4 Steps to Success When Filming Car, Travel, and Cooking Videos

Preface: One of the great skills I wish I had was making professional videos. Anytime I go onto a website, I love seeing sleek and simple product videos. They convey something about the products that you can't quite capture with traditional photography. 

Jason is a great videographer whose work with a New Jersey Vanderhall rental company is stunning. Enjoy his takes in this article on four steps to get the perfect video for your product.

-Carson, Stadium Gear & Apparel

Interested in getting official Vanderhall Motor Works apparel and merchandise for the holidays? Check out Stadium Gear & Apparel's collection here: Vanderhall Apparel.

4 Steps to Success When Filming Car, Travel, and Cooking Videos

By Jason Weinpel

When I took on the project of making a promo video featuring a local motorsports rental company, I had so many ideas on where to start. The featured company, Elite SS Rentals, offers Vanderhall and Polaris Slingshot rentals, which are three-wheel motorcycle/car hybrids. You can rent by the day, weekend, or week. My challenge was to feature the unique characteristics of the Vanderhall and the Polaris Slingshot while also keeping the video fast paced, compelling, and short. How do you let a viewer feel the wind rushing through their hair without having the pleasure of actually driving the car? 

Below are some key tips on how I planned out this project to guarantee an organized day of filming and to convey professionalism to the client throughout. This is the general process I follow for all of my projects. 

Important Steps

The first step is to outline the main goals of the video as well as any individual parts of the company the client wants to highlight. It is beneficial to write this out before you start filming because it will allow you to have a strategic approach and use your shooting time as efficiently as possible. The key points Elite SS Rentals brought up for this project were:

  • Fast paced; feeling of adrenaline rush
  • Connecting with friends through driving
  • Unique experience

The next step is outlining a rough storyline, which equated to about 45 seconds of finished video in this case. My idea was to feature two friends meeting for coffee and to include cinematic shots of both while they were driving to the cafe. I knew I wanted to include some drone shots and I wanted to show specific details of each car. For example, I had my eye on the retro-inspired wooden steering wheel on the Vanderhall and the sleek tail fin of the Slingshot. 

Photo Credit: Juliana Anselmini

 Red Polaris Slingshot

After those essentials are checked off, the next key step is to create a shot list. For this, I write out every shot that I would like to include in the finished product, what section of the video it will appear in (beginning, middle, end), which location it will be filmed at, and any other notes or details. I recommend laying this list out on your own and bringing a specific vision to discuss with your client. They hired you for your experience and cinematic eye. So don’t be afraid to lay out a very specific vision and be open to their input or adjustments from there. Here is part of the shot list we used for the Elite SS Rentals video.

Order Section Location Shot Focus Camera Notes
1 1 Beginning House Buffing car with cloth while texting friend Vanderhall Gimball Tail of car at 45 angle. Cloud transition up
1 Beginning
Quaint gas station TBD Fueling while standing next to car texting friend Slingshot
Front panel of car. Cloud transition down
1 Beginning
Ignition turn on
Close up of key and steering wheel 


By doing all of the above regarding the shot list, it shows clients you are organized and professional. This list will also be your most important document for filming to make sure you don’t miss anything when moving from site to site.

After filming, I edit the clips and share a rough cut with my client. Then I make any revisions based on their comments. After we have a video we are happy with, I map out a plan for releasing the video on both of our social media and Youtube channels. It is good to have a centralized place where you feature all of your work, such as a Youtube channel.

Lessons Learned Through Experience

One thing I learned along the way is that you should get more footage than you think you will need. The shot list is all of the clips you absolutely have to get, but that does not mean you cannot film other things. Beyond the shot list, film all the “B-roll” you can think of. This includes establishing drone shots of the surrounding area if you have a drone, detail shots of the item you’re featuring, and any clips of your talent being natural. You probably will not use all of these shots, but you will be glad you have the extra flexibility when editing. 

Another way I have found success is by looking for creative angles to film a shot. The vast majority of footage you see is taken from eye level looking straight forward. Simply by crouching down or getting a higher angle can make a shot much more interesting and add some foreground variety. Don’t be afraid to get into the bushes! One of my photographer friends says that in order to get the best shots, you have to get a little dirty. During a project I am currently working on for a handmade candle company, I got a shot of pouring the hot wax into a candle - from underneath. I had to get down in a car mechanic-esque position underneath a pane of glass and shoot up from underneath while the wax was poured. After I had to dust myself off from being on the barn floor but at the end of the day, the shot was worth it! 

Photo Credit: Dan Grinthal 

All in all, planning out and filming a run and gun style short video can be a lot of fun. You don’t need the fanciest equipment or a 10 person crew. The best things you can do to guarantee a quality product are be organized, have a specific vision, and by all means if you are working with cool cars, get behind the wheel if you can! 

Jason Driving the VanderhallPhoto Credit: Tim Janes. Jason looks great in the Vanderhall. You can too with official Vanderhall apparel. Get some at the link here.


This is the video referenced in the article


To see Jason’s other work, follow him on Instagram @gimbal.and.drone. If you’d like to collaborate on a project for your cool car or business, email him at gimbal.and.drone@gmail.com. If you’d like to rent one of the cars for yourself in New Jersey, check out elitessrentals.com/

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