Lights, Camera, iPhone: iPhoneography for Travel Videos

Travel photos are great, but these days where viral video memes are the cultural norm a mere picture with the 900 pound Marlin you caught on vacation just doesn’t cut it anymore. When it’s all about the money shot, it’s time to shoot video. Thanks to cool new technology and iPhone apps, you can be on vacation and in the director’s chair at the same time.

There are apps that let you edit in the field (or stream) and slap it up on YouTube via your mobile device, all with the ease of a few finger swipes and a decent wifi connection. Just remember that your awesome iGadget has its limitations, particularly poor sound quality and a tendency for shakiness. So here’s a rundown on a few Apps that can help you turn your potentially boring travel movies into bite sized tasty morsels of travel porn.

High Tech, Lo-Fi: 8mm Vintage Camera

Hipsters know the best thing about cool new technology is how easy and fun it is to make things look old and crappy! 8mm is the video capture App that shows just how right they are. This app is excellent for recording video and adding that veneer of nostalgia with a selection of filters. It even lets you insert a well-timed film snag, a manufactured glitch that adds to the charm of the finished piece. There is even an 8mm HD for iPad version, should you have some “vintage” video from your old Flip or other camera that you want to spruce up. A bonus asset is that the 8mm App has one of the highest quality recorded sound capabilities out there (as good as it gets within iPhone limitations). If it’s windy or you find that you don’t need dialogue, just replace your original soundtrack with sound effects, or music from your iPod.Silent Film Director is an essential entry level app and not as old fashioned as it sounds. Its Pro mode has a user friendly interface and is perfect for assembling clips you’ve already shot and adding simple titles and a basic sound track. You can add or layer filters. Pimp your clip by altering the time line. Try speeding it up or slowing it down. You can also share/upload from within the App. Borrow Quentin Tarantino’s magic equation:

Cool imagery + hyperspeed+ ironic 70’s song = awesome

One key tip in making your iPhone videos: keep it short and sweet, 20 seconds or less. No one wants to watch your two-week vacation play out in real time. Avoid editing complex sequences (and alienating your travel buddies) with your phone. Think of iPhone travel films as video postcards, and aim for emotion and action over perfection.

Go ahead and pull out your iPhone and shoot. If you aren’t happy with what you got on the fly, you can always try to fix it in post. Rad apps like Cinema FXV can help you correct some exposure goofs and add cool special effects. That boring plane ride might be more interesting as a cartoon. This is the app that can make that happen.

Think that the jerky footage you shot is unusable? App it before you hit delete. Not to worry – that bumpy helicopter ride on an overcast day gets much more visually appealing once you slow it down and add the apps negative filter. You can put in titles and soundtrack together with user-friendly ReelDirector and you might discover you’re more talented than Michael Bay.

The downside to shooting on your lightweight iPhone is that it’s hard to keep it steady. If you’re a little shaky you may want to think about investing in a hands free mount . The flexible In Your Face Viewbase is a great option, or try the Joby Gorilla Mobile. These require a little more cash investment but are still a bargain compared to buying a serious video camera.

What if your vacation sucked? I don’t think there is an app for that. But you can learn from Indie Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and add the fun in post-production. You may not have his visual effects team, but with a few good apps out there to play with, you can turn that endless wait for room service into a fun ode to Mary Pickford in your hotel bathrobe.