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Heading south of the border this summer? Across the pond? Or catching up with buddies for a road trip deluxe? Make sure your travel vids sound as good as they look, with RØDE's range of on-camera and iOS VideoMics. Here, we speak with three travel vlogging stars on their kit, their process and – if you haven't decided where to go yet – their favourite destinations for exploration and discovery.
SAM AND AUDREY
Sam and Audrey are travel vloggers with a passion for eating local cuisine around the globe. Their YouTube channel hosts a mix of city guides, travel tips, street food tours, travel vlogs and food videos as they visit off-the-beaten-path attractions and document their immersion in local culture. They have an incredible fanbase of over 130k and almost 35 million views on their YouTube channel, 'Samuel and Audrey – Travel and Food Videos'.
What is your RØDE mic of choice when vlogging your travels and why?
We've travelled with a few different RØDE mics over the years, but we are currently using the RØDE VideoMicro. The only adjustment we've done is swap the furry windshield for a foam windshield. This is our mic of choice at the moment because it's small and compact, meaning it draws less attention when we're out filming!
What process do you go through in post and what programs do you use to make your vlog audio sound great?
We edit our travel videos using FCPX and to be honest, we're usually quite happy with the audio quality, so we don't do any major adjustments aside from boosting audio when needed.
What are some of your favourite adventures?
Our RØDE mic has come on quite a few adventures over the years! Some of the most memorable trips have included trekking and staying in yurts in Kyrgyzstan, crisscrossing India by train, and eating our way through some of SE Asia's bustling food markets, but we've also used our RØDE mic to document adventures closer to home like family gatherings and holidays.
What sets you guys apart?
We want our viewers to feel like they're there with us when they watch our videos, and audio is a major component in bringing that story to life. Whether we're capturing the sounds of birds chirping on a forest walk, crowds cheering at a sporting event, or a city buzzing with people and traffic, it all helps immerse viewers in that very moment.
What advice can you give to someone embarking on their first travel vlog?
Don't let the idea of "not having the right gear" hold you back. We started making videos with an old camcorder and the most basic editing software, but we didn't let that stop us from getting out there, capturing the footage, and making the best videos we could with our skillset at the time. Just start making videos with the tools you have at your disposal and work on honing your craft.
Steve Yalo escaped a corporate existence to live a more exciting life and travels the globe in the dogged pursuit of a lifetime of adventure. Steve's YouTube channel, 'SteveYalo', is rapidly growing and has over 13k subscribers and 1 million views.
What is your RØDE mic of choice when vlogging/travelling and why?
The RØDE mic I currently use when vlogging/travelling is the VideoMic GO. It's lightweight, easy to use, and one thing I really love is that it's powered by the camera battery so there is no switch to turn it on. I tend to be a little forgetful sometimes, so there are never issues with missing audio from not turning it on. It came in a bundle when I bought my DSLR camera and I've been using it for a couple years now. But as I'm striving to enhance the quality of my videos, I'm very interested in upgrading to a more professional piece like the VMP+.
What programs do you use in post to make your vlog audio sound great?
I use Final Cut Pro X to edit my videos and while I put a lot of time and effort into editing my videos, I don't actually spend much time editing the audio. I sometimes make just slight adjustments to make sure levels are accurate, but the RØDE mics capture great audio and it doesn't really require me to put much effort into editing the audio.
What are some of your favourite adventures?
Around Southeast Asia. Some of my favorite adventures have been island hopping in the Philippines, chasing waterfalls in Bali, hitchhiking in Thailand, motorbike journeys in Vietnam, epic jungle treks in Myanmar, and simply walking around the busy streets of India.
Why do you vlog?
Travel has changed my life in such a positive way, and honestly, I'm motivated by the thought that I can motivate others. I believe that by capturing and sharing the sights and sounds of the places I travel to, I may be able to inspire others to travel and pursue the exciting things they're interested in.
What's you best piece of advice for an aspiring vlogger?
My best advice to someone who wants to start vlogging is to stop thinking about it and just do it. There is no perfect time to start, so why not begin today? You learn from experience and you're never going to learn if you never try. Stop making excuses and go for it.
Randy Alan describes himself as "a kid from the Midwest just trying to survive in Hollywood." His adventures around California have produced epic shorts, vlogs and scenic videos. Randy's YouTube channel has almost 5k subscribers and over half a million views.
What is your RØDE mic of choice when your travels and why?
My mic of choice is the VideoMic GO. No batteries, no buttons, and the sound quality meets my needs. When I'm traveling, the simpler the gear, the easier the experience (usually). There are always trade-offs, but that’s my general go-to.
What process do you go through in post do you use to make your vlog audio sound great?
Honestly, sound is what I’m least knowledgeable in, but I know how important good sound quality is, so I try to spend a decent amount of time fixing mine. From a general editing stand point, I keep the recorded sound on one track, music on another, and sound effects on another. If I do voice over, that goes on a separate track too. This helps me stay organized and I can adjust levels easily when I see what sounds are overlapping and competing with each other. I usually just do this in Adobe Premiere. When an audio clip has a lot of noise, I bring it into Audacity and just use the Noise Reduction effect.
I did a week-long California road trip where I documented the whole experience with my friends. That’s probably my favorite trip. And then last year I took a trip to Death Valley and my car broke down. Everything ended up okay and I got a great video out of it, but that was probably my biggest adventure.
What keeps you turning on the camera?
Being able to capture the moment and turn it into mine is what motivates me. I don’t know if that sounds selfish, but hopefully I can explain. We could all take a trip to Yosemite, for example, and see the exact same things. But each of us would have a different experience. We’d all come away from it with different perspectives (even if they were all positive). And that’s what is exciting about capturing the sights and sounds of these places. I get to turn it all into my view/my experience/my perspective, and share it with others. And when people can relate to it, it’s just a great feeling. That’s what’s so fun about watching travel videos for me. I get to experience how other people see the world.
Where should an aspiring vlogger start?
I would say if you have some type of passion, focus on that, and get really good at that thing. It’s easier to find a video on YouTube about a specific topic than it is to find a random person (even if you’re super cool and interesting ;) ). Get eyes to your videos because they’re interested in the topic. THEN keep them there because they like you and the content.