Friday, September 5, 2014

Creating a Holiday Documentary

You have been looking forward to this holiday documentaries all year. Perhaps it is a first-time getaway with your new romance, a family holiday filled with excitement, or an unbeatable clubbing vacation with your best friends. No matter what makes your holiday memorable, you will certainly want to capture and store the details for years to come.

Traditional mementoes of a holiday tend to include photo albums, slide shows, and maybe a sea shell collection. These items can bring back plenty of fond memories for you, but what about the people you share them with?

Isn't there a more exciting and entertaining way to showcase your holiday adventure?

Holiday Documentary

A holiday documentary is much more than a home movie, it's a holiday production. By combining your vacation memories with this popular film format you will have an entertaining keepsake that your friends and families will love to see for years to come.

What You Will Need

The most important item that you need to make a holiday documentary is a personal camcorder. Any camcorder will suffice, even if you have to borrow one from a friend. Of course, there are also several reasonably priced professional-quality models on the market, should you chose to invest in a new one.

If you are using a digital camcorder, be sure to purchase a memory card. Most digital camcorders will record approximately 30 minutes of action; by expanding this time with a memory card you will be able to capture your day's activities with fewer downloads to your computer.

On the other hand, if you chose to record with a camcorder that uses tapes, be sure that you have plenty of extras on hand. Remember, you will be able to edit the content once you are home, so don't be afraid to shoot several hours of action.

In order to create the final product, you will also require a way to edit your film, The best option is a simple computer editing program that will allow to splice different scenes, and maybe even add voice-overs, text, and other special effects.

Planning the Documentary

One of the primary differences between a documentary and a home-video, is that a documentary follows a rough story line or premise. This means that your first step towards planning the documentary is to decide on a story angle. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

o Baby's Eye View. A family with a new member could create a documentary of their holiday from the perspective of the baby.

o 101 Ways to Eat. This documentary could centre on the holiday's food and include everything from purchasing food in a market to discussing cuisine with a famous local chef.

o The Best Looking Man. Girls going away on a clubbing weekend may create a documentary in search of the holiday's best looking man.

After selecting your topic, you should also create a brief outline of the information that you would like to cover. Of course, documentaries are very spontaneous and should be scripted, but it is still a good idea to have a direction in mind. For example, on a girls' weekend some important shots to include would be getting ready for a night out on the town, dish sessions over breakfast, and any exciting adventures that arise.


When you are filming live action, resist the urge to narrate excessively - everyone has seen the home video that includes a running monologue describing every event and item on the screen. Instead, keep your statements to a minimum and narrate only when it is necessary. This will ensure that the noises of the action itself are not lost behind your voice. Plus, it you are using a digital camera and a basic editing program, you will be able to add a voice-over narration later on.

Selecting what to film should be easy, as long as you have prepared with enough memory or film. Basically - film everything that you think to and edit later. You never know what funny or outrageous event you'll inadvertently capture.

However, it is also important to keep in mind that you don't have to capture every bit of the holiday on film - remember: you are there to experience it too! If something exciting or eventful does occur without the camera, you can always create a video diary moment where you explain the event on screen.

Creating the Final Product

Editing the final cut of your documentary is a fun activity that you will be able to enjoy after you have returned home from your holiday. First, think about the theme for the documentary and look at your initial outline. Next, reflect on the events that actually took place and select those that you would like to include in the film.

Remember, you have likely captured hours of film, but not all of it needs to be included in the final documentary. Include only those events that feed into your overall theme.

Now that you have a rough guideline for the flow of the documentary, use your editing program to select the scenes that you would like to include. Here are some other great additions that will help create a professional looking product:

o Title shot.

o Sound track (consider your favourite song, local music from the holiday destination , or significant tunes that fit each scene's mood)

o Cast list (you can put this either at the start or the finish, if your editing software allows it, consider including a photo beside each of the names)

o Scene Titles (if your documentary is a series of separate events, consider identifying them with subtitles)

Screening Your Documentary

Now that you have created your masterpiece, it's time to show it to the world. Next time that you have friends or family over, pop some popcorn and dim the lights to create a theatre atmosphere. Your guests are sure to love this innovative twist on the holiday scrapbook!