Video on the Move: Five Tips for Travel Stock Shooters
Filmmaker and Adobe Stock contributor Rick Ray has two passions: shooting and traveling. He’s traversed the globe filming numerous documentaries, including the award-winning 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama. These days, Rick can be found on the road shooting stock footage. Here he shares his tried and true tips for capturing bestselling stock clips while traveling.
1. Do your research.
Before every trip, Rick dedicates time to in-depth research about the place he’s visiting and the type of footage he can get from said location. Part of his goal is to shoot the unique and often unseen, so his preference is to go to places off the beaten path. Once the destinations have been chosen, Rick checks Google Images to see what’s been photographed already, as well as other stock sites to see what footage is available for sale. He’ll filter by downloads or popularity on Adobe Stock to see what buyers are interested in, and get similar footage that’s likely to do well in the marketplace. He also looks for what’s missing, and gets clips to fill in the content gap and capitalize on the market.
2. Pack only the essentials.
Packing simple and light is one of Rick’s cardinal rules. He usually only has four items in his kit: camera, tripod, handheld gimbal, and drone. He chose a small but mighty camera that easily blends into the crowd but still shoots beautiful 4K video. Smooth movement is critical for stock clips, so in addition to a lightweight tripod, he also carries a gimbal. This allows him to capture steady gliding shots while he’s moving.
Lastly, for countries where drone flying is legal, Rick always packs a compact drone. Aerial footage is very popular on Stock, and it’s always stunning to get a brand-new perspective on a location that you can’t see with your eyes and camera alone.
3. Be flexible.
While a lot of time and preparation goes into planning his trips, Rick stresses the importance of being open to opportunities as they arise, and being flexible when one plan doesn’t quite pan out. Regardless of how detailed your plans are, you can never anticipate what you’ll find when you’re actually on location. “Sometimes I’ll have to hike up a mountain to one spot to get a shot, and it won’t be the right angle, and then I’ll have to hike down the mountain to another spot,” shares Rick. “It takes time, and it’s all really done on-the-fly — it’s not something you can plan down to that much detail in advance.”
4. Find the light.
Rick’s approach to shooting is light, fast, and fluid, so he doesn’t carry or set up any lights. He makes the most of available natural light. That means getting up early for the sunrise and being diligent getting the most footage in a short period of time.
5. Protect and enhance your clips.
When you’re constantly on the road, you never know if your luggage is going to go missing or stolen. Keep your files close, and if you’re flying drones, be sure to switch out memory cards throughout your flights. Even seasoned flyers are prone to losing drones — Rick’s lost four to date.
Before submitting the clips, Rick uses Premiere Pro CC to enhance them. He usually starts off with saturation and vibrance to ensure that his footage will pop on the page of search results. He’s cautious never to go overboard with distraction, special effects, or any other drastic alterations, as this can reduce their appeal to the editor. Remember that stock buyers are looking for versatile clips that they can mold to their style of their project, so a light touch in editing is recommended.
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