How To Make A Travel Video: Mood

The How To Make A Travel Video series looks at the different aspects of capturing travel memories on film. You’ll see great examples to inspire and learn about the gear and techniques that help make great travel videos better. You can find the rest of the series here. With powerful camera technology packed into our phones and cameras, creating beautiful videos is now as easy for the amateur as it is for the professional. Just pull out your camera, capture some moments and weave it together to show the world the amazing adventure you just had. Now that everyone can make these videos, if you want yours to stand out online, it has to be a really compelling story or something that is technically well done. My favorite way for travel videos to stand out from the crowd is by using mood.

Carpathians by Boroda Cinema

In this travel video by Boroda Cinema we see a group of people hiking the Carpathians in Eastern Europe. It's pretty straightforward story wise, just friends enjoying a holiday, but what makes it stand out is its use of color, light (or the lack of light) and sound to create a coherent mood throughout. The lush greens of the mountains are obscured by fog and rain creating an immediate tension in frame. the grayness of the opening shots, juxtaposed with the green fauna immediately sets a calm, almost still vibe. Even though the light changes and we see more bright colors, this imagery can be felt all the way through the video.

Sound As Setting

From the opening shot we hear rain and wind, adding to the grayness and seamlessly intertwining with the opening notes of "Stay Alive" by José Gonzalez. Not only does the song match the gray and green tones in its somber composition, it helps push the frames forward. The one thing that stands out the most about the sound in this video is the use of natural sounds in certain moments to help layer and give a human quality to the film. After all, these are people on an adventure and the intermittent laughing, the sound of cars and boots slogging through mud really reminds us of that.

Using natural sound in video helps draw the viewer in and make them a part of the setting.

Intentional Framing

The rule of thirds is undoubtedly something that should be followed in film and photography, but when shooting handheld travel video, don't be afraid to mix up the framing for interesting shots. In Carpathinas you'll see a mix of people walking center frame, leading the camera forward and then quick cuts to people middle-left or middle-right, this intentional mix of framing keeps the viewers eyes on the screen because the action is not clearly focused in one spot. A balance of shots in the center, middle-left and middle-right can make even the most mundane video easy on the eyes.

Oh That Glorious Light

What I love about travel photography and video is that you normally don't have a light setup with you and you're at the mercy of the sun. It's a humbling place to be if you're used to studio work and can really create some beautiful images. As I touched on before, the opening shots of Carpathians use the lack of direct light to create a calming mood. When you're traveling, don't be afraid to play around with under or over-exposing your images, as long as you can weave together a balanced  mood throughout. Even though we have a mix of gray and bright images in the video above, the filmmakers helped bridge the two light sources by gradually bringing in the light. There's no jarring black to white jumps, but a casual stroll into the light. Use different light sources to your advantage to create a journey.


Creating a travel video is about capturing memories and helping draw others in your adventure. Using light, sound, framing and color you can really pull viewers into the world you just experienced, possibly sparking their interest in visiting the same place. Regardless of the quality of your equipment, Boroda Cinema used a Sony A7s II, these simple storytelling techniques can make your travel video stand out from all the rest.