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Videography Tips When Traveling Through Hillside Campsites

The outside, and in particular the topography of hills and mountains, presents some of the best opportunities for compelling videography and storytelling. Your trip to a scenic hillside campsite can, with the right preparation and planning, be the opportunity to tell a story through video that will engage with your viewers.

Moreover, when the events are planned, video editing is easy afterwards and it will come out as a self-narrative video. Let’s consider some of the advantages you’ll have for video storytelling in this landscape.

*  Scenery – It may seem obvious, but the star of your video will be the natural environment you’ll be travelling and camping in. Hills and mountains present clear opportunities for creating images that will stick with your viewers.

*  Drama – A trip to a hillside campsite, and the campsite itself, will provide opportunities to add personal drama to your video. The struggles you’ll encounter as you leave the easy topography of the flatlands for the hills will present many videography opportunities that you can take advantage of to shape your narrative.

*  Sense of place – While hard to define, there is a certain sense of place and space that hills and mountains convey to the viewer. Capturing the vistas and scale of where you’re traveling and contrasting it with the intimate environment of your hillside campsite can put your viewer squarely into the middle of the story you’re telling through your videography.

Considering your videography options and selecting shots to tell your story

To create a video about your trip through hillside campsites that truly captures the essence of your journey, you’ll want to ensure that you capture shots that exploit the advantages of the natural environment, while at the same time creating a narrative style that has continuity. This may take some advance planning and will need to take into account important questions about the resources you have available.

Will you be doing all of your own shooting, or will you have helpers available? Do you plan to capture all your shots in one trip, or will you be taking multiple trips to the locations in your video? Whatever the case, there are many narrative visual ideas you can use to capture footage that tells your story.

• Consider angles – Flat, mid-range, eye-level footage may tell the narrative of your travel and campsite, but over reliance on this can result in a boring visual narrative. Choose unusual angles to add variety. For example, while hiking to your campsite, place the camera low on the trail to catch shots of you approaching the camera or walking away from it. Or place the camera low, off the trail, at 90 degrees to your direction of travel and capture your feet entering and leaving the frame going right to left or left to right. For more interest, capture foreground material, like grass or undergrowth in the frame as well. Want a shot that really captures the landscape you’re travelling through?
Use a drone to capture an aerial view.

• Use POV or narrative shots – Let the viewer experience what you see at your hillside campsite. This doesn’t have to be only simple landscape shots – incorporate POV shots of tasks at your hillside campsite, like setting up your tent or building a fire. To let the audience know what you’re thinking, or to describe the action, consider narrative shots where you address your audience. A selfie stick with a Go-Pro style camera can make this a quick and easy process.

• Scout your locations – Many hillside campsites are associated with iconic and spectacular locations in the hills or mountains. If possible, scout the area you’ll be travelling through ahead of time to plan for these shots. If you can’t go there in person, look online for photo essays and descriptions of the area so you’ll know what features you want to incorporate into your video.

• Seek out the “golden hours” – Experienced photographers and videographers know that best pictures or footage is captured in the golden hours of morning or late afternoon. Plan your itinerary for your travels to hit the highlights of the trip at the best times of day. Think outside the box as well. If your hillside campsite promises superb sunsets, set up a second camera on time-lapse to capture the entirety of the sunset.

Plan ahead

There’s no worse feeling than being in the right place at the right time and having your equipment let you down. When traveling to a location like a hillside campsite, remember that you’ll be out of luck if your equipment goes bad or you don’t have the gear you need. Develop a spreadsheet ahead of time that covers all the gear you’ll need for the trip, and check off everything as you pack it. And when you make your list, remember to pack spares of essential items like batteries, backup power, memory cards, lens filters, and anything else you won’t have access to during your journey.

With proper planning for your story, your shots, and your gear, you’ll create the best opportunity to bring all the ingredients to your video editing table to create a successful and compelling video about your journey through hillside campsites.

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