Travel Video Tips: What is an Establishing Shot?



One of the most important things about a travel video is telling viewers where you went!

establishing shot travel examples

An establishing shot does just that by showing a sign, landscape, or piece of memorabilia that tips people off about your location.

For example, think about your favorite sitcom.  Each scene begins with an exterior shot of a building, right?  The shot of an apartment building tells you the characters are home; an exterior bar shot signals that the characters are having a pint and catching up after a long day.

Why use an establishing shot?

It tells your viewer where you are.  This is especially valuable if your video includes photos from more than one locale.  You know that certain photos are of Madrid and others are of Barcelona because you went there, but your viewers may not know.  Let them in on the secret!

Take a look at how Tamara Lackey‘s video about her family’s trip to Australia uses establishing shots to help you keep track of where they went:

During the Trip

If you’re already in the habit of snapping photos of street signs or state border lines, then you’re in good shape!  If not, be on the lookout for visual cues that indicate where you are, such as…

  • Airport signs
  • Trailhead markers
  • State or country flags
  • Iconic landmarks

travel stock images


Forgot to snap one of the pictures listed above?  No worries, your video will still be awesome.  Just use one of these alternatives:

  • Take a photo of your plane ticket or metro pass
  • Make a title card in your video. It can say something like, “Next stop on our road trip was Niagra Falls…”
  • Use a stock photo or video clip from Animoto’s image library.  We have a great collection in our “Travel” category.

For more ideas, check out this collection of cool travel videos made by other Animoto users!