I feel I’ve got my High Definition kit down to the bare minimum and would like to share the gear list I use for exploring travel destinations by foot. This kit is suitable for anyone wishing to produce High Definition video with two broadcast quality audio sources, suitable for such situations as interviews.
The camera bag featured, I bought in Japan, and is just big enough to hold the xf and gear listed. I got it deliberately for this reason. I have found when traveling, Parkinson’s law can relate to space as it does to time. If you have a big bag…you will find junk to fill it with!
From the picture above, from top left working clockwise, the kit includes:
Buddhist Temple, Chengdu, China
* Pen and note pad
* Fluffer dust remover
* In ear head phones
* Sennheiser ew100g2 Radio Mic Kit
* Rode ‘dead cat’ fluffy wind shield
* Rode NTG1 shotgun mic
* short xlr lead for on camera
* long (2 mtr) xlr lead for interviews
* Velbon C-400 Tripod
* True ‘e-professional’ camera case
* Rotolight on camera light
* Sunscreen and lip balm for ol’ whitey
* Canon XF100 HD video camera
* Two batteries for Canon XF100
* cleaning mitt (shoe shine cloth from the Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang, DPRK)
* leatherman multi-tool, blade, screwdriver and bottle opener
* polarising filter for filming on water, through glass or on snow
not in picture
* Canon SX230 HS still camera that doubles as my 2nd video camera
* 2 x canon batteries for SX230 HS
* 12 x rechargeable AA batteries
* 2 x 32gb 60mb/s compact flash cards for XF100
* 1 x 8 gb grade 6 SDHC card for SX230 HS
After ten months on the road I’ve taken a well earned break to catch up on some editing. Well, the plan was to catch up on some editing, what I’ve actually found myself indulging in one of my favourite pastimes…research. I’ve finally had time to watch online videos, read books, study successful people and companies.
One author I’ve been reading quite a bit of is Malcolm Gladwell. He seems to be very clever at defining the Zeitgeist of our times by bringing together studies and statistics across various fields from psychology to epidemiology. I’ve also been studying marketing techniques and social media with the end aim of using my findings to continue making independent media for the travel and tourism industry.
So in this article, I wish to tie all this research together and discuss various ways in which independent media can use different advertising models and platforms to produce content.
To quote Numantra’s Why Social Media Doesn’t Work (and What You Can Do About It) “Advertising is a lot harder today then it ever was before. According to Planet Feedback’s “Consumer Trust in Advertising” report, fewer than half the people surveyed trust print ads or television commercials. Hardly a third of them trust what they hear on the radio. It’s even worse for direct mail and outdoor advertising. What’s the number one trusted source of advertising? Word of mouth!
That’s a huge game changer. Before, advertisers had to convince consumers to buy their product. Now, advertisers have to convince consumers to convince other consumers to buy their product. That is a much harder proposition. Imagine you had to sell your car but you couldn’t sell it directly to the buyer. Instead, you had to convince everyone to sell your car to their friends for you.”
So it is understandable that big corporations desire and require popularity on social networking sites. And let’s be honest, from twitter to Facebook, youtube to website rankings, money can buy popularity. Views, likes, subscribers, weblinks, all these things can be paid for. Which leads to a very important lesson for both media creators and advertiser, Never trust the numbers, trust the engagement!
And even with regard to the engagement, who is commenting, who is the audience? e.g. It always surprises me when reading travel blogs that a majority of comments come from other travel blog writers.
But maybe, as stated by Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’, success, whether in social media, or elsewhere, has always been a questionable measurement.
Why an advertising model for travel and tourism media production?
There are other models that I will mention, but given that I’m specifically working in the travel and tourism industry, I don’t think they are sustainable given the huge amount of free information available online.
Crowdfunding – Sites like Kickstarter have lead to the creation of many one off programs, but may not be suitable for long term media creation
Subscriber or DVD sales – I don’t really see anyone doing subscriber based media successfully, it just doesn’t seem to stick, even for Murdoch!
Media creators producing dvd’s or downloads on niche topics have managed to sustain audiences. But with regard to the travel and tourism industry, as mentioned, there is so much free marketing material available, promoting countries, regions, towns, trying to sell dvd’s or downloads would only garner a small audience, unless, once again, making content on niche travel like pilgrimage
Video Platforms and Types of Advertising
Given that the above study by Numantra states word of mouth is the best form of advertising, does it make sense to bombard people with ads such as is done on youtube? Is there a better way?
