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Mobile Video–A Guide to Shooting & Distributing

By Stephen Poff

Mobile Video–A Guide to Shooting & Distributing

If you learn to shoot and distribute mobile video, you will be able to generate engaging content that tells your story quickly, efficiently and authentically. Read time: 6 minutes

You might have noticed lately that your social media feeds are becoming more and more populated with videos. Video can be a powerful way of telling a story quickly and efficiently without actually saying a word. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram now auto-play videos while you’re scrolling through your feed. If you’re like me, you might never click to listen because the story either tells itself (like your favorite cat video) or the video has been captioned to allow you to read along. In fact, a lot of very popular videos these days don’t have any speaking or voice-over at all. And if they do, it’s subtitled. This is how we’re consuming a lot of videos now, and it’s not bothering your spouse at home, your neighbor in the next cubicle at work or the person in line with you at the bank. So considering that video has become such a big part of social media, the question is… how can you leverage it? For signature video projects that need to be developed with strategic objectives in mind (and have production values that mirror the quality of the experience a visitor will have in your destination), it's probably best to work with professionals. However, you still need fresh content on a daily basis, and if the video is one of the most powerful ways to deliver that content, how can your DMO generate this content in a compelling way with limited resources? The answer is probably in your pocket.

Enter mobile video

These days, we all have a pretty nice camera on our smartphones. We also have apps that will allow us to connect that camera to a world that’s waiting to watch! While there are a number of apps out there that will allow you to edit mobile video, cut something together, add titles, and more, in my experience, shooting mobile videos on your phone is about capturing a moment in time. It’s about sending a message as it’s happening. Editing on your phone is not only tedious, but it can also take away from the moment and make you second guess what you’re doing.

Take advantage of the moment

Facebook Live might be one of my favorite tools right now. It’s available to anyone with a smartphone, as well as some third-party devices! This trend is moving so fast that my drone actually has the capability of broadcasting my flights to Facebook Live (but that’s a story for another day). Facebook Live allows you to broadcast mobile videos at the moment. Think of the possibilities! Maybe your city is delivering a big announcement at a press conference. The news crew will (hopefully) have it edited and featured in a matter of hours, or you can (also) broadcast it live to your audience unedited. Is there an event going on downtown? Fire up Facebook Live and watch the band play a few bars or the parade march down the street. The beauty of this tool is that you don’t have to worry about editing or posting your content - once you’re done, you’re done. One cool feature is the ability to witness followers engaging with your video - watching the “likes” and “loves” and having the ability to respond to those who are posting comments in real-time. The interface is also fun when it plays back because you can see the comments and likes show up as you replay the video. And in my experience, there’s also a higher click-through rate to listen because viewers are wanting to be part of the moment.

Give them the thrills

Another great way to use your smartphone is by simply shooting a short entertaining mobile video. This is the beauty of videos designed for platforms like Instagram. They don’t have to be that complicated, they just need to be fun. Imagine shooting some first-person video of a ride down the new roller coaster or a newborn chimp at your local zoo. Maybe there’s a local championship whistler, or bird caller, or even that barista that makes everyone's day (and coffee). Think of (and also always be watching out for) all the interesting things to do or people to meet in your destination that can be daily vignettes. Or even better, work to crowdsource this content by challenging your board and staff to suggest or even record these videos. Then highlight them in social media videos that are 15 seconds or less!

Don’t be afraid to screw it up

We can all relate to authenticity. While it’s nice (and often appropriate) to see gorgeous footage of your city or town, we all know when we are being "advertised" to. But when we see someone being genuine, someone who is a cheerleader for their own place because they live there and believe in what they are saying, it doesn’t matter if they laugh in the middle of talking or take a pause to remember a word. People will connect with them because they are real. So don’t fret because you’re not carrying around a pro camera. The content is what’s most important. Churn it out and keep it interesting!

Pro Tip: Shoot it horizontal

It’s worth mentioning that TVs, projectors, computers and often tablets are viewed horizontally. You never know if what you’re going to shoot might end up on the big (or even small) screen at your next meeting, roadshow, on the visitors center’s television or even on the website. It would be a shame if it didn’t fit a standard TV format. So when possible, shoot your mobile video landscape.