Transform your ordinary vacation video into a cohesive, cinematic presentation by following these simple filmmaking rules.

Cover image via Flavio De Feo.

Vacation videos are everywhere on social media nowadays. You’ve most likely seen them before: a YouTube or Instagram personality will travel somewhere, record some footage, them haphazardly slap it all together to a Chainsmokers background song. It’s the same old song and dance. Thankfully, there are a few social creators out there that bring originality and vision to their travel videos. One of them is Flavio De Feo, a filmmaker from Rome.

In this article, we will examine his Salt Lake City travel video, which I believe brings a whole new level of filmmaking to the traditional vacation sequence.


Use Sound Effects Instead of a Background Song

In most vacation videos, there is a main soundtrack that drives the transitions and cuts. It may be fun to edit to a popular song, and while it has it’s place, using that backing track distracts from what you are trying to present. In Flavio’s video, he uses diegetic sounds to really immerse the viewer in the location. Whether that’s conventional room tone or the sounds of a lawnmower, the natural sounds draw you deeper into the video than a song would.


Connect Clips with Interesting Transitions

Transitions are the name of the game in vacation videos. Since you are trying to showcase many different places in one small package, transitions can make those changes in scenery interesting and cinematic. This video uses a variety of compelling flips and zooms to transition from location to location. Feo manipulates the speed of the clips in conjunction with a zoom to make it look like he is just panning the camera from right to left, but then it magically teleports the scene into a different landscape.


Consolidate Scenes with Quick Cuts

This is one of the best attributes of the video: it doesn’t linger on one shot for too long. Take the shot above for example; in what could have been a five-to-six second shot of the couple walking up the rock and embracing, Flavio consolidated the shot to about two seconds with quick cuts and color manipulation. He also uses camera shutter sound effects to simulate a photographer taking those shots in sequence. It’s the little details that makes this video so unique.


Record Compelling Footage

Now, one of the most important parts of an interesting video is interesting shots. A video with great edits and creative music is still dull if it includes boring shots. In the GIF above, you can see a selection of shots of a statue in a museum. What makes these shots so attractive is the movement — they pan from one side to the other, providing visual information that a two-dimensional shot wouldn’t be able to offer.


Color Grade Your Footage

One of the biggest reasons this video seems so cohesive is the color grading. Even though the shots come from different spaces and locations, the overall video maintains a single color palette, which brings everything together. The deep blues and muted reds in the video create a complete color profile that brings life into the sequence.