The other big player in online video is vimeo, of which I wasn’t a fan in the past because there seemed to be a divide between the ‘filmmakers’ of vimeo and the vloggers of youtube which I saw as quite pretentious. Personally I think anyone can make a ‘film’ which is nothing more than a series of lovely pictures set to music, getting an audience is an entirely different skill set!
But on my recent visit to vimeo I was surprised. I did some searches for areas of my interests and found KORDUROY.tv who through video how-to’s, short films, rants and interviews are creating a new platform for independent surf culture. Now they also got started with a kickstarter campaign and are continuing content production via sponsors and an online shop selling surf related products. All with minimal advertising, six second pre-roll ads at the start and mention of sponsors at the end. Five supporter companies who service the surf industry provide funding to keep Korduroy creating content.
When a production company does what Korduroy tv has done, and targets a particular niche, you can be assured all there audience surf or at least are interested in surfing. So keeping the advertising low-key is probably a wise move, as what you are really doing is providing a platform for like minds to enjoy their hobby, funded by business that survive from that hobby. Such a formula, if done well, would lead to organic sharing amongst the community, thus guaranteeing it’s success. The huge views of a youtube viral video….no! A highly targeted dedicated audience established over time with ongoing content, yes! Which one has longevity and audience loyalty?
So how can this example be used in the travel and tourism industry?
The travel and tourism industry is huge. Last year it contributed US$1,850 billion to global GDP and employs over 99 million people.
All types of niches can be developed from grey nomads to fishing. This is pretty easy to deduct, a little bit harder is how to get paid to make this content?
I think the most important thing is to not make content for advertisers! Sounds a little counterproductive, but the reality is, people hate ads, and a lot of those who watch online video do so because they want to escape the bombardment of the crap they find on tv. This is also the reason most travel programs are staid and uninspiring, they are basically platforms for destination marketing.
One production company that has realised this is Vice. They brand themselves as edgy, underground and independent and produce content popular with the 18-29 demographic.
The fact they are backed by youtube and CNN to the tune of millions of dollars doesn’t seem to undermine their street cred, yet! I like vice’s travel videos, but in the same breath, I would not call them independent. Being able to hand out wads of cash to locals wherever you go is not my idea of independent travel. This poor bugger is independent, trying to visit every country in the world without flying. But, the reality of who is paying the tab isn’t so important if you are producing content people want to watch.
And this is where the branded content advertising model can be used by independent producers to feature travel related content. Branded content, where the marketing is not “heavy handed” and is “almost a bi-product” is the most effective form of marketing according to a October 2010 report by the CMO Council.
Featuring items or locations in content people want to watch has already been adopted by television and I think it will be the way of the future for online travel content.
To use another Malcolm Gladwell term, I think social media has reached a tipping point. When you can no longer trust what has climbed to the top of the pile on social media sites, you have to wonder how long it will take for people to pack up shop and find other places to play.
Youtube for example has become too big and too American-centric. Even this ‘titty’ video got more fews on vimeo than youtube, and youtube has always been about tits and cats! (After one month – 25,787 hits on Vimeo and 1,804 hits on YouTube.)
The epicentre of top youtube creators is Los Angeles and most of the recent ‘original channels’ funding stayed within the USA. The individual creator community that made the youtube vibe have been pushed to the edge of the mega city by large production studios (e.g. vice) and their pre-fabricated instant stars. I can understand why youtube has to make the move towards more professional content, but you would think providing support to already established partners would be more sensible than bringing in outside production companies!
My prediction is little villages (alternative websites) will be established around the edges, feeding niche communities with content made from within these communities. They may still use youtube, or for that matter vimeo, but they won’t be relying on ad revenue from youtube, in the same way travel bloggers don’t rely on ad revenue from google. The clever operators will be making their own ad deals, dealing directly with the industries that service their niches. And clever advertisers will see through the hype of the huge views of viral videos, and understand sustainable communities of passionate individuals means more than short term popularity.
So to sum up, what does this mean for content creators; Produce work you are passionate about and develop your own community destination (websites) and your own advertising deals with companies that service that community. And ensure they understand that understated advertising methods are the only methods that will work.
In this article I wish to discuss the options I am exploring with regard to increasing my revenue from video related activities as I travel the world. My original plan of relying on an increase in youtube adsense income, due to increased video turnout, has not come to fruition. So to keep the travel show on the road, I have to explore other options.
I’ve written a few of these articles now, both on overlander.tv and other travel sites, where I give people advice on how I manage to travel and make money.
It’s funny but whenever I decide to write these articles, I always get chastised by my mother! She can’t understand why, with all the hard work and trial and error I’ve gone through to establish a career in the precarious arena of independent filmmaking, I would want to share my hard won secrets!
