How to Make a Great Promotional Video for Your Business

Videos are a great way to show potential guests all that your property has to offer. Based on conversations with owners who have created their own videos, we have put together some tips to help you make professional-looking footage and highlight the best aspects of your business.

How do I start?

Before you begin making your video, decide which areas of your property you want to highlight. Consider what sets you apart from the competition and create a video that focuses on these features.

Storyboarding, or sketching out your desired images in sequence, is a great way to visualise your content before you pick up your camera. It is also helpful to shoot a “rough draft” that can be used to fine-tune your ideas and execution. Small, subtle improvements and a little rehearsal can dramatically improve your final product.

What equipment do I need?

Camera

Perhaps the most important factor in determining the quality of your video is your choice of equipment, beginning with the camera. There are essentially two kinds of devices: dedicated video cameras and digital cameras/mobile phones. If you are looking to shoot professional-quality promotional video, it is preferable to use a dedicated video camera.

Tripods

Using a tripod while you shoot is strongly recommended. This basic accessory can mean the difference between amateur and professional quality video. Even an inexpensive tripod can do the trick; as long as it prevents the camera from shaking, it will do wonders for your final product.

Audio

You will need to decide if your video will have background music or if it will feature somebody speaking directly to the camera. Keep in mind that people from different countries will view your video and may not understand the language in which your voiceover is recorded.

If you do decide to have a speaker, it is probably worth investing in a microphone. Many video cameras have an omnidirectional microphone that pick up all nearby noise. Often, they pick up unwanted details, such as gusts of wind. An external microphone that plugs into your video camera allows you to have greater control over what sound is recorded and its quality.

How do I make my video look as professional as possible?

Lighting

One of the most vital considerations to filmmakers is the quality and directionality of their lighting. Before hitting the “record” button, take a good look at your surroundings and make sure that you are receiving adequate light.

Shooting indoors gives you more control over your surroundings, but you need adequate light. If necessary, reinforce your setting with additional, balanced light that looks natural, bright and avoids unflattering shadows. Your best bet is to shoot a test scene and adjust as necessary. Viewers should not be able to tell that you have supplemented the light.

In general, shooting outdoors is simpler. Just take a quick look through your lens to make sure that the sun compliments your subjects, rather than dominates them. Time of day can play a tremendous role in the quality and atmosphere of your video. There is a term in photography known as the “golden hour” that favours shooting during the first and last hour of sunlight because it provides a flattering, tranquil glow.

Camera Movement

Try not to move the camera while shooting - it generally does more harm than good. Unless there is a clear reason why it needs to move, keep the camera steady and let the action play out on-screen. Panning, or shifting the camera horizontally, is acceptable when necessary, but do your best to keep the camera from wobbling (again, a tripod is invaluable). Try to avoid sudden or jerky camera movements. Lastly, avoid walking while filming. This seldom yields a favourable result.

How do I edit my video?

Special Effects and Transitions

Well-shot footage usually requires little in the way of special effects. Transitions such as a fade, dissolve or pan may be a good way to join two clips together, but choose wisely. Don’t get too fancy - over the top transitions can compromise the quality of an otherwise outstanding promotional video. The simplest method is usually best and leads to the most professional looking result.

Background Music

When selecting music to accompany your video, consider the message you want to convey. When properly used, music has the ability to reinforce the content of your video and can be extremely powerful. Try different songs until you find the right match.

Take into account your target audience and your location. If your property is all about relaxation, peace and tranquility, then choose music that reflects this atmosphere. If your clientele are younger and looking for a social scene, your music choice can be more upbeat and lively.

Get Feedback

Once you have edited your video and have a finished product, show it to your colleagues. Listen to their feedback and consider any changes that they suggest. After working on your video for a while, you may reach a point where it is difficult to remain objective, and outside opinions can be helpful.

Software and Online Tutorials

Many video cameras will come bundled with some sort of standard video editing software, which should be adequate for your needs. Alternatively, some computers have video editing software pre-installed. For example, if you have a Mac, you most likely have iMovie. If you need to purchase software, check online and at your local electronics store.

If you need further instructions on creating your promotional video, there is a wealth of online tutorials. While searching the internet, be sure to include your software along with your question. While programs yield similar result, processes can vary dramatically from application to application.

How do I put my video up on Tripadvisor?

Encoding

Video on Tripadvisor is displayed in Flash at a resolution of 320x240. Regardless of how your content is encoded prior to uploading, we will re-encode it to meet our specifications. Please keep in mind that each video must be:

  • Less than 100 MB in size
  • 10 minutes or shorter
  • In AVI, Quicktime, Windows Media or MPEG4 file format
  • Family-friendly

Uploading

In order to upload video to Tripadvisor, please follow these steps:

  • Log into the Tripadvisor Management Centre (Currently this must be done through our English language sites so please log in there to upload your videos)
  • Select “Manage your Tripadvisor page” and then “Add/update videos” 
  • Follow the on-screen instructions: title your video, describe it, and confirm your property name by clicking “Yes”. Then, click “Choose File” to select your video, check the box to confirm you have permission to post it, and click “Upload my video” to submit.
  • If your video meets our formatting and family-friendly guidelines, it will appear online within 5 days.

Questions?

For questions about video, send an email to video-support@tripadvisor.com.

Last Updated: 26 July 2013