Do: Film at Waist-Height
Many of the do’s and don’t’s of vacation rental filming are similar to the Photography Tricks for Vacation Rentals. As was the case for taking photos, it’s recommended to film your shots from about the height of your waist. Videos that are captured from a higher angle tend to show too much ceiling and leave the rooms looking a bit disproportionate. In order to avoid this, keep the camera low.
Don’t: Make it Too Long
Perhaps the most common pitfall of vacation rental videos is the length. Hosts are generally conscious of a video’s length, but sometimes they overestimate the attention spans of travelers shopping for accommodations. While there may be a lot to show in a listing, chances are it can be condensed into a short video. As a general rule of thumb, shoot for the total length to be no longer than 1.5 minutes and each shot to be no longer than 5 seconds.
Do: Film with Excellent Lighting
Most experienced audiovisual professionals will tell you that lighting is by far the most interesting component in any video. And while lighting can get fairly complicated in some contexts, for vacation rentals it’s fairly straightforward — the more the merrier. Pull open the drapes, flick on the lights, and film during the brightest hours of the day. Another visually appealing strategy is to film in the early morning or around sunset to get the light coming in at an angle.
Don’t: Use Flashy Transitions
Transitions in between shots should be clean and minimalistic. Anything that’s too flashy — like the ripples or dissolving effects used in PowerPoint presentations — risk coming off as corny. When in doubt, stick to quick and clean transitions that don’t detract from what your spot is offering.
Do: Use a Subtle Slow Motion Effect
The timing and flow of a vacation rental video are some of the most important aspects to consider. If the video rushes through shots, it may not give enough credit to an accommodation. If it pans too slowly or is too repetitive, potential guests may jump ship to the next option.
For this reason we recommend using a subtle slow-motion effect. Investing in a high-speed camera (or borrowing one) that has slow-motion capacity will do wonders for your vacation rental. Aim for anywhere between 80%-90% of the shot’s true speed.
Don’t: Have too Many Shots of the Same Space
This one is pretty straightforward and aligned with the aforementioned point on the video’s length. Your go-to rule should be to not have more than 2-3 shots of each room. In order to get the most of each shot, consider implementing a panning method that shows more with less time.
Do: Have a Plan, Start with an Outline
Much like any piece of advertising content, a vacation rental video needs to tell a story. A video should guide a potential guest through the renting experience. Hosts can film as many beautiful shots as they want — but unless the scenes are pieced together in some kind of compelling order, the video may fall flat. Consider walking the video through the front door and have each ensuing shot connect to the last.
Do: Use Background Music that Fits
Music is another important component to take into account. Too often we see stunning vacation rental videos with a music choice that painfully misses the mark. When choosing a song, think about the type of vibe your listing portrays. Is it a relaxing beach getaway on a tropical island? Maybe instrumental reggae or some ethereal guitar. Is it a rustic urban flat in the American South? Maybe some nostalgic blues music. You get the point — do your best to create a cohesive theme with your background music. To help you out, here is a good list of royalty-free music to use for your video.
Do: Use the Neck Strap to Stabilize Shots
If there’s one truth in vacation rental video production, it’s this: expensive equipment is not necessary. One of the go-to pieces of equipment most professional photographers will use is a stabilizer. This keeps the jitteriness to a minimum and makes panning shots look clean and fluid. However, stabilizers can be expensive. One cheap alternative is to use your camera’s neck strap. Place the strap around your neck and extend the camera to make the strap taut. This tension will give a great stabilizing effect and keep your videos looking professional.
Do: Take Shots of the Surrounding Scenery
If there’s ever been a time to get your hands on a drone, it’s when filming a promotional vacation rental video. Reach out to friends and family to see if you can contract someone to spend an afternoon filming shots of the home, the neighborhood, and most importantly the surrounding scenery. Doing this will certainly take your video to the next level. In addition to showing off the nearby attractions, it also shows guests that you care about hosting and providing the best possible guest experience.
Do: Consider Using a Voice-Over
This tip should be taken with a grain of salt. Simple background music is the industry standard, but some hosts opt for voice-overs to add color. Narrating each shot with descriptions on amenities and how guests can make the most of each space can really help sell your property. That said, it’s a strategy that can easily backfire. If the recording equipment isn’t up to snuff, or if the voice is at all distracting from what the property provides, it can easily deter guests from making a booking. Consider making a draft and sending it to friends and family before going public.