But for me, the sites I value the most in my own research, are those that cut the bullshit and are completely honest in their articles. I’d like to mention two that I regularly check up on, will video for food is the best resource for information on the changes in the online video landscape and nerdy nomad offers a great insight into how to make money online as you travel. “and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can, and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use . . . silence, exile, and cunning.” James Joyce, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
So here goes, some brainstorming on the possible directions I may consider in order to keep the overlander boat floating merrily on the seven seas.
* 1. Set up a 2nd youtube channel to increase adsense revenue. Tourism bodies around the world pay big money to promote their countries to the world. Unfortunately many of these campaigns get lost in the pure mass of video being released ever day. My idea is to set up one youtube channel that features all the tourism videos from around the world. The idea being to give viewers one location to see what the world has to offer. In theory it is a great idea, but in practise a little more difficult. Recent changes on youtube has reduced adsense revenue and written copyright permission must be gained from each country. I will persevere with the idea, but it is a slow riping fruit, so will explore quicker money making options first.
* 2. Set up a charity or cyber beg. Many film projects have gotten off the ground from funds raised on cyber begging sites like kick-starter and indiegogo. And many a ‘charity’ has raised funds for some worthy cause by traveling the world. Personally, I feel very uncomfortable with both concepts. Why the hell should anyone give money to help me travel the world. What do they get out of it? And if I did feel the need to raise money for some cause, why the need to travel the world to do it. Why not just raised funds at home? BUT maybe I need to forgo my uneasy feeling about raising funds with cyber begging sites and explore this option!
* 3. Sell Stock Footage I have a video production friend from New Zealand who makes a nice little side income by selling stock footage on sites like artbeats, alwayshd and footagebank. I’ve avoided this one, it involves shooting video in a way different from my current style (i.e. no handheld footage) Another longterm money earner that I would prefer to not have to do. It would mean changing my whole shooting style.
* 4. Sell dvd’s on amazon with createspace. As an Australian, the only way to get access to the American masses who use Amazon, is to set up an account with createspace but they take a hell of a cut. This is an option also used with success by my New Zealand mate. An option worth trying OR I could explore throwing money into online advertising to direct more traffic to my video downloads on my own website, thus keeping all profits for myself.
* 5. Produce video business profiles while travelling One of my main sources of income in Australia involved producing business video profiles. Without a work visa, I can’t offer a service in many of the countries I visit. But there is no reason I can’t sell a product online in these countries. This product could be charging a business to list on my website and youtube channel. And if that does involve filming at the business, this ‘service’ could be offered free. The benefit for business is they get high search ranking in google for their video because of my channel’s following and my SEO knowledge.
This option is a quick way to make money BUT requires time to market to business and more video production on top of the growing pile of videos I’m yet to complete. It is also less lucrative overseas than in Australia given currency and wage differences.
* 6. Branded Content, business ads. I could sell 30 second slots in my videos whereby as with the video business profile idea, business only pay for the listing, not the service. This would be an easy idea to implement, but may not always be easy given the nature of my content. My videos are not straight out tourism profiles of an area, and it doesn’t interest me to do ‘bog standard’ tourism videos.
* 7. Approach television for travel program funding. Despite my belief that online video is the future, television is still where the money is. I could approach Australian stations ABC and SBS or the travel channel with a travel show concept. This would most likely mean not being able to continue to broadcast footage on youtube and may involve some ‘pigeonholing’ of format. Worth exploring but not feasible as a one man operation. Television likes big crews, particularly the Australian funding bodies which would be involved in the deal.
* 8. Set up a global video business profile network. This is the idea I like the most. Because basically it involves me using my expertise in business profile video production, to help other producers around the world make money. I’ve already explored this idea with a Malaysian video producer, and have other video production friends around the world keen to be involved. I believe I have cracked the code on what works with regard to online video business profiles and I have devised a system that will allow any producer to copy this format. The benefit for business is they also know from the output what type of video they will end up with. Bookings would be made through a single website, prices would be determined on a country by country basis, in agreement with the local producers, and a 20% fee would be added to help maintain the website and cover marketing costs. This concept has already been explored in America, but not in a way that producers name their price. With my concept, everyone wins out.
Looking through the long list of possibilities, the options I have decided to explore RIGHT NOW are; the branded content idea, whereby business can feature a 30 second ad both in my videos and on my channel, and the global business profile video network. I like both these ideas because once they are set up, sales can be done online, I don’t have to do much extra work and they both represent good opportunities for future growth as they become more widely known. The 2nd option also gives me the opportunity to meet other producers as I travel, as happened in Ipoh.
