People all over the country are putting up Christmas lights, decorating their lawns and Christmas is everywhere! So, have you thought about getting some of the dazzle on tape or disc yet?
Now is the time to break out your camcorder and just take a stroll around the neighborhood. Visit your city and get those great Christmas shots in the can. Then when the season comes around each year you will have plenty of winter and Holiday stock footage!
Here are some places to go find great shots:
• You local park
• Find a hayride
• Visit a Christmas flea market
• Find the folks in your town that really go all out and shoot their homes. Just drive by.
• Does your town have a historic district? Bet its lit up well!
• Christmas parades
• Christmas Festivals
• Local church nativity scenes
• Christmas cantatas
Right now is the time to consider this. Then you will have great shots for years to come!
Now, here is a little marketing idea for you. Create a Christmas DVD of all the best decorated homes in your town! From now till Christmas drive to the homes of those in your town who have really put time into their display. Be bold and knock on their door camcorder in hand and ask them if you can feature their home in a DVD you are producing of Christmas lights in your town.
Offer them a FREE Dvd if they participate. Be sure to get their name, address and phone number. Then take a few minutes to shoot their home. Shoot several shots, wides, closeups and very close. Be sure to mention the home you are shooting on the audio of the tape so you don't get footage mixed up.
Now do this to about 15 or 20 homes. Most people would love to have their home featured, they put a lot of time, money and effort into decorating and this is recognition for them! Plus they do it every year!
Take the footage you shot and compile a DVD of Christmas music with scenes from your hometown. You have almost a whole year to make the DVD so don't rush. You can get Christmas music from royalty free music companies like digitaljuice.com and others. Then next year when Christmas season starts put out some fliers at local convenient stores, video rental places and anywhere you can, offering a beautiful DVD of Christmas lights from right in your home town! They will sell like hotcakes! Start right after Halloween and begin marketing the disc.
Put up a web site and have an email address folks can contact you, or even a place to order online! But be sure to get the word out to townsfolk too. An ad in your town newspaper and anywhere there is a public bulletin board are good places to post a flier.
All those folks that let you shoot their homes? Send them the first batch and their word of mouth advertising will help you, plus they get a DVD with their Christmas display featured!
Heres how to edit the DVD:
Create a nice graphic greeting for the beginning with titles, something like "Holiday Greetings", "Christmas in Sometown, USA!"
Then fade to black and back up and mix about 3 to 4 minutes of each home. Be sure to title under the footage the owners of the home and address. This way folks who view the DVD will be able to go see the homes themselves and people love to drive out to watch Christmas lights.
Feature each home for about 3 to 4 minutes with a song or instrumental music underneath. Cut out the audio on the tape and just use music. (Royalty free) Then dissolve from home to home. You want to fill up about an hour. Each home should get three to four minutes, or the length of a music track so shoot plenty of footage of each home. When you master the DVD set the menu to replay so if a viewer plays the DVD it will auto repeat. This makes it a great background to be playing during a holiday party or family get-together!
End it with some credits about producing it and who helped, then thank all the families who let you shoot their lawn.
Next year when you advertise it you can;
• Include a map with each home so drivers can find them easily
• Be sure to emphasize that these are homes in your hometown
• If you want to do it again, put a disclaimer in the credits, "To be featured in our next DVD please contact..."
• Ask local stores if you can put some out for sale on their counter.
• Visit your local TV station early and get interviewed about the project, then show some of the footage. Your local TV station will be looking for local holiday programming. This may be a blurb on your local news or an actual sit down interview.
• If your town has a Christmas fair or festival, ask if you can get a booth then sell copies.
• Advertise that the DVD is a great holiday program for family visits, parties and company parties.
• Also mention that it makes a great gift for anyone who is living out of town or may miss their hometown. And military folks overseas during the holidays too! It will be a little bit of their home town for them to cherish and remember!
• Make a few extra copies and keep them with you. When you are out and about shooting for the next season give one to the new family that agreed to let you shoot their home. It is a good way to get folks interested. Of course you will want to send a few to your friends and family too!
Christmas lights are everywhere and people are proud of the display they set out each year. Some people spend thousands on lights, ornaments and other display items. Most will be happy to have a free DVD and bragging rights that their home was featured in a show!
So, polish off that dusty camera and shoot Christmas. Or just get some footage for yourself. Either way you will end up with some great shots!