Video recording devices have evolved quickly during the 21st century. Today it is easier and more affordable than ever to take a video of your travels. There are however still concerns about lighting, battery life, and data storage.
Motion pictures are great to capture animals, artistic performances and sport contests (if and where allowed – some theaters and stadium authorities have rather strict policies and do enforce them), or other interesting events. Overall if you want to capture the ambiance of a place you are at, a video clip is much better than just photos as it includes movement and sound. Video also allows you to record a, say, 360° view much easier than if you have a normal camera.
Half a century ago, it was possible to make amateur films on Super 8 reels which lasted a couple of minutes. The cost per minute was high, the film had to be developed before it could be shown on a projector and there was often no sound at all. By the 1980s, camcorders emerged on the market and video recording became more convenient. Video and sound was recorded on a tape; just connect the camera to a TV and push play to enjoy your recordings.
In the 21st century digital video became the norm and prices for the devices dropped quickly, and phones, tablets and other devices also got video recording capability. Digital video clips easily can be moved to other devices, freeing space on memory cards for new recordings; the battery level is pretty much the only thing present day video enthusiasts have to keep an eye on. In addition, compared to analog recordings, it's much easier and affordable to edit digital videos. Even an amateur traveller can now make a professional-looking travel documentary.
- Smartphone: Easy to carry, and high resolution with the latest models. Zooming, lighting and sound qualities are however inferior. Sensitive to damage from shocks and water. Battery time is limited.
- Digital still camera: Most of the basic automated point-and-click digital cameras now have some motion video capability, but at a lower resolution than their still photographs. A few can do HDTV reasonably well, although the audio is rudimentary at best. There is no photoflash in 'moving video' mode, so the photographer will need some other source of illumination. A tripod is also useful to eliminate camera shake.
- System camera: Good for zooming, and use together with a telephoto lens.
- Action camera: Small cameras particularly usable for extreme sports and stunts. Can often be fastened e.g. on the performers helmet and are often waterproof.
- Camcorder: Real video cameras are still available in many sizes and shapes from the huge things that professional crews use to pocket sized things.
- Drones are becoming more and more affordable to the general public and are often equipped with, or are possible to equip with video recorders. They allow you to take photos and videos from perspectives that regular photographers previously could only dream of. In addition to the regulations mentioned below considering photography, there are often additional regulations — varying from country to country — considering the drones themselves. To avoid problems with the authorities, do inform yourself about regulations considering drones (maximum flight altitudes and such) in the country where you intend to use them.
When recording video, keep the camera steady and move the camera slowly, otherwise it may be impossible to watch what you've recorded afterwards.
Remember that a minute is a very long time when watching video. Plan well before shooting unless you are going to do extensive editing – which is quite arduous. Also, if you will not be able to recharge your battery before leaving the area (say, you're on a daytrip to a national park) you should be careful with how much you use your camera. It's extremely frustrating if you can't record that stunning sunset over a canyon that you may not return to anytime soon just because of an empty battery. Bring a (charged) spare if you have one; best to recharge all batteries immediately before use, as some hold their charge poorly if left on the shelf for months. If you are away from a steady source of electricity for a longer time, solar chargers and "power packs" with a lot of pre-charged ampere-hours might be an option but will weigh you down.
Some people want to keep their video just as it is, others prefer to edit it to make it look professional or just for fun. Your operating system may include a video editing software, which usually include all functions a non-professional video maker would need. Alternatively, there are several editing applications available for free or for a fee.
There are a range of channels through which you can publish your videos online, the best known being YouTube.
Various software allows the editing and creation of digital video discs (DVD+-R or +-RW) on laptop or desktop personal computers.
If you have succeeded in shooting a really great video, just like for photos, there are amateur video contests that you could enter.
The string of expensive cameras around a voyager's neck is bait for theft or other crime; it also makes the traveller very visible as a non-local who may be targeted for various common scams against visitors. It's best to keep expensive or elaborate equipment properly secured and out of sight when not in use.
Rules regarding regular photography also apply to video recording, possibly even more so. If just taking a photo of something isn't allowed, then you shouldn't even think of recording a video of it.
Video recording is prohibited at some stage performances and spectator sports, for intellectual property reasons. At large venues where your outstretched arm may obstruct the view of those behind you, filming (especially if it's your flimsy Megapixel Smartphone camera in a dark space) is a certain social faux-pas and often just not worth it.
Also, when recording video you will be aiming the camera at people for several times longer than when you're snapping a photo, which makes the possibility higher to annoy someone if you're filming, say, a street scene. Recording persons without their express permission may be locally regarded as anything from a minor nuisance to a criminal misdemeanor or even an attempt at sorcery or offense to other cultural norms, so tread with caution and read up on your destination before hitting "record". In some countries there is also the concern that you might be mistaken for a spy if you chose to film certain things or locations. Sure that parade in North Korea is something you just gotta have on tape... But it's not worth getting accused of espionage for, so always ask.