So there you go, all my ideas laid out on the table!
One may ask why give away your secrets, with the chance others could copy them!
Well I have a belief that a lot of the problems in the world are due to a fear of scarcity of resources. That fear leads to people being greedy, hoarding things for themselves.
Now maybe there are too many people in the world, or maybe there are too many at the top of the tree not willing to share the fat around. Whatever the true story, I don’t want to play that fear game, I’m not going to make my life miserable now, to hoard for an unknown future, for who really knows which of us will even make ‘old bones’!
So for video producers, young or old, who also have a desire to travel, feel free to borrow, modify and test any original ideas you get from my own experimentation with exploring ways to make money with video. And if you do have great success, send me a note, love to hear how it all goes.
So how does a tourism region produce a video that rises above the 48 hours of video uploaded to youtube every minute, and harness some of the 3 billion eyeballs watching each day?
Australian travel video producer Mark Shea outlines how to run a successful online video campaign using Australian Tourism and Travel examples
There has recently been some negative press in Australia with regard to how Government Tourism bodies spend the $500 million allocated to them, to market the country.
As someone who has been involved in youtube and online video since their formation, and experienced some viral video success, I would like to inform tourism organisations and business, how best to use youtube as a marketing tool.
I closely follow video tourism campaigns from around the world and more often than not, see big budget productions sink to the bottomless pit of the youtube sea.
So how does a tourism region produce a video that rises above the 48 hours of video uploaded to youtube every minute, and harness some of the 3 billion eyeballs watching each day?
“And – dear lord – have you seen the ads? The ‘come to Australia’ ads. OH. MY. GOD. They give me visions of entering the Australian Tourist Board Marketing Department to find a room filled with baboons wistfully daubing the walls with their own faeces.”Graham David Hughes, Adventurer/Filmmaker who set a brand new Guinness World Record™ by visiting 133 countries in one year without ever leaving the ground.
Both the business owner and l watched the Port Douglas marketing video produced by the local official tourism organisation. About a minute in, we both lost interest, moving on to something else.
The video looks great, with every shot looking like it came out of a tourist brochure. BUT, if people want beautiful beaches, rainforest etc, they have 100′s of locations like Port Douglas to choose from. AND, with the current price of the Aussie dollar, places that are much cheaper!
Producing a tourism promo that is nothing more than a music video, fails to recognise the important historical formation of youtube as a cultural phenomenon.
Youtube started as a vlogging platform, with people using whatever camera they could get their hands on to upload video. Viewers accepted the degraded video images in this egalitarian new world.
The message became more important than a film school education. For the first time anyone could be a filmmaker and find an audience.
Vlogging changed the media landscape. Viewers now expect honest appraisals and opinions.
A traditional television ad simply does not work on youtube, and if you don’t capture the attention of your audience, by engaging them, they simply click on to the next piece of entertainment.
Jean-Paul Toonen of T36 Media informed me of a study by the University of Leuven (Belgium) that found many marketeers traditionally make the mistake of only using video as a medium of evidence. They believe that if they show the local qualities of a region, it’s superior scenery and sunny beaches, then the viewers will be convinced. But this footage only proves the existence of these hotspots. And not the effect of relaxation, happiness and entertainment. The audience is only convinced by honest testimonials and authentic interviews, in combination with action in the picturesque local environment.
The research lead to the production of a highly successful campaign based on testimonials about living in the Limburg province. Jean-Paul Toonen informs, “Each film focused on one inhabitant from this region and shows their life (work & private) in active shots and scenes. This person is interviewed and tells us about their quality of life.”
So try and work out what differentiates your region from every where else. And find people who can express these key points with intelligence, humor and conviction.
Local Celebrities are Nobodies on Youtube.
Youtube has it’s own star system, based on a channel’s subscriber base and number of video views.
Each channel caters for a particular demographic. Age, sex, country of origin, can all be monitored via youtube’s ‘insight’ statistics.
Unfortunately tourism bodies don’t seem to understand that a local celebrity, such as a retired local league footballer, has no credibility on youtube. The campaign below would have been better off finding an urban family representing their main demographic and feature them exploring the landscape.
Let me give you a recent example. ‘Visit NSW’ recently employed Matilda Brown to produce a number of music videos masquerading as tourism promos.
Who you may ask is Matilda Brown?
Well, Matilda is the daughter of actor Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward. And this fact was promoted as a big marketing plus for the campaign.
