phone taking landscape picture of bridge at night

Video is vital to your Marketing Strategy! So here are some easy tips to get you started.

Digital video is one of the most effective ways to captivate an audience and bring to life the unique features of an experience or destination like few other mediums.

By surrounding the viewer with the sights, sounds and motion of a place—and showcasing the experiences. From the landscape to activities, to cuisine, to locals—video can tap into the emotions of a viewer and spark their imagination. As such, video is evolving into one of the most effective forms of storytelling across the digital marketing landscape, and in no other industry does this reign truer than in travel.

YouTube data shows that travelers are spending more time watching online videos than ever before, with views of travel-related content up 118% year over year (YoY) since 2012.

Google shared some interesting figures on travel showing how consumers engage with video when researching and planning trips.

When it comes to trips and holidays, almost 50% of travellers use online video in some shape or form before they decide where to go on holiday.

  • 65% use video when thinking about taking a trip
  • 48% when thinking about the type of trip to take
  • 67% consult it when choosing a destination
  • 67% when choosing activities within a destination
  • 63% when deciding on accommodation within a destination

Now that you are convinced you need to produce more videos to promote your product, where and how do you start?  We are pleased that you asked….

Producing and uploading a video is super simple these days and just about anyone can do it. We almost always have our smartphones with us to quickly and spontaneously capture video content when an unexpected opportunity presents itself.

The technology that’s packed into our mobile smartphones and tablets that fit easily into our pockets and purses is nothing short of awe inspiring.

Shooting video on your smartphone is easy; but to produce something worth watching, we wanted to share a starter guide of tips which you can do right now to help you to take full advantage of your smartphone technology.

Not all of us are experts so we suggest that before shooting your footage that you look at what other people have done – get some ideas from the big end of town. Build a basic script so you know what you are aiming to achieve with each clip.


1. Clean the lens

It sounds silly and simple, but this is always a great place to start. It’s the equivalent of remembering to take the lens cap off a camera. It’s something so obvious that it’s often easy to forget. Before you shoot any video with your smartphone, make sure the camera’s view isn’t obstructed, and give it a quick swab. Moistened cleaning wipes are the best for this job, but a quick breath and your shirt will do the trick, too.


2. Check Storage and Battery

Before you start recording, check that your phone is fully charged, and you have enough memory on your phone, as shooting video takes up a lot of space and can chew up your battery life.  To extend the life of your battery while recording, turn off all your apps and switch your device to flight mode so that you don’t get interrupted with a phone call.


3. Check and select your Video settings

If you want to create a higher quality video you can adjust the resolution in your camera app settings. Most premium smartphones these days have a few different resolutions and frame rates to choose from.

Go to Settings, then Photos & Camera. Scroll down and under Camera, choose to record video at 1080p. This will take up more space on your phone, but your videos will look crisper! For those of you that have newer phones, 4K is amazing but remember it will take up even more space!


4. Manually set exposure and focus

Smartphones and digital cameras will automatically detect and adjust exposure and focus accordingly. It’s great for taking quick snaps, but ideally while recording you’ll want to have more manual control and lock these down so they don’t adjust and leave your footage over-exposed and out of focus.

This will often happen if you’re panning across an indoor scene (especially if there are windows!), so try locking the exposure on an area that gives you a good exposure for the whole scene. Manually setting the focus is also great when you want to get close to an object, and you need to tell the camera to focus on a particular area.

To do this, use the AE/AF Exposure Lock to lock focus. Frame your shot, then tap and hold your finger on the part of the image you want to stay in focus until the AE/AF LOCK appears. Tapping will also correct the exposure and colour balance of your scene.


5. Get Close to Your Subject

Rather than using the zoom, stand physically closer to your subject to ensure better image quality, less digital noise and better focus, since most smartphones use a digital zoom rather than an optical zoom.


6. Shoot horizontal, not upright

If you want people to be able to watch your video at full size on a monitor or TV screen, keep your smartphone horizontal when you are recording. Shooting a video clip with your phone upright will cause your clip to fight for space with two black bars on either side of the screen.

So, in the quest to shoot better video on your phone, start by keeping with standard video practice and shoot horizontally.


7. Use Classic Composition

Footage that is striking or leaves a lasting impression often makes use of composition rules that are designed to draw the viewer’s eye to a particular part of the scene.

A good one to start with is the rule of thirds, where you position a person or something of interest at the points where the lines of a grid would cross.    Find more about that here.


8.  Keep it smooth and steady

The latest smartphones have digital imaging stabilisation and optical image stabilisation to help create steady and focused videos.

However, to ensure the best quality and prevent blur, the key thing is to move the phone slowly using both hands, and lock your elbows into your body for extra stability. If you want to introduce some controlled movement into a shot, lock your elbows into your body, use your feet as a solid base and move the whole of your upper body – not just the camera. This will result in a smoother motion.

9. Play with height and angles

It is good practice to match the height of the subject when filming, such as kneeling to film a toddler. Generally, you’ll get better video when you’re at eye level rather than angling the phone up or down.

However, having said that, you can vary your shots by experimenting with different angles such as getting up a tall building to shoot wide cityscapes, or shooting up at a waterfall to emphasize size.


