More than half of all travellers watch online video, according to a recent study conducted by Google & Ipsos MediaCT. What’s more 61% of those who watch video do so to choose the location they will visit. For travel companies video should be an essential part of any online marketing strategy. In this guide we will look at how to create a successful travel video that will inspire and motivate prospective travellers to book with your company.
Planning Your Travel Video
Select The Right Perspective
The starting point for creating a successful travel video is to choose your perspective. If you are are appealing to seasoned travellers your perspective might be that of the insider enlightening the audience on the hidden gems the could visit at that location.
Conversely, you might decide to take on the perspective of a first time tourist who will be more interested in seeing the well known sights. Examples might include fulfilling their wish list of visiting the top of the Eiffel Tower or taking a gondola ride in Venice.
Determine What You Are Selling
Next, think carefully about what it is you are actually try to sell with the video. You aren’t selling a coach trip, a plane ticket or accommodation, you’re selling a dream. You are selling the idea of travel, a dream with it’s own romance and imagery. You want the prospective traveller to get excited about the place that they are going to visit. The video should be a sensory experience which puts the viewer into that place that they are going to visit, so that they get a sense of what they will smell, feel, and touch.
Pre-sell Travel Experiences And Stories
When done well a travel video appeals to people at a very basic level. Travel is one of those things that we dream of when we are children. When we grow up we imagine we will travel the world, experience exotic cultures and meet different people.
Food is another big reason why people choose to travel. Culinary experiences are one of those things that people will reminisce and talk about when they come back home.
When planning a travel video think about the kind of stories that people will want to tell when they come back home. Then use your video to pre-sell them those stories. Show the stories of travellers meeting locals, finding those hidden gems, and experiencing amazing cuisine.
Deliver A Sensory Experience
Capturing the shots required to create that sensory experience is only part of the puzzle. During editing shots need to be carefully grouped together.
For example, you might put together shots of someone touching something, then feature then their hand running along a rustic brick wall from the sixteenth century, followed by them smelling roses in a beautiful flower garden in Florence.
Showing A Journey Of Self Discovery
People travel not only to discover new things but also to discover more about themselves. You can create a sense of this self-discovery in how you portray your subjects. Featuring people pausing, reflecting, thinking, drawing and writing are all ways that this can be accomplished. Showing the things that people don’t have the time for in the hustle and bustle of everyday life is an excellent way of creating the dream of travel.
Using Sound Design To Heighten Emotion
The reason that videos is such an effective medium for instilling certain feelings is because it is a multisensory experience. Visuals are only one element of this sensory experience, with sound playing an equally important role. We can heighten the emotions that we are aiming to create through careful sound design.
How To Select The Right Size Crew For Shooting Travel Videos
Small and large crews both have their unique advantages and disadvantages. A large crew can take a lot of additional equipment like lights and cinematic cameras which require a separate person to pull the focus. Using a large crew, and the equipment that comes with them, allows you to achieve some truly stunning shots. The downside is that the total number of shots that you are likely to get will be limited. With a complex camera setup it can be a ten minute job just to change the lens.
A smaller crew will not be able to carry the same amount of equipment but can make up with this in speed, flexibility and the amount of footage that can be captured. Using small documentary style cameras you can achieve a huge number of shots over the course of a shooting day. This really allows you to maximise the amount of material you have available from your shoot.
Making sure that you capture a sufficient amount of material is something that needs to be carefully considered. Sending a crew to a foreign location can be expensive, as both the crew and equipment, will need to be transported. By bringing back a large amount of raw material you will in turn have a lot of footage that can be turned into the final videos.
Stock Footage vs Shooting On Location
When making a travel video one option is to use stock footage rather than capturing live material. However, this option needs to be carefully considered before being as their are real disadvantages to choosing stock footage that you need to be aware of.
Firstly, when shooting new footage you can place the travel company’s logo into the shot itself in a way which is unobtrusive but still builds brand awareness. Overlaying this onto stock footage can be significantly more obtrusive to the viewer.
