For anyone who has read my book, Lookers into Bookers, you will know that I love incorporating video into marketing strategies. For me, it is one of the best marketing tools you can use (if done correctly).

These days, you do not need expensive equipment to create outstanding videos, as most smartphones now record 4k footage and can connect to devices that stabilise your shots for you, making them more cinematic. Check out one of my own family holiday videos during a bus tour in Barcelona below. I filmed this on a GoPro using their Karma grip which acts as a gimbal to stabilise the footage.

1. Plan ahead

When creating a video, you must first determine who and what it’s for. Is it for a social ad to promote your destination or product? Will it be used as an ‘itinerary video’ on a product page to highlight the experience you’re selling? Think about what the end goal of the video is. Think about the following:

  1. What do you want to produce?
  2. What results would signify success?
  3. What KPIs (key performance indicators) could be used to measure this success?
  4. Who is the target audience?
  5. How will the target audience discover and watch the video?
  6. What are the key messages that need to be communicated?
  7. Why are these key messages important to your target audience?
  8. When watching your video, what would you like the audience to think, feel, and do?
  9. How would you like your brand to be perceived?
  10. What product or destination do you want to highlight?

Ask yourself these questions and plan accordingly. To help, download our video briefing document to help you plan your next video.

2. Prep your team

Make sure your team know what is expected of them beforehand, as this minimises mistakes and wasted time. Allow your team time to prepare themselves as it’s usually the case that not everyone is super comfortable behind or infront of the camera.

Also, don’t have your team read off scripts. Notes or q-cards are handy but make it as natural as possible. Videos that are obviously scripted come across as disingenuous and cold. 

3. Take more footage than you need

Let’s say you are filming a 60-second social ad, you should try to film at least 5 minutes of footage, if not more. This gives you more options at the editing stage. It also allows you to create a larger bank of footage for later use.

Also think about cut away shots of your destination and experience. If you are talking to the camera, your audio could continue while other footage is showing. Mixing the visuals up like this makes for a more dynamic final video, which keeps your customers engaged.

4. Keep recording for longer

When filming your shots, especially sweeping shots of a destination or experience, don’t stop recording as soon as you get to the end of the shot you are trying to achieve. Keep recording for at least 10 seconds longer as this will give you more options when editing. This is also necessary when using transitions as you need that extra footage to take the transition time into account.

5. Use the rule of thirds

When you shoot video, or take a photo for that matter, think of the rule of thirds. ‘What the hell is that?” I hear you say. Well, imagine that your shot is divided into nine sections, using two horizontal and vertical lines. Position your primary subject where the lines intersect. This will be either on the left or right hand side of your frame.

For us humans watching video, our eyes will naturally be drawn towards the top right or left point so positioning your main focal point in one of those positions is best.

When you shoot video, or take a photo for that matter, think of the rule of thirds.

6. Film multiple takes

If you are speaking to camera, film 2-3 versions as this allows you to edit the best parts of each. It also allows you to edit out any unforeseen mistakes or someone in the background making gestures you may not have noticed. 

7. Use simple, straight cuts in transitions

Using many, crazy transitions in your video makes it look cheap. Look at modern filmmaking: straight cuts are the most commonly used transition. Use these to cut away to other shots and refrain from using wipes, spins, and any other zany methods.

8. Edit to music

Before editing any footage, select your music track first. You can purchase royalty free audio from Audio Jungle for around $30. Select a track you like and one that suits your target audience. 

Edit your footage to the beat of that track as this will give a more cohesive, professional look to your videos. Your music track should have a repetitive beat to it every 1-4 secords. Edit your cutaways to a specific beat. For example, you may have an adventure company and you want to produce an energetic video that fits with the products you offer. Cutting away every 2-3 seconds, to a sharp, upbeat song, will really help sell the adventures you offer! Below is a prime example of footage cutting away in time to the music. Notice how the footage cuts at the highpoint in the beat.

9. Film everything in 4K

Filming in 4K gives you greater flexibility when editing and also helps you futureproof your raw footage to a certain extent.

When you upload video to social or YouTube, the normal way is to upload in 1080p which is standard HD resolution. By filming in 4K, you can zoom into your footage by 200% without loss of quality, as long as your editing software is set to 1080p. This can give your footage the impression it was filmed with two separate cameras when you cut away or get closer to your main subject. I use this sometimes during The Digital Tourism Show.

It also allows you to cut to a close up when you are speaking to camera. This comes in handy if you screw up a line you just can’t nail it in one take.

10. Film in landscape 

Film everything in landscape. I know that since the advent of social media, we can film in portrait but this limits your footage to specific platforms.

If filming in 4k, as advised above, you can crop your footage with most editing software to suit the desired platform, be it YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram posts and stories. Below is a still from a video we shot in landscape and what it looks like in the main platforms and formats you can publish to.

Film everything in landscape. I know that since the advent of social media, we can film in portrait but this limits your footage to specific platforms.

Conclusion

My hope is that by following this guide you can create amazing videos simply by using your phone or devices like the GoPro without the need for expensive equipment.

If you can afford a professional then by all means do it, but I suggest that you mix this in with homemade videos as these can sometimes be seen as more genuine and honest.

At the end of the day, all the advice above is meaningless unless you have a good, interesting and engaging story to tell.

If you would like help editing your tour videos, or need further advice on filming, please do get in touch.

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