If you live in Australia, and are over a certain age, you have probably heard of Bryan and Rachel. But for the rest of the world and youtube community Matilda, despite having studied filmmaking, is a nobody.
This campaign is the antithesis of what youtube represents, a place where anyone can become a star, regardless of their background!
I think the message in the video below is, ‘Don’t eat the mushrooms!’
Lonely Planet, now owned by the BBC, had the foresight to understand their monolithic faceless persona, and went about seducing someone from within the youtube star system, to represent their demographic.
They sent Natalie Tran, Australia’s most successful youtuber, around the world to produce short and sweet location videos that increased their subscriber base from 15,000 to over 40,000, and led to over 3 million more video views. So much do Lonely Planet rely on Natalie to grow their channel, they even use her name in their title keywording!
So if Lonely Planet understands how youtube works, one may ask, why can’t Australian Tourism Bodies?
I think half the problem is there seems to be no accountability for failure. Tourism bodies also don’t seem to understand how cost effective online video can be, basing their budgets on more expensive television advertising models.
In some instances, as with Tourism Victoria, a job is not put out for tender, unless it’s budget is over $150,000.
So for their recent Villages of Victoria ‘music video’ campaign, the video producers were not chosen based on online video success or pricing, but on some more mysterious selection process.
After nearly a year online, most of these videos have only garnered a few hundred views. Each video cost a whopping $10,000, three times industry pricing for a 2 minute online video.
Youtube is owned by Google, so when videos underperform like with the ‘villages’ campaign, they don’t get found on Google.
The Falls Creek video, for example, has currently only had 255 views after 12 months online. Tourism Operators have every right to question Tourism Victoria, when amateurs with cheap handy cams, manage to produce videos that perform better in keyword search! The video below doesn’t even make the first page of search for the term ‘falls creek’.
Make it real
Youtube is a very different beast from the high budget world of television advertising. The audience decides what rises to the top and spending big on a large film crew, may not always be necessary.
Most of the successful channels on youtube are produced by multi-skilled individuals who perform all aspects of production themselves. Viewers smell hubris and advertising a mile away and have grown use to videos that look different from television and films!
The short online video format is a challenging artform and anyone hired to produce your online campaign should already have a strong track record in this arena and preferably bring their own audience.
My experience has found personable truthful appraisals using real people work! Story line is more important than bokeh! And if you do produce expensive films that look amazing but don’t outline the key points that differentiate your region from everywhere else, don’t be surprised when they sink down the plughole of online obscurity.
One of worst and most wasteful examples of tourism video marketing is the $7.3 million ‘Daylesford, Lead a double life’ campaign. For those who know nothing about Daylesford, the video paints a confusing picture, tripping between today and yesteryear, and not really telling the viewer anything about the area!
Oh yes, it’s all very artistic, but with a very average views to dollars spent ratio, it’s a rolled gold failure! So far it has cost the taxpayer roughly $600 per video view, which may well be a youtube record!
More than just a video
Youtube has become a very competitive arena, with both professionals and amateurs vying for global views. Uploading a video is only half the battle.
Keywords, social media promotion, community participation; all these marketing tools require time and patience. Ensure some of your budget is allocated to making sure your video gets found.
So to sum up;
*define the key points that differentiate your region from other regions,
*find someone locally, or from the youtube star system, to communicate these key points, and
*produce a short, entertaining, informative, story-based video that is keyword optimised, and syndicated across various social media channels.
Overlander.tv is currently filming it’s ‘Meet a Local’ series in New Zealand. We will be filming all over New Zealand for the next 6 weeks.
An opportunity exists for local tourism businesses or regions, to feature on this successful online channel. To register your interest Contact us
*We understand the online video arena and what formats work. Traditional tv ads don’t work online and our methods help differentiate your business from the competition.
*We are one of the most popular travel channels on youtube. We regularly outdo the official government funded tourism youtube channels in the countries we film, in both our subscriber base and video views.
*With 35 hrs of video uploaded on youtube every minute, getting your video found is becoming harder and harder. Given our online profile, getting your business video produced by us, ensures it gets viewed and most importantly found in google search.
Local Business Example Video:
“Mark is a very easy person to work with, he is laid back but his work is very professional – top notch standard. The quality of film he produced was faultless. Summing up a story in a film in a minute and a half, needs a high degree of skill and talent to encompass all aspects in a few frames and words. Mark has a unique knack at what he does, the film he produced for us was way beyond our expectations – thank you Mark we wish you well in your worldly travels.”
Paul & Rachel Killpack
Kerikeri Park Motel
Online Video Production
Our Online Video Profile encompasses a short video (1-1.5 minute) that allows businesses or regions, to show the online community their unique products, services and attractions.
