Have fun with color.
One of the strongest tools professional filmmakers and photographers use to engage emotions and evoke moods is color. The Los Angeles Film School details some of the most common colors and their emotional or psychological triggers in film. But again, you don’t need a professional studio or closed set to unlock the power of color in your own adventure videos.
Outdoors, you can get some genuinely mesmerizing shots thanks to the beautiful scenery — however, you don’t have as much control over the color and lighting. The varying lighting conditions in exterior scenes can also affect how your camera recognizes and records colors. While you can always correct colors after the fact, start by working with your surrounding lighting and landscape to set the color palette of outdoor video.
Consider where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing, and plan accordingly. If you’ll be going skiing or snowboarding, wear something colorful so you and your subjects pop against the natural white, neutral backdrop of the snow. If you and your friends will be hiking in the woods, avoid wearing dark colors so your camera can capture everyone through the trees. When in doubt, consult a color wheel to find the best complementary and contrasting colors.
Don’t forget to look at the weather before you leave since it can alter the look you’re hoping to achieve. If you want brightly lit photographs, adventure on a sunny day, and consider clothing that reflects or absorbs that light accordingly. If you want softer light for more muted colors, go out when there’s some cloud cover. You can’t control the weather, but if you’re flexible, you can wait until natural light does what you want it to.
Create a personal soundtrack.
If you’re making a video, do you want to pair it with live audio from where you filmed? Or do you want to set the atmosphere with music? Perhaps you would like to add quirky sound effects, or even record narration. While there are no hard-and-fast rules to choosing audio, be intentional about it — getting the sound just right can make your video much more engaging.
High-quality audio without distractions makes it easier for viewers to vicariously adventure outdoors with you. Look out for wind, traffic, and other noises that can interfere with your sound. Be sure to bring a microphone to get the clearest possible audio, especially for dialogue. Take a tip from the New York Film Academy: You aren’t limited to capturing sounds that match your video. Don’t be afraid to experiment with contrasting or evocative sounds that can add extra interest to your story.
Decide if you want to capture audio and video together, or as separate elements using different equipment. It’s easier to record simultaneously, but any errors in your filming can impact your audio (and vice versa). Recording separately will require more editing in post-production, but it will protect your audio and video’s integrity.
As you get your audio together, think beyond the basics, like using music to set the mood for a scene or including first-person narration. Consider also recording ambient noises in your environment — like the distant sound of a train, the crunch of autumn leaves under your feet, or the slicing of your skis through fresh snow — to create an unforgettable atmosphere. Or try different formats, like interviews or everyday conversation, to add an element of interest.
Notice what sounds and audio styles pique your interest and let that be your guide.