10. Good Lighting is Critical

Proper lighting has a huge impact on smartphone cameras because they have smaller image sensors and lenses. Try as much as possible to shoot your video in brightly lit areas. This will help avoid unnecessary shadows and grainy areas in your video.

For the best quality, shoot outdoors, but out of direct sunlight.  When indoors use good lighting whenever possible. Make sure the area is well lit and either faces a window or uses natural sunlight. Also, avoid pointing the camera directly towards a bright light source, but rather change your position and find another angle which allows you to still achieve the shot you wanted.


11. Mix it up

Although a video made up of a single clip might show what you intended, a video made up of many shorter clips often makes a more interesting watch.  Whatever your subject, think about what other shots you can get to complement your master shot, and add to the story.

It can be as simple as shooting your subject both from close up and further away, or getting someone to repeat a performance (like a cartwheel) a few times so you can capture it from a variety of angles. You’ll end up with better or interesting video.


12. Tell a story

Think about the things you like seeing in other videos: Delicious food, beautiful scenery, people doing fun activities. You want your video to tell a story and show the things that make your product, destination or event so amazing.


13. Keep the Mic & Lens Clear

Figure out where the microphone is on your smartphone and keep it uncovered and clear when you’re recording video.  Same goes for the lens, as fingers, hair or straps can often spoil what would have been great footage.


14.  Check your Audio

Bad audio or sound can ruin a great video, so the audio is just as important, if not more than the video footage.  It is very common to catch wind and unnecessary environmental noise that will compete with or drown out any important audio while shooting video outside. Therefore, it is advisable to shoot your video in a quiet place, with less ambient noise.

Try to shield the microphone from the wind, get as close to the subject if you are filming someone talking and be prepared to remove the audio later if its too noisy or unusable.


15. Slow Motion and Time-lapse Videos

Most smartphones come with slow motion and time-lapse features installed in their default camera applications. These are great at capturing some awesome footage, but there is a right time to use them.

Slow motion videos can be used to capture interesting movements that we skip with our eyes. Action shots are great in slow motion, but someone writing a message with a pencil might not be so interesting.

Time-lapse videos are great at capturing movement over a period. The clouds moving, the sun setting, or a people walking through a busy street.

To shoot in slow motion on a smartphone, open the camera app and swipe right on the modes listed above the shutter button until you get to “Slo-mo or Hyperlapse.” (In order to change how slow your footage is, you’ll have to go back out of the camera app to the main Settings page and change the speed there.)

To view the slow motion video, tap on it in your phone’s photo gallery or camera roll. Your phone will automatically slow down the middle 80 percent of the video. To change when the slo-mo or Hyperlapse effect starts and stops, tap the settings icon below the video, and then drag the little hash marks to the left and right.


16. Edit your videos

Sometimes a little editing is required to make your footage go from “meh” to “wow”.  Editing your video doesn’t require hours of work, as the edit can be as simple as trimming the beginning or end off a few clips and arranging them in a logical order.

Much of the editing can be done on your phone itself, so making use of free video editing software and apps opens more possibilities to enhance your videos. For iPhone users, iMovie is great and free, as well as Premiere Clip, where you can simply drag and drop footage in the order you want and trim them down.  Free apps for Android smartphones, check out Movie Edit Touch and Kinemaster. 


 17. Video Length

Don’t spend an inordinate amount of time exploring one particular thing. Keep the action moving and your audience interested by limiting your shooting time to around 30 seconds on any one particular scene. Most travel videos have lots of different scenes, which only last a few seconds each, and the total length of the movie usually should not exceed 2-3 minutes.


18. Add Music to your Video

Music polishes and gives a video a particular feel. It really can make or break the end product so finding the right soundtrack is CRUCIAL.

However, due to copyright laws be aware that creating an amazing video, only to have YouTube take it down because of a music copyright violation, would be so disappointing.

Unless you’re a musician or have the budget to commission and pay for original music, you’ll need to look for music that is categorised as Creative Commons, which allows artists to share their work by giving permission to the public to use their work. A few websites where you can find Creative Commons music are SoundcloudVimeo Music Store and Jewelbeat.


19. Upload or Share your Videos from Your Phone

When you’re happy with your end product, it’s time to share it! You can upload your video to either YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook or Instagram directly from your iPhone…
For instance, YouTube makes it particularly easy to upload videos directly from your phone with the YouTube app. Firstly, you’ll need to access the Mobile Set Up option in your YouTube account. That gives you a customized email address you can use to send videos to YouTube from your phone. All videos sent to that address will post directly to your YouTube account.


20. Remember to Add your Video links to your ATDW listing

Once completed, remember to add your video to your ATDW listing for more exposure.  If your video is hosted on either YouTube or Vimeo, you can add up to 10 videos by simply adding the URL link to your ATDW listings page.


In conclusion…. With the rise of live streaming and video services like Facebook Live, YouTube, Vimeo, Periscope, Instagram and Snapchat, it’s more important than ever to have strong basic fundamentals for recording video. You don’t need huge budgets to make a good video, it’s about the content people engage with. Video allows you to reach a lot of people in a very emotional way.  All it takes is a little practice…