How to Make a Holiday Highlights Video

How to Make a Holiday Highlights Video // Caylee Grey

One of my 25 at 25 goals was to make a mini video. I absolutely love these short clips and am so inspired by them. My sister is really good at this, and I loved the casual wedding video she made me. I, however, am utterly rubbish. I ignored this fact and planned for the video to be of our honeymoon. I practised filming when we went to the Allgau, and when we visited Berlin. This didn’t help at all, and I’m still awful. I use Windows Movie Maker because it came with my laptop, and it’s simple and basic enough. I can add my videos and music, shorten or speed up clips, and add text. I’d love to learn how to use a better program, but I will only try that once I can take better videos.

Since I am now the expert of holiday highlights videos, here are my top five tips:

1. Take a metric ton of raw footage
On honeymoon I ended up with 41 minutes and 1 second of raw footage. That’s 94 mini videos, and 5 gigs with my normal Nikon DSLR. I also took 602 photos AFTER deleting ones I don’t like, and it was the first time ever that I used up my SD card in one go.

Since I had also videoed approx. 60% of the space with cats, at least the 40% was a lot of time for me to choose footage from.

2. Wear makeup because videos do not have Photoshop
Since I was on holiday I felt as though I didn’t need to wear makeup, and I didn’t need to straighten my hair. This is a great idea if you’re not going to have proof afterwards. And videos are just so much more unforgiving than photos.

The mosquitoes at our honeymoon liked my sweet blood a lot. Especially in my facial region. So I have a lovely red face for the bits of the video that I’m in. My eyes are puffy from the lack of sleep (I wish this was risque, but alas, mosquito fault again).

The fact is, most people look better with makeup on camera. If you don’t, then you are a glorious unicorn, and can we please swap faces ?

3. Force someone to get footage of you
I have wonderful footage of T swimming in the Greek water, drinking a cocktail, playing with a cat, and general handsomeness. I have a video selfie, a few seconds of myself at the beach that I hate, and some feet. T hates using my camera because I’m so particular and moan at him when he doesn’t do it the way I want. I really should have shut up and let him do what he wanted so that it looked more like a honeymoon and less like a creepy girl stalking a tall handsome man.

In university, we’d take twenty photos of a friend, and then say “now me”, she’d take twenty photos of us, and the photo tag would continue. Don’t worry about being “vain”, the memories are worth it.

4. Choose a song that you don’t mind listening to in bits, and on repeat, for hours and hours on end
The one thing I did right in the video is the song. Top 40 hit songs are probably not going to work because you’d get tired of them quickly. Choose a song by a band that means something to you, or with words that mean something. The xx has a special meaning to me, and the song I chose is called Islands, so it was perfect for Greece.

It’s also really nice when the music matches the image. For example, when the music becomes gloomy, the footage is darker, or when the music changes tone, a new piece of footage comes on. I tried to do this and got it every now and then, but Windows Movie Maker is not the best to get things precise.

5. After four months, eventually export and walk away from the laptop without breaking it
In the end, as with most things, my perfectionism got to me and I gave up on my pedanticism. I realised that it was as good as I could get it, and that my future kids / parents / self wouldn’t care about anything other than what Greece and young T+C looked like.

Here’s the video in its gorgeous email-quality splendour:

Have you ever made a highlights video ? What lessons did you learn ?


  1. Wavatar says

    Caylee that video is pure awesomeness!! The water, the sky, the music! What a great adventure!

    I’ve never heard of this song or band.. Heading over to Spotify to check them out!!

    Mucho thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Wavatar says

    i LOVE it! Youve totally motivated me to try! My T always wants to take video but Im all weird about me being on video, but the results are just so fantastic, I think I need to give up and try! Thanks for sharing your tips! (Also, I have coughcough very high standards for photos and T just doesnt quite get it sometimes..)

    • Wavatar says

      You SHOULD. You should hone your skills so that by the time you get to your crazy adventure you will be a master.

  3. Wavatar says

    So glad you didn’t commit laptop homicide! I love it! Hubby did vids a lot in his old job. It used to drive him insane. 3 cameras each with 8 hours of paintball footage to be condensed into a 4 minute music video. Not that the paintball ears ever minded but you make up tip is an awesome one.

    • Wavatar says

      Ah I’m so jealous that your husb has video experience. I don’t think I could handle 3×8 hours of footage, plus paintball completely terrifies me so there’s that.

  4. Wavatar says

    Caylee, that was so cute!!! You did a great job on the video, and your explanation of the process was excellent. From this post I’ve learned NEVER to attempt such a video. I’m the one who took two months to do one week of my Project Life album. It would probably take me 8 months to make a video. PS. I have lots of photos of cats from Greece, too, and a far amount of Greek dogs.

    • Wavatar says

      Hahahaha, well yes. I don’t know how soon I’ll be doing this again. I wish I had have seen Greek dogs, just saw the cats and the goats. Glad to know that I am not alone in those photos.

  5. Wavatar says

    thanks for sharing the process Caylee! I am heading off on a big overseas trip in July and will be keeping videos in mind!

  6. WavatarRoos says

    I love the shots of your shadows on the sand and your wiggling toes :). I think you did a wonderful job! Besides, documented is documented (I am a perfectionist too but this has become my mantra). I have never made a highlights video but from the little videoing I have done, I know that I don’t have a steady hand when walking around with a camera. When I want to take footage of one ‘scene’ (like a sunset or waves hitting the shore line) I look for a level surface to rest my device on.

    • Wavatar says

      You are sweet, thanks. I agree with “documented is documented” and am trying to implement it in my life. That is fantastic advice about putting the video on a level surface. I do that often when taking photo, but didn’t think of it with a video camera. Will remember that when I make a video again.

  7. Wavatar says

    this is freakin’ fabulous. i need to get back on the video bandwagon….I did this when my older daughter was younger, but haven’t done it in years. it reminds me so much of scrapbooking–but with movies. i truly wish i had something like this from my honeymoon. or wedding. or just life. awesome Caylee!

    • Wavatar says

      Thanks, Heather. I’m kind of worried for what will happen when I have kids. I feel as though I will basically just have the camera video recording everything every second. I’m going to have to restrain myself.