For the last 2 days of our trip, we stayed at the Aston Waikiki Beach Tower. It is directly across the street from the amazing beach we went surfing at. Our room had the most amazing view of Waikiki with a balcony we ate our breakfast, lunch, and dinner on. On the last day of our trip we spend the morning in our suit and just relaxed. It rained a bit that day, so the boys watched cartoons in their room, Eli napped in our room, and Garrett and I relaxed on the couch watching the rain on the ocean. It was so calm and peaceful, and will be one of my favorite memories from the trip.
I posted the first video from our trip in this post, and you can watch the video from the second part of our trip below. I've gotten a ton of questions about how I captured our footage during our trip and I listed 11 tips and answers to all the questions I have had at the bottom of this post.
our room at the Aqua Aston was literally across the street from the beach we surfed at! It was the best location!
this is the view from the master bedroom. we watched the sunrise from our room and the sunset from the balcony.
Cash was up with nightmares the night before we went surfing, but he popped right up and loved it!
this shot just melts my heart!
we got to visit our good friends Joy and Drew while we were there and Joy taught us all how to surf! If I can get up on a board, anyone can get up. I have the worst balance and thought for sure I wouldn't be able to do it!
I had .5 seconds to grab this shot and then run over and save Eli.
After I did my first recap post from our Hawaii trip with Part 1 of our vacation video, I got tons of questions about how I filmed the video. So for this second half of our trip recap, I'm sharing all the tricks I learned in order to get great footage and create a family vacation video like a professional...
1. Shoot the footage first:
When we would get to the beach or pool, I would always pull out the camera and film the kids first jumping in the pool or running into the beach water. Filming first thing will accomplish a few things- it will capture the pure excitement of your kids as they experience a fresh day by the water or new experience and not trying to cram in some footage after a long exhausting day when everyone is tired. You won't have to tell them to smile or act for the camera, because they will be already excited about the beginning of a new day. Tell them up front "Let me take some video first, then we can dig for shells and have a water fight!" Set the expectation that if they cooperate in the beginning for a few minutes, you will be able to give them your full attention and play after. If you wait too long to pull out the camera chances are you will be stressing the whole time that you don't have the footage you had hoped for, the kids will be tired and cranky, you will be covered in sand and worried that you will ruin the camera, etc.
2. Shoot with multiple devices:
We filmed our vacation videos with my phone, Garrett's phone, and our DSLR camera. Yes, I had to load all the footage from 3 locations, but it allowed for us to film as the vacation happened with whatever we had at the moment. The quality of iphone video is so amazing anyway, there isn't too much of a change in the video when it changes to different devices. Plus you can get more natural fun footage from your phone (like Garrett spraying the boys with sunscreen from this video)
3. Get a waterproof camera case (vs. buying a GoPro):
First off, even if you have a GoPro, I would suggest getting a waterproof case for your phone regardless. If will keep your camera protected from the elements and allow you to have it out, rather than hid away to stay protected. Also, back up your phone before you go! That way if something does happen, you won't lose precious phone info. I did a ton of research on GoPros before our trip and was pretty sure we would get one. But the more I asked around, I realized that we would get just as goo quality video on our phones. My worry was that the phone would get ruined...but with out covers, that problem was solved. We might eventually get a GoPro for future vacations, but a selfie stick and waterproof cases ended up working GREAT for us! (and I was able to snapchat under water...which was awesome)
4. Rent a lens:
I've been eyeing a few new lenses for a couple months. I decided to rent a 24-105mm lens for our trip rather than buy it at this point. The total to rent the lens came to around $120 for 7 days and that was so worth it to me. I got to really utilize the lens, make sure that I loved it before actually forking over the money for it, and I got amazing quality pictures!
5. Film things in short clips:
One major trick that I learned was to keep each filming session short. When you are filming it might feel like you need to keep the camera rolling for multiple minutes, but it will be a little slow and boring when you actually sit down and watch the playback. I tended to film in 20-50 second clips. That way it was easy to wade through which clips I wanted to include in the final video and condense those even further as I edited the footage.
6. Try not to stage your footage too much:
You want the happy smiles and bubbly kids...but you also want it to be genuine. There were a few times when filming where I would call out to the boys "ok, make the biggest splash you can!" but that was about it. When I tell them to smile, they usually make it super goofy and overdone...not authentic. You kind of have to morph into a spy and just wait for the real raw emotions before starting to film. And your kids don't always have to me smiling and laughing in the footage! In this video I captured Eli pushing his bottle off the table and then looking down like "where did it go?" and its so real and so cute I want to bash my head into a wall. A small snippet of real life that I will look back and bawl into a pillow when he is no longer a baby.
7. Add music:
You don't have to add music to you whole video...sometimes it so fun to hear your kid voices or what is really going on in the footage. However, I will say, when you are watching the footage back in your office..it's a lot less exciting that hearing it all when you were actually on the beach. One thing I am so glad I did was I had Garrett create a Hawaii play list. He loaded 12 songs that we love as a family right now and we played it during out trip. Then I had some of those songs be on our videos, and its just a perfect fit. Also, whenever we hear those songs in the future we are reminded of that particular trip.
8. Keep it short:
I mentioned it earlier, but keep our clips short. When I edit our videos, I tried to only add about 6 second clips at a time. And I usually keep our videos around 6 minutes. The boys like watching it over and over and you don't need too long of clips to be able to relive the fun you had. ( I just use imovie for those wondering. There are lots of great tutorials on how to use it and its very user friendly!)
9. Take turns filming:
You shouldn't have to be the one filming the whole time, and neither should your husband. If your husband hates taking pictures/video, then throw on some volumizing mascara and bat those lashes at him and make him get on board with helping to film. Because you will want clips of you playing with your kids and your husband! Especially if you are using phone, you don't need to be a pro to film. You basically just need to be a warm body behind the camera. Just make sure you tell him these expectations before the trip so he knows the kind of help you would like.
10. Start filming from the beginning:
Like..the very beginning. I didn't include this in my videos, but we filmed us telling the boys we were going to Hawaii. (we dressed up in ridiculous lei's and grass skirts and hula'd into the room to tell them where we were going. The ultimate dorky parents and it was amazing.) Film the boys playing at the airport, during the flight, walking into your hotel (usually those reactions were the best from the boys! They loved seeing their bed, bathroom, balcony, etc). If you get in the habit of pulling out your camera from the minute your trip starts, chances are you will keep remembering to pull out the camera. If you wait too long it might be easy to just leave the camera in the bag the whole time. What a shame that would be!
11. Load your video with the highest quality:
When I upload my videos I load them with the highest quality I can. Yes, a 4 minute video takes about 4 hours to render in HD, but now we can watch it on all our devices and the quality is as good as the footage. You won't go back and upload it in a better quality later because you don't have the time to do it right now. You just won't do it. Upload it right the first time and you can be completely done when it's loaded.