September 10, 2009

Hotelier Tips: 10 ways to prepare for a hotel video shoot

So you’re thinking about having a video made about your destination or maybe you’ve already hired a company to shoot it. Are you still unclear as to how it might go or what the crew will do once they arrive? Even if the producer has not given you any direction upfront, you can still prepare yourself and your staff members to ensure a smooth production shoot.

1. Before you shoot, make sure your property is “photo ready.” Just remember, that whatever is captured on camera has the possibility of being seen for years to come. If there are plans to change the drapes or comforters or if the property is undergoing renovations, we advise that you schedule the shoot immediately afterward, as everything will look brand new.

2. Before hiring actors, consider using some of the staff you already have. You might be surprised with their performance.

3. When the production crew is on your property for the very first time, be sure to give them a thorough tour of the grounds. Consider assigning a primary contact person just in case the production crew needs help or has questions during the production shoot.

4. Before filming starts invite the production crew to a brief staff meeting so that they may introduce themselves and briefly go over the production schedule. This will help with logistics and ensure that no one is caught off guard throughout the days of your shoot.

5. Upon check-in, notify all customers that a production is taking place. Even though they may not be filmed, have them sign the photo and video release form anyway. You never know, they might want to help out and be extras! If you have too many guests to keep track of inquire about group release forms.

6. Designate a secure room or area for the production crew to store their equipment. Any crew would appreciate such a gesture. Hauling heavy equipment from the parking lot and making multiple trips is never fun and could possibly interfere with the foot traffic of your guests.

7. Make sure your best-looking rooms with the nicest views are available to be filmed. This is especially true for properties on the ocean. You want to put your best foot forward and allow all of your grandeur to show.

8. If you want flashy scenes of beautiful people having dinner, we suggest filming restaurant scenes when it is either closed or when business is very slow. This is mainly true if you will be using models and extras. However, if you want a more natural feel then pick a good day when the restaurant will be full and lively. If you want nice cooking shots, make sure your chefs are available to prepare the dish and that the food being prepared adds a little pizazz to the shot.

9. If interviews are being conducted stage them in an ambiance-friendly location. In other words, make sure it is not near a busy street, a loud and splashy pool area, or in a heavily air-conditioned space with appliances that add their own soundtrack. You may not hear it at the time but if the editor is not good at cleaning audio, you may be in for a horrific treat. A good crew will make sure it’s done right.

10. Lastly, never rush your production crew. Ask anyone in the film industry. Lighting scenes properly and setting up shots is an art form. Crews that promise they can come in and shoot everything in one day will probably do just that. They will come in, film a few areas, and leave. That is a good thing right? Wrong.

We suggest allotting anywhere from three to five days for a shoot. It may sound like a long time to you but this will give them a cushion just in case it rains or if equipment is lost or broken in transit. This is also important if they are capturing surrounding areas highlight such as tourist attractions, events, or aerial views.

If your crew is coming from a far distance the first day could consist of touring locations, planning a shot list, obtaining proper permits, casting actors, designing interiors and prepping equipment. It can be exhausting. So be patient and let them produce the best video they possibly can for you because once they leave, they should never have to come back to pick up another shot. The more coverage the better.

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