Secondly, many travel companies will source stock footage from the same libraries. By using stock footage you run the risk of using the same shots which are found in your competitors videos. This can leave the video feeling disingenuous and thus undermining the intent of your video. When people purchase a holiday they want to have an individual, unique experience. The video is an important part of creating that sense of a unique experience.
Thirdly, when using stock footage you are limited to the visuals that are available. This can limit the type of edit that you will be able to produce with your travel video. For example, if you wanted to have text displayed on screen in a style or way, the camera crew can be briefed to capture shots which will display it to best effect.
Finally, while it came initially seem less expensive to use stock footage rather than travelling to the desired location, over the long term it can actually work out to be very similar. Relicensing the same amount of material using stock can be expensive if you want to create more than one video and promote it in different countries. With stock you may also be restricted in how you can use the footage, something that is not a problem if you have captured the material yourself.
When To Shoot A Travel Video
The two best times of the day to shoot a travel video are sunrise and sunset. Of course, shooting at these times is not without it’s challenges. During the Summer months when a lot of shooting takes place, sunrise will be very eary and sunset late. As you will almost certainly want to maximize your time on location and shoot throughout the day this can lead to very long shooting days. To shoot effectively over such a long day it is critical that the crew gets plenty of rest. It is also important that you have a crew which is able to get along well with each other over such a long day together. An experienced crew that has worked extensively together in the past will minimize the kind of problems that can disrupt shooting.
The time just following sunrise or just before sunset is known as the magic hour. The magic hour almost always lives up to it’s name, especially for capturing the cinematic shots that look great in travel videos. During the magic hour the daylight appears redder and softer, compared to the middle of the day when the sun is higher in sky. There’s a romanticism to sunrises and sunset and capture this myth is part of what it means to capture the romance of a vacation. You can see an example of this in this video we shot for Trafalgar where we set up a whole breakfast scene. This was shot at five o’clock in the morning. While the results were certainly “magical” they did require getting up extremely early in order to set up the shoot:
Pacing Your Travel Video
The pacing of your video is another consideration when choosing a style for your video. The choice of how you paced your video will depend on your goals for the video and it’s intended audience. If you are appealing to a younger audience then you could use a very fast paced style, with plenty of quick cuts. If you are appealing to an older or luxury market then you may want to use a more slower paced style which really lingers on the beautiful landscape and finer details.
Deciding On The Budget For Your Travel Video
The two primary determinants of the budget for your shoot will be the size of the crew and the number of days that you choose to shoot. Travel to a foreign location is a expensive so you want to make sure that you are maximizing the amount of material that you capture. Obviously the longer you spend the more footage that you are going to be captured, but this will need to be balanced against your travel, accommodation and food costs. A three person crew is a good option if you are looking to balance costs with ensuring you are capturing sufficient amounts of footage. Having multiple camera people will allow you to capture shots and the reverse shot of the same action. Having a multiple shot choices of the same action will open up different ways for you to tell the story when it is in the edit suite.
Gathering Release Forms
One thing that is easy to overlook is gathering release forms. Failing to gather release forms can cause major problems later on if it means that a great shot can’t be used because people featured in that shot didn’t provide releases for it to be used. Gather releases is much easier these day as there a number of applications that will allow you to do this on a tablet. The person who is gathering the release should understand how the shots will be used during the editing phase to ensure that they are gathering the right release.
Actors vs. Real Tourists
When it comes to the subjects of your travel video you have the choice of using actors or real travellers. One of the benefits of using actors is that because they are paid professionals they can be pushed and pulled into position without too much in the way of grumbling. The disadvantage of actors is that if you use them over a series of days the shots can start to appear repetitive. If you do use actors it’s important that they are able to act naturally and ignore the camera.
Authenticity is critical with a travel video as people need to be able to identify with the subjects so that they can transpose their own aspirations onto them. One approach to get the best of both worlds is to mix in actors with real people and genuine candid moments.
Video provides the best way for travellers to experience a particular location prior to actually visiting it. When creating a travel video you want to make sure that experience is as compelling and attractive as possible.