The use of video has grown exponentially in recent years as consumers, tethered to their mobile devices, have rewarded videos with their interest, and social channels like Facebook have done the same by prioritizing them. Destinations have appropriately followed the trend – by adding more short, shareable videos to their content and social platforms and inviting more video influencers on familiarization trips.
But as with working with all styles of influencers, videographers – sorry, some prefer to be called filmmakers – are a particular bunch with their own quirks and real requirements.
In order to optimize the planning, on-the-ground-experiences and content of a video-based influencer trip, here’s what destination marketers need to know when planning out their next video campaign.
What do you really, truly, actually need?
Before you send out the brief, ask yourself and your team the question: Are you looking for someone who will craft a visual narrative within the destination, or do you just need someone to film some stuff and focus on “here’s what you can do here this weekend”? Be honest about what you need and ensure the brief represents that. One minute of video take 20+ shots within a destination (depending on the style) so keep that in mind when planning out your theme and focus of your videos, time required for the trip and itineraries.
Get on the same page (or in this case, screen)
There can sometimes be a difference in opinion between your goals and a videographer’s goals. You may want short and sweet so people don’t click off and so it plays well on social (a fine objective), but they might not care how long the video is, and figure that as long as the story is good, people will keep watching. The end result is akin to a writer telling an editor “I know you just wanted 500 words but I really think this 1000-word feature is better.” Make sure your videographer is on the same page with you and your goals. It will help alleviate a lot of confusion later. It can also be tougher to create a shorter piece than a longer one, so keep that in mind with post-production schedules.
Plan your itineraries very, very, very carefully
Craft your itinerary with filming in mind. It’s a challenge to create an artsy storytelling video if your filmmakers are stuck on a bus tour at sunset. Resist the urge to put every amazing corner of your destination into your itinerary. It’s simply not going to work. Not everything is going to make it into the final cut, anyhow. Go for quality, not quantity. The trip and itinerary should be focused on what the video wants, not what you think the influencer (or even stakeholders) might want.
Give the gift of time
Any itinerary needs to account for the amount of time a filmmaker needs to get the shot. This isn’t your typical on-off bus/car fam trip, so don’t try to wedge too much in. Itineraries should be built with lots of extra time so that your influencers can create time-lapses, landscape b-roll, back up their footage, clean their gear and pack everything up.
Ask the experts
Directly involve the videographer/filmmaker in the itinerary creation and planning process. Work with your team or agency to clarify objectives and real goal of the videos, then widen the net to include them in the itinerary plan. They will know best about what sort of shots they need for their video. And please don’t plan dinner at sunset unless that’s what’s being featured. Videographers/filmmakers are really crazy for the lighting during sunset and sunrise in destinations where the landscape is the star.
Itinerary planning actually takes time. A lot of it. For a successful video trip, you need to get organized and plan things in earlier. Factor this in and think way ahead if you need to support campaigns with set launch dates. We repeat: this is very different from a regular fam trip and should not be scraped together at the last minute. Have an itinerary locked in no later than two weeks prior to a trip. Many videographers actually expect a month’s notice and will get antsy if you aren’t confident in your plans.
Don’t kill your talent
Busy summer days in the heat (if your destination is hot, of course) are enough to wear anyone down after a while, but when you need energetic talent on camera it’s even more important to give your talent or influencer some down time and not have them going all day to places they aren’t really interested in. Enjoying a few hours on a beach because you’re from a big city and you’re so excited to be able to spend all afternoon there = good energy for a video. Having fun for ten minutes on a beach before running off to the next filming location = not as great.
Avoid sending your influencers on public tours
Not only is it hard for a videographer to get great shots when the place they’re pointing their camera is filled with tons of people (unless that’s what you’re going for), but fellow tourists also don’t like to be held up when someone takes too long to pack up their gear. Plan for private visits and possibly even early access.
Have someone in the office dedicated to supporting the trip
Murphy’s Law is a real thing, so empower someone on your team to head up “mission control” and be responsible for fixing itineraries, answering questions or swapping things out at a moment’s notice. Videographers appreciate having a go-to support who can approve and make arrangements if new opportunities for great video present themselves.
Do right by them
Just like some trained web-based writers don’t like to be called bloggers, or content managers don’t like to be called community managers, some filmmakers can feel like their storytelling talents are being sold short by the term “videographer.” Ask your video person how they would like to be introduced. This might seem like a small thing but it’s important. Use their preferred title in communications and when you introduce them in destination. After all, you’re looking to build a lasting relationship, so be sure to meet them halfway.
Related reading: Your content manager is your DMO’s most important hire