By Ricki Hudson — 19 Jun 2020
Nothing sells tourism like a well-produced video. This is the ideal format to see a place in action and convey emotion to the viewer. More than photos or even reviews, experiencing a place through video helps your audience picture themselves in the story you’re unveiling before their eyes, and tip them into buying customers.
So what’s stopping you from making videos to promote your business?
In most cases, even before COVID-19 hit the tourism industry hard, chances are that money was already scarce for producing video content, and hiring a professional was unrealistic for your budget. Now, more than ever, being able to make good-looking DIY videos is what will set your business apart and reap the greatest rewards when everybody else is cutting their marketing budget.
Best thing is – you don’t need a big budget to make an impact! For less than $20, a smartphone and a bit of creativity, you can turn a challenge into a resounding success.
First things first – if you want a professional-looking video, the easiest thing you can do right now is invest in a tripod. Shaky videos scream amateur and will make your viewer seasick.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend much to get a good tripod: less than $20 will get you what you need to get started.
Mini Flexible Camera iPhone & Phone Tripod
Already shot your video? Here’s a quick tutorial to stabilize your existing videos with Youtube.
If you intend to move around your subject with your camera and still want to achieve a stable image, you should look into using a gimbal instead. A gimbal ensures the motion of the camera is stabilized, even if you’re moving up and down, left to right or front to back. It’s usually used for sports videos (think snowboarding or surfing), and will work perfectly for your project.
Slightly more expensive than a tripod, you can find a multitude of gimbals online around the $100 mark and up, depending on your expectations.
DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Gimbal
Lighting is critical for the success of your video. Cameras can’t pick up light as well as human eyes do, and good lighting ensures the video definition is of comparable quality to what the eye sees naturally.
Moreover, lighting sets the mood for a video. See the difference of emotion it creates in the two shots below.
Good lighting also reduces editing time: you won’t have to spend hours trying to fix bad lighting with your video editing software.
If you shoot in exterior, natural lighting might be sufficient for your video. But beware: the sun, clouds and shadows move, and it can ruin your take in an instant.
If you’re looking for a basic way to improve your smartphone light capabilities, a simple clip-on light like the one below can do the trick. It’s best used in selfie mode where the subject is close to the camera.
Selfie Phone Ring Light Diamond-Luxe Firefly – Winter White
If your video style is to regularly speak in front of a camera (think interview, makeup videos or vlog), a ring light can be a good investment. It’s specifically designed to equally spread light around the subject with a camera in the centre for maximum efficiency.
Neewer 12-inch Inner/14-inch Outer LED Ring Light and Light Stand 36W 5500K Lighting Kit
If you’re after something more professional and will shoot a variety of videos, a set of lights can be handy to have. You can position those lights as you see fit, delivering the best results for your project.
21″ Youtube & Blogger LED Lighting Home Studio Kit – ‘Illuminate Wand’
Have you ever tried to carry a conversation in a busy place? You have to lean over and make an extra effort to hear the other person. You certainly don’t want that experience for your viewers.
Sound, and what the person on camera has to say, is what will engage your audience.
For good results, you want to be as close as possible to the subject, reduce background noise and set appropriate microphone levels (how loud the subject will appear on film).
Designed for interviews, you often see this microphone type on a TV set. This is a great and affordable solution to get a clear sound from a conversation.
RODE Lavalier GO Professional-Grade Lavalier Microphone
Point and shoot microphone
This is a versatile solution that works for a lot of situations. Handily mounted on a tripod with the camera, you can move around with your camera while still capturing a good sound for your video.
Comica Smartphone Video Kit CVM-Vm10-K2 Filmmaker Mini Tripod with Shotgun Video Microphone Video Rig
Of course, you can combine a tripod (or gimbal), lighting, and sound solution into one neat video kit. It won’t fit all cases, but this is the perfect solution for field videos.
SmartCine Complete Universal Smartphone Video Kit
For the ultimate professional touch, you can invest in a backdrop. This is ideal to reduce the visual “noise” and focus your video on the subject at hand. Easily installed almost anywhere, you can achieve a tremendous effect as long as the set is well-lit.
Neewer 10 x 12FT / 3 x 3.6M PRO Photo Studio 100% Pure Muslin Collapsible Backdrop Background
These days, a lot can be achieved on a smartphone, but editing videos is probably not one of them. My advice here is to still use a desktop computer to do your editing. You can see more details on a big screen (and catch errors more easily), and good editing software comes with more options and features than what you can find on your phone.
I won’t list all the editing software that exists out there, but for beginners, I can recommend either Apple iMovie or Lumen5.
A few more things to know when filming using your smartphone:
Use the exposure lock: when filming, your smartphone will try to refocus and adjust the lighting, producing an inconsistent image throughout the video. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it for the iPhone.
Written By – Luke Gresham– Founder and video producer at Luke’s Lens
Luke is the founder of Luke’s Lens, a boutique video agency based in Sydney. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, Luke helps businesses tell their story and drive leads through video content. He works with companies like Ebay, KPMG, EY, Cisco, ASX, Salesforce, IBM, HP, Telstra and many more.