We have devised this service so that production can be completed in a very quick time frame (approx. one day) and at a cost that is affordable to all business.
It is important for us to measure the effectiveness of your video marketing and we help you devise a measurable ‘call to action’ in pre-production, such as a link to your website.
Your video profile will be syndicated across various online video channels, such as youtube, and we can help spread your message via social networking sites like facebook. We also ensure your video is added to your website and your google business listing.
What is included:
> Pre-Production support eg Script
> Interview or voiceover with business owner or local person (1/2 hr – 1 hr max.)
> filming at your business or region ( 1 to 4 hrs)
> High Definition Quality
> Non obtrusive Lighting
> High Quality audio recording
> Custom music soundtrack
> Graphics, if needed eg add your logo
> Chance to view rough edit and suggest changes once, before upload to internet.
> Call to Action to measure effectiveness eg web link, competition
> Completed Short Video put online (1 – 1.5 min)
Overlander.tv’s travel series, “Meet a Local” will sometimes team up with innovative tourism businesses and regions and showcase them in our programming. Local tourism business owners can be recruited to provide information about their regions, giving expert opinion on what visitors should encounter.
Branded content (where the marketing is not “heavy handed” and is “almost a bi-product”) is the most effective form of marketing according to a October 2010 report by the CMO Council.
Before hiring a videographer to produce a video for your business, there are a number of things you should consider to ensure all goes well on the day of filming.
*Prepare some notes:
A video ad should differentiate your business from your competitors. Write down some key points you would like to cover in the video (3-4 points). What does your business represent? eg unique products or services, great customer service? Think about what shots will best represent your business, eg showing products you sell, a customer receiving good service
The video below is a good example of strong pre production scripting. Every sentence differentiates the Winery featured from it’s competitors. In a short space, the viewer knows who the winemaker is, what his region is famous for and what makes his cellar door unique
Tell the videographer your ideas, and listen to their suggestions. A good videographer will know the language of filmmaking. A camera doesn’t behave like a human eye. There are certain rules that need to be followed to ensure stunning shots. Trust your filmmaker and allow them to creatively bring your vision to fruition.
*Tidy up and think visually
On the day of the shoot, ensure all areas that are to be filmed are clean and all staff are dressed appropriately. Recruiting friends and family to represent customers is a good way to control the production process. Make sure you think through what you want covered in the video and inform the videographer. Making a checklist is a good way to ensure nothing is missed. Be aware that the interview and voiceover needs to be filmed in a quiet location.
The video below featuring an Irish Pub was filmed over one Sunday session. The owner wished to convey what a night out at the pub entailed. In certain parts, staff and friends were recruited to have a meal and drinks. They chose Sunday night because it is their busiest night, having an empty business doesn’t make good footage!
Preparation before your video shoot, will ensure all goes well and your business is represented in the best light. For more information on our Online Video Business Profile Service.
Article by Mark Shea of Overlander Multimedia. Mark is a video producer and trainer and specializes in documentary and travel/tourism related content. His youtube channel is one of youtube’s most successful travel partner channels
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal mentions that online video is starting to become one of the best performing formats for online marketing.
A study by the Kelsey Group found that “online video can combine some of the traditional strengths of video advertising (entertaining, informative, ability to elicit emotional response) with the direct response capabilities of the Internet.”
Other studies have also found that “Streaming video delivers nearly three times higher brand awareness and message association, and more than 100% higher purchase intent and online ad awareness than non-rich media ads.”
Video also performs extremely well in Search (particularly youtube videos, as google owns youtube) Clever marketers are already aware of the power of video in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and it seems search engines are moving away from text search, making searches more interactive via video.
Unlike traditional television advertising, the results of an online video marketing campaign are also measurable. Statistics are available with regard to the age, sex, location, and the followup action of viewers (eg visiting your website and purchasing a product)
Develop an action plan to determine the success of a video, for example, provide a web link for more information or run a competition. Engage your audience, let them learn more about your region, product or business by providing immediate, measurable calls to action.
How to use Online Video in your Marketing Campaign.
The internet allows for interactivity between your business and online viewers.
Business is now a conversation.
Video offers the perfect format to engage an online audience, to tell them about your business, your services, your products and also develop rapport and trust.
This means traditional 30 second television ads don’t work online, because viewers can avoid them at the click of a mouse. You must give people a reason to watch your video. For example, provide them with free information, give them an incentive to watch and avoid the ‘hard sell’ of television ads.
