Excerpts from the manual
“Tom Reissmann knows the secret to making every day a holiday. He's travelled the world for ten years getting paid for it and proven that with a passion for travel, a camcorder and a simple strategy for producing promotional videos anyone can do it. Tom shares his secrets and recipe for success in his manual, which I found to be a simple step-by-step guide to filming video I'll get paid for, allowing me to go on my next holiday and stay there! “
You can order the entire course on how to make money with travel videos here.
3. Understanding Tourism Marketing
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and employs more people than any other industry. As mentioned above it’s also intangible until you arrive at your destination, so video is really just a way of selling the feeling of being on holiday. Your video is essentially a mini-holiday in people’s minds because for 5 minutes they feel like they are already there.
Tourism targets various different markets and motivations but the motive for travel is the same for everyone. As part of my honours project for my degree in Tourism Management I went around interviewing people about the question why we want to go on holiday. Everyone apparently had different motivations, such as relaxation, adventure, cultural curiosity, experiencing nature, meeting new people, trying something different and reconnecting with loved ones. Yet while everyone mentioned different reasons for choosing a particular holiday, one aspect was mentioned by all of them regardless of what they wanted to do while on holiday: escape.
Escape can mean a number of things, but it’s mainly about getting away from our usual routine and our everyday environment, be that the seemingly constant rain, the stressful job, the nagging relatives, the screaming children or simply the boredom of doing the same thing day in and day out. We just have to get away from it all, in order to relax, do nothing and spoil ourselves or to enjoy a novel experience, to break mental habits and to see the world with fresh eyes. In other words; meet new people, speak another language, learn Salsa, go diving or jump off a bridge, just to do something to remind us that we are in fact still alive and capable of feeling like a child discovering an unfamiliar world or feeling a sensation we have never felt before. As a result we will feel re-energised, hopeful, optimistic, happy and perhaps even reborn.
Most of the time the feeling will fade very quickly once people return and settle back into their routines but sometimes people will return with a completely new perspective on life and some people even vow to make everyday a holiday. And these people know that they didn’t just escape for no particular reason; they know they wanted to escape in order to find themselves to understand what they want to do with their lives or to rediscover themselves and their passions, a process known as self-actualisation. The problem is this: the obligations of making a living and the expectations placed upon us by our peers as well as stifling routines and relationships do not allow us to be who we want to be. A new environment, however, and the freedom to follow our own schedules can help us to see ourselves anew and redefine who we are and what we want to do with our lives. Most tourists will not be consciously aware of their desire to self-actualise because they are mostly occupied with more basic needs, which according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs may one day culminate in self-actualisation, and those needs include: physiological needs, safety, love and belongingness and self-esteem.
To get a better idea of how that would translate into an effective promotional video please watch the following two videos, both of which were shot on Fraser Island but appeal to two very different groups or target markets.
4. How to shoot effective promotional holiday videos
As explained in the previous section your job is to provide people with an escape route to a destination they have dreamed of for a long time and the possibility that they will come back a changed person or at least a person richer in experience and full of energy. Secondly you have to have some understanding of why people would choose that particular holiday so you can create the awareness of a need in your audience and then offer its fulfillment, so that they are propelled to book that particular holiday. Finally you have to differentiate this holiday from the other hundreds or thousands of holidays that fulfill the same need.
How can you do this? You create a contrast to their usual world with beautiful images, excited faces and evocative music and you film the activities that would appeal to your target market and make it look different than another very similar holiday you also happen to be filming because you also work for the competition. While all of that sounds very complicated it’s actually quite easy because when you spend time with each group and participate as a tourist yourself, you will see and therefore film what they do. But it is important to associate with each group and sometimes that is difficult, especially when you are working with very different groups in the same area and in a short amount of time, and when these groups are very different in their expectations from yours. So you will have to suspend your own expectations and get excited about what that group enjoys, even if the excitement is about some kind of white-faced, red-bellied honeyeater or some giant palm cockatoo (they are actually pretty impressive).
That’s why it’s so much better to be an individual videographer, and being part of a group because it’s much more authentic than a crew of people shooting extras, pretending to look at the scenery. Having said that, sometimes you will have to stage certain scenarios, but they usually still end up in a real situation where the guide explains the process of a tree being used by a strangler fig for example, even though that might have been scheduled for the next day and not when you’re there shooting because you have to film people out on a sail-boat the next day.
5.4. Controlling your camera
In order for you to create images with just the right amount of light and definition you should have some idea about exposure, although most cameras do a decent job of regulating this for you automatically. But in case you do have zebra mode on your camera, you will see that there is only so much a machine can do. So here is a short introduction to Exposure, Shutter Speed, Aperture and White balance.
Camera Chips (CCDs) will demand a certain amount of light to create an image that is neither too dark nor too white. And just to clear up any confusion right away: NTSC uses 60 images or fields to create 30 frames per second and PAL uses 50 fields to create 25 frames per second. Depending on where you live your camera will either operate on PAL or NTSC, the latter is mostly just for Americans, who are a bit special really. So these 50 or 60 images will have to be exposed to just the right amount of light.
You have two ways of regulating the amount of light. One is to control the diameter of the ‘iris’ of your lens; a larger diameter will allow for more light and a smaller for less light to enter your CCD, what is known as aperture. Two, you can control the amount of time you allow the light to hit your camera’s CCD, what is known as shutter speed. The name is based on the film version of cameras that have a rotating disc with a small gap, allowing for the light to enter, which will spin at variable speeds, the faster it spins the less time the film has to absorb light, the slower it spins the more light lands on the film. Even though there isn’t an actual shutter exposing a film to light in your digital camera, the name shutter speed remained. A digital camera will merely give an electronic signal to tell the camcorder’s CCD to start gathering light and then to stop again.
Most tutorials will use the analogy of a bucket of water because you can use a very thin hose for a long time to fill a bucket with water or you can use a thick hose for less time to fill that same bucket. The point being that shutter speed and aperture work hand in hand. But just to bring this idea a bit closer to the subject at hand; think of a dark room and in one scenario you are given a flash light and 10 seconds to gather as much detail about the room as possible, in the other scenario you can turn a light switch on for 5 seconds. You will probably end up with the same result in terms of what you have seen about the room. And your camera chip is like you in that dark room all the time, either given more light or more time to see. Makes you feel sorry for your camera doesn’t it.
Most Camcorders will give you options like: low light, portrait, sports, sand and snow or spotlight to vary exposure by adjusting shutter speed and aperture for you, in order to adapt to certain conditions. But in case your images are still too dark, too bright or blurry try playing with the shutter speed and the aperture. Again there are pre-arranged settings where you adjust the shutter speed and the aperture is changed for you, usually called Shutter-Priority. Or there is a setting called Aperture-Priority where the shutter speed is adjusted for you, while you control the aperture. Alternatively and for most creative control, you can regulate shutter speed and aperture manually. Regardless of what mode you are in, whether you are in AUTO, TV (Shutter-Priority), AV (Aperture-Priority) or Manual you should always use your zebra effect to alert you to over-exposure and as you will see AUTO does not do everything for you to create perfect images, to the contrary there will be a zebra on your LCD half the time and you will have to help your camera along. So what follows is a more in-depth look at Aperture and Shutter Speed.