hold her phone vertically, which meant she ended up with a vertical rather than a horizontal picture that didn’t fill her screen. (I blame smartphone manufacturers for even letting you create vertical video, since it is a natural reflex to hold your phone vertically. But until they change that, you should always remember to hold your phone sideways when filming video.) 

When shooting travel video, it's best to go horizontal rather than vertical

Do you notice how much better wide-screen video looks than the vertical image? 

Sound quality

Her second mistake was that she left in the original sound which was often just wind noise. 

There’s an easy option to turn off the original sound during the editing process. I explained how to do this yesterday, and I explain it in my course.

Shaky cam

The last mistake is the shaky video we see sometimes, especially when the Jeep is moving. In a moving vehicle, it’s tricky to use a tripod, but there is an amazing new technology that lets you film stable video without a tripod and even while walking or driving: an electronic, hand-held gimbal. You can buy them from just $125 for a generic version or you can get the higher quality Osmo Mobile for $299. 

With this handy device, you’ll never shoot shaky video again, and you won’t even need a tripod when filming with your smartphone. 

That’s it! It’s that easy to shoot commercial, professional-looking video that could earn you money on your next vacation, so get started with the challenge.

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