Many business owners are realizing they don’t need to hire models and talent to tell their story, fronting the camera themselves to discuss ‘documentary style’ their services or products. Why TV Ads don’t work on the net
Youtube says “Create Content, Not Commercials!’
Choosing a Production Company to make your Online Video.
Online video has changed the rules, reducing costs so as to make video accessible to all business.
Better and cheaper technology, means footage shot on the $5,000 professional video camera, in the hands of a skilled cameraman, can look just as good, as footage shot by a television crew.
And now, instead of having only 30 seconds to get your message across, the optimum time to tell your story online is one and a half minutes.
When choosing a production company, first examine their previous work. Can they tell a story and have they experience helping non-media professionals, such as business owners, perform well in front of a camera? And do they understand the online arena, do they have a youtube channel? Do people connect with their work? Do people subscribe to their youtube channel and actually want to watch their videos?
In the new world of online video, a small production company with a strong online video resume, may prove a better and more cost effective choice, than the bigger television production companies, dinosaurs of a different era.
Video example of overlander.tv’s tourism business promos featuring all local people.
Article by Mark Shea of Overlander Multimedia. Mark is a video producer and trainer and specializes in documentary and travel/tourism related content. His youtube channel is one of youtube’s most successful travel partner channels
I’ve been asked to write some articles for travel portal, the traveler’s notebook. The first article, which was an interview, by a journalist friend, has been published and can be viewed here.
Sounds great doesn’t it, being paid to travel the world with your camera, filming exotic locales and meeting interesting people. But what is the reality of travel filmmaking. We talk to Mark Shea of overlander.tv about his own experience as a travel video producer.
Mark is one of the new breed of filmmakers, exploring the internet, as a medium for displaying his work.
Can you tell us about your own videos Mark, what you like making?
I’ve always enjoyed documentaries, real life, knowing how things work. I was sick of seeing celebrity driven travel programs that were nothing more than ads for the hotels etc featured in them. I wanted to get under the surface of a location, so I devised the ‘Meet a Local’ concept, whereby I interview a local person, asking them what they like about where they live.
I think the media portray certain regions of the world with unfortunate stereotypes. Poor, war torn Africa, the Middle East, full of terrorists. What I want to do with my ‘Meet a Local’ concept, is show viewers the wonderful diversity of the world’s cultures, but also how we are all still the same, and travelers can find hospitality anywhere.
You call your style ‘backpack filmmaking’, a one-man crew who does it all. How do you go about finding your stories?
I arrive in a location, and usually set myself a challenge of finding a story within 3-4 days. Sometimes I might have a theme I wish to follow related to the location I visit, but other times I have no idea what I am going to do a story about. I really love this aspect of my work, leaving it up to chance, just seeing what eventuates.
But your work is based so much on meeting locals, how do you go about meeting people in locations where you know no one.
I get out there, in the bars and on the streets. I talk to as many people as I can, trying to get a feel for what story would best represent the location I am in. I also use the internet, sites like couchsurfing.com and hospitalityclub.org, that encourage friendships between locals and visitors. This is particularly handy in countries where I don’t have a good grasp on the local language. Because people on these sites list the languages they speak, so I can seek out bi-lingual locals, to help me in my search for great stories.
Your concept is quite unique. Do you think there are opportunities for wannabe travel filmmakers, to do their own shows.
There is probably no better time to try your hand at travel video or any video endeavours for that matter. All you need is a laptop and a video camera, an internet connection, and you can upload your work to Youtube or other online video sites, and you have an instant worldwide audience.
Be creative, follow your passion, if fishing is your thing, try your hand at doing stories about fishing, if it’s food, do stories on local cuisine.
The hard question, how do people make money from their films.
Remember online video is all fairly new, a developing market. Youtube is the king of online video with the biggest audience. They like serial content providers, and are willing to support them by featuring their work. If you take a holiday and film hours of footage, and then edit it into short 3-5 minute films, uploading a video once a week. It won’t take long until people notice you.
Once you have a bit of a following, you can join the partner program where you share in advertising revenue from the ads featured on your video channel.
As an independent, it is then really up to you to take it further, sponsorship deals, free trips, providing your content to other websites or mediums (eg television)
And the best thing about Youtube, is that straight away you will know whether people like your work or not, by their comments, ratings etc.
So you use Youtube as a litmus test for your videos, to work out what people like?
Certainly, I usually know within 24 hours whether a video sinks or swims. And sometimes the comments people make about a video, will lead to me making subtle changes. As a filmmaker I have always been envious of musicians, who can perform live, and really interact with their audience. The Youtube community now provides this for filmmakers, feedback on your work.
