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Before You Make a Vacation Video

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If you’re taking a vacation, I hope you’re bringing your video equipment. With a small camcorder you can make a vacation video that will leave a big impression and big memories down the road.

Just follow this vacation video packing list and be sure you have everything you need.

Vacation Video Packing List Item 1: Tapes & Disks

If you use a mini-dv or mini dvd camcorder for your vacation video, make sure that you have plenty of tapes or disks. Sure, you can buy them on the road, but it’s easier (and cheaper) to have them all stocked and ready to go.

For extra convenience, label each tape or disk ahead of time (2009 Summer Vacation, Tape 1 etc.) This way, you’ll be able to keep them in order and you’ll know quickly which tapes have been used and which are still blank. Also, once you get home you’ll avoid the problem of losing track of the tapes.

Vacation Video Packing List Item 2: Hard Disk Storage

If you're shooting your vacation video with a hard disk camcorder, bring something so that you can offload footage from the camera when the disk gets full. You’ll either want some extra memory cards, or a laptop computer and external hard drive to which you can transfer the footage.

Vacation Video Packing List Item 3: Batteries

Make sure that you have enough battery power to get you through the day. You’ll be able to recharge the batteries at night, but when you’re out on a day-long adventure you may need a second or even a third battery to be able to do all the shooting you want for your vacation video.

If you’re traveling to a foreign country, make sure you have the proper current adapters so you can plug in the battery chargers.

Vacation Video Packing List Item 4: Microphones

When shooting your vacation video, you’ll probably just end up using your camcorder’s microphone most of the time. If you have any external microphones, though, it doesn't hurt to bring them along, as they could really enhance your vacation video. You can ask your tour guide to wear a lapel mic, so that you pick up everything he or she says, or you can give your kids a handheld mic so they can do news broadcasts from the sites you visit.

Vacation Video Packing List Item 5: Cleaning Supplies

A brush and a soft cloth for your lens will be indispensable while you're on the road making your vacation video. Use your cleaning supplies liberally to keep your camcorder clean and clear while you travel.

Vacation Video Packing List Item 6: Camcorder Bag

It’s best for your camera to travel incognito. It will be in and out of your car, and carried around from site to site. If the bag is obviously carrying a pricey camcorder, it will be more tempting to thieves. Instead, pack the video camera in an old backpack or some other bag that will be discreet.

Also, be sure to label your camcorder bag with a cell phone number or some other phone number that you’ll be able to check while you’re on your trip. That way, if it’s lost it can be recovered more easily.

Vacation Video Packing List Item 7: Other Accessories

If you’re really serious about your videography, you might want to consider bringing accessories for your video camera like lenses, filters and a tripod. These video accessories are helpful, but in my experience they mean that you’ll be spending more time making your vacation video, and less time relaxing on your vacation.

Remember, vacation videos are about preserving memories. If you spend all your time fussing with the video, that’ll be the extent of your memories when you get home.

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