How to Document Your Travels Hands-Free

Sure, you've heard of a stress-free vacation—but have you ever had a hands-free holiday? Well, that's what happened when I visited Cuba last spring. Like any Millennial, I planned to document my trip with my smartphone, but I also had with me the ODC Studio Snapchat Spectacles.

For those of you not hip with the wearables trend, the Snapchat Specs are the latest piece of dorky tech accessories that Millennials “have to have.” Spectacles are essentially a pair of sunglasses equipped with a camera that records what you see.

A 115-degree camera lens produces 10-30 second dynamic videos that are downloaded directly to your phone. At that point, they're to be uploaded directly to Snapchat or saved to your mobile library.

I was psyched to try them out.

Not only was I in need of a pair of sunglasses, but I loved the idea of instantly being able to record from my point of view whenever I saw something interesting. After losing my phone, the specs were the only tool I had to document the rest of my trip. Spectacles have memory, allowing you to record even if your phone isn’t nearby.

So, how did it go?

Overall, I loved using the Specs. They were easy to use, recorded in HD, and offered a fascinating perspective. That being said, here are a few tips and tricks I learned through my experience.

#1. Use your hands If there's anything to take away from this post, it is that I highly recommended using both hands in every video. When the viewer can see that you're hands-free, it adds another level of interest to your video.

#2. Plan your story first, snap second I learned that the most engaging videos were the ones that fit into a bigger story of my adventure. Instead of creating one-off, random content, plan out the beginning, middle, and end of your video before you hit record.

#3. Film outdoors Spectacles work best in good lighting. They were perfect for wandering around Cuba—gazing at the bright architecture and old-school automobiles. Whether you’re exploring a new neighborhood while traveling or just grabbing some street food, Spectacles are a perfect way to capture any outdoor moments.

#4. The microphone is good, but it isn’t magical The microphone in the Spectacles picks up a decent amount of sound, but it's not "top notch." Be mindful of this so you don’t end up like me, trying to record a conversation with the Spectacles while driving in a convertible.

#5. Keep it charged Snapchat alleges that the battery life lasts for 100 snaps. In practice though, it seemed like those 100 snaps flew by. The Spectacles case comes with a portable charging station; my recommendation is to use it early and often.

All in all, if you can handle looking like a huge nerd to everyone around you, then Snapchat Spectacles are most definitely worth the investment. And if your day-to-day life isn't conducive to snapping, consider bringing them on your next big trip.

The author's avatar

Michael is a web developer with a passion for creative problem solving. With a background in physics and math, Michael enjoys working with data to design elegant and efficient systems. When not at work, he can be found rollerblading on the 606.

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