I love watching creative user generated content on Youtube. At first the technology lead to people doing webcam vlog style content in their bedrooms. But thankfully people are leaving their bedrooms and doing stories on their neighbourhoods, and the natural progression of this, on their holidays.
What about video gear Mark, can you give us any advice?
Basically, you get what you pay for. For me, I try to get the smallest, lightest broadcast quality kit available. I don’t want to recommend any particular brands but my current kit includes a Canon XH- A1 High Definition camcorder, a MacBook Pro laptop using the Final Cut Pro editing suite software. I used a Sennheiser ME66 XLR professional shotgun microphone for sound, a lightweight Velbon CX-586 tripod and a small on camera light kit, the paglight C6. Work out what you want to do, and get a kit to suit your needs. My kit isn’t the be all and end all, but it currently suits what I am doing.
Biggest tip I can give up and comers is to not forget that filmmaking is an audio-visual medium. Don’t forget the sound, even if you have a small video camera, if you are doing interviews, it might be wise to invest in a hardwired lapel microphone.
I imagine filming around the world, you have found yourself in some hairy situations. How do you keep out of trouble.
I think it is important to be aware of local customs before pulling your camera out and filming. In some countries you can get in trouble for filming government buildings for example. Be discreet, if I’m filming street scenes, I want them to look at natural as possible, so generally I don’t want people knowing I am filming them. To do this I use the tripod and my camera’s long zoom lens, and if I see something interesting, I’m ready to put the camera to the shoulder quickly, and record, and sometimes, just as quickly move on.
Has there been any times you have had difficulties filming a story?
On numerous occasions, I remember when I did my Nimbin Story, Australia’s Alternative Capital, a current affair program had just done a story on the town, looking at it’s drug problems. There was one part of the street where dealers sold drugs. I was informed in no uncertain way, that if I filmed anything, my camera would be smashed. So I approached the biggest, meanest looking guy, who had his shirt off, and was covered in tattoos, and told him what I was doing, that I wasn’t interested in filming any drug deals. He appreciated my honesty, and agreed to act as my body guard while I filmed, stipulating I don’t film the laneway where the drug dealers congregated. So I got my shots, but I couldn’t use the audio, there were a few choice words being thrown my way, by the dealers in the laneway!
Are there any legal requirements filmmakers should consider when doing travel videos?
If you interview someone, get them to sign a release form. A release form states that an interviewee has given you permission to use their interview how you see fit. There are some standard release forms floating around the internet, so just do a search and make any changes depending on what you need.
Also, if you use any music in your videos, you should have permission from the artist to do this. It is also handy to get a release form if you are filming in a special location, like a museum, or at least ask whether they have restrictions on you using your footage.
Programs like Garageband, allow one to make their own music. It is great fun to use, and sometimes a video segment may only need 30 seconds of music, so worth playing around with.
Any final words Mark, advice for budding travel filmmakers.
Like anything, the more time you put into your films, the better they will become. But if you are going on a holiday, be aware, your travel videos may become all encompassing, taking up all your time and energy. This is not always the best formula for a happy holiday, if you are traveling with your partner or spouse!
So don’t let the video work get in the way of having a good time, and enjoying the location you are visiting. And remember, nothing will go as planned, this is part of the fun, just go with the ride, and make a story around what happens.
Travel filmmaking sounds quite glamorous, but it is a bit like those who work in hospitality, you are working, when everyone else is having fun. When I’m traveling, I don’t really get much time to just relax, I am constantly working. But for me, I really enjoy the challenge, and the best part is returning home and having a video reminder of my trips, the people I meet, and the places I see. And the reward is because of my work, I really have to set out to know and understand the culture of the country I am filming in, so it pushes me to meet locals, which is really what the true essence of travel should be, to understand the other, the tribe over the hill.
Ever had a dream to just travel the world?
On July 24th 2011 Aussie Filmmaker Mark Shea set off on a new journey with the goal to travel to each continent and make a living on the road.
Mark's motivation is to show that wherever he goes, He will find good people, passionate enough about where they live to show him round. To inform, entertain and inspire, learning about culture, customs and beliefs.
Exploring the new international world of Digital Nomadism Mark will produce videos while on the road, using lightweight High Definition equipment, and aims to survive solely on passive income made from his online ventures.
Countries visited so far:
*Indonesia *Singapore *Malaysia *Brunei *Philippines *Hong Kong *Japan *South Korea *North Korea *China *Laos *Cambodia *Thailand Mark has been travelling for 670 days 13 hours 4 minutes 12 seconds