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It’s official – summer is halfway over, meaning a lot of people are probably feeling the summertime blues. The heat and sunburn are getting more intense, and any creative energy is bogged down by the humidity. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of seven summer video projects for every skill level.

Whether you do videography professionally and are just looking for a fun way to get your creative juices flowing, or you’re a total newbie to all things video and are looking for some projects to help get you started, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these seven summer video projects and get your summertime mojo back!

1. The Family Tree

This twist on a classic home video will make you the most popular member of your family. Interview as many of your family members as you can – try to go outside of your immediate family and talk to aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and any other distant relatives you can find. Who knows, you might even meet some family members you never knew you had.

Dig up everyone’s favorite family stories – how couples met, the day children were born, wedding fiascos, etc. – and capture the stories on video. Although it’ll be tempting to keep the subjects light, dig a little deeper for the sadder and more poignant stories about deaths, divorces and breakups. Edit all of the interviews together with b-roll footage that includes shots of the family today mixed with old photos and home videos from the past. This is a great video project for all levels because you already know who your subjects will be, and learning more about your own family’s history will be an extremely gratifying experience. Check out this article for a how to guide on shooting the perfect video interview to help get you started.

2. Video Confessional

This is a more personal video project that has countless variations. The idea is to share your thoughts and feelings like you would with a diary or journal, but in front of a camera instead. Make yourself a schedule of daily, weekly or bi-monthly confessionals, and after a few months have elapsed, edit together all of the confessionals into a complete video diary.

This project is bound to feel awkward when you first start, but don’t worry – it will start to feel more and more natural the more often you do it. This is an especially great project to pair with another photo, work or personal project because it will force you to check in with yourself and help you stay on track. Since this is a more personal project, you don’t have to feel pressured to post it on social media. But it will be something special and unique that you can share with your closest family and friends. Or just keep it private and watch yourself grow.

3. Travel Videos

If you have a trip or two planned for the rest of the summer, or even if you’re doing a staycation, travel videos are the perfect video project to dive into. This is an especially great option if you’re not interested in setting up interviews because travel videos can rely solely on b-roll and photos.

While you’re running around exploring the city, take a little extra time to set up video shots to document what’s going on around you. Get a mix of wide shots (people walking down a busy street, clouds rolling in over a city skyline, a bustling marketplace) and close, detail shots (a steaming pan of food, flowers waving in the breeze, someone finger picking a guitar). Then, edit all of your b-roll footage and images together to the beat of music. Travel videos are especially great for beginners because by shooting only b-roll, you’ll be forced to start thinking about composing creative shots for video rather than for stills.

4. Outdoor Adventure Video

Summertime means outdoor sports like surfing, skateboarding, mountain biking, sailing and so many more. Round up your most outdoorsy, athletic friends and shoot some video footage of their next adventure. This is a great opportunity to play around with that GoPro you and your friends never use.

Try using a camera stabilizer, like the FREEFLY MoVI M5 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer with MIMIC Control Kit for smooth, professional looking moving footage of high speed action. This works especially well for footage of skateboarders and other street sports. Your friends can show off their best tricks, while you shoot from the sidelines. Interview the athletes for a more personal and in-depth insight into their world, and overlay the b-roll footage over their answers. Talk to them about when and why they got started, and any struggles they’ve had to overcome. 

5. Documentary 

This might seem like an intimidating one, but don’t let the sound of it scare you away. We’ve all seen high-budget Netflix documentaries, but that’s not the only kind of documentary out there. Documentaries don’t need big budgets to be effective, and the final product can be as short as ten minutes.

All you need is an interesting and willing subject matter and a story arc. Pick something that will hold your interest, because shooting a documentary will take more time than the average short video. While documentaries can cover just about any subject, the best are often ones that include some sort of struggle, such as an athlete who is recovering from a serious injury while training for a big event or a family who just opened a new, experimental restaurant and is fighting to stay afloat.

6. Music Video 

We all know someone who wants to be the next big singer, rapper or front man of a famous rock band – and with your video work, you could help them get there! Anyone can shoot music videos; they just require a bit more equipment and setup than other types of videography. That’s why this is a great project to do with friends.

Round up some photo buddies, and set up a time to shoot your favorite local band or budding musician friend. Pick a good location where you’ll be able to record strong audio without a lot of interfering background noise. Set up one camera to record a single wide angle shot, while using one or two more cameras to record detail b-roll footage. Check out this article for more info on how to shoot a great music video.

7. Event Coverage

One of the great things about summer is that there are a ton of events happening all over the place: everything from art shows to street festivals to food fairs. Tap into your inner photojournalist and attend one of these events with the goal of capturing its spirit on video. You’ll probably spend a lot of time walking around in the hot sun, so bring only what you’ll absolutely need and pack it in a comfortable camera bag, like the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag.

As you wander the event, capture plenty of b-roll. Make sure you include wide shots of crowds milling about, landscapes of the venue, people dancing, as well as detail shots of food, art and the venue. Talk to the people in charge of the event and get someone to tell you about what’s going on in front of the camera. Make sure you set up your equipment for the interview beforehand, so that they’re not waiting around for you to adjust your tripod and camera settings. Ask about the history of the event: How many years has it been going on? What’s new this year? Why is it something they choose to work for? Talk to a couple of attendees as well to get their perspective and opinions.

The event will probably be loud, so make sure to bring a good mic, like the Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless System with ME4 Lavalier Mic. Any other mic without a clip-on option will likely pick up too much distracting background noise. Pitch your finished video projects to relevant publications, and you might just see your work go viral.

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