Dive Shop Video Marketing : it pays for itself

Dive Shop Video Marketing:

A dive shop video production project explained.

Professional video production for a struggling dive shop can seem to be a mystical and unattainable thing. This is not the case. Dive shop video marketing is easy and affordable and it's a good investment.

Pete Bucknell explains: 

Professional looking videos pay for themselves in no time. The biggest barrier that dive shops face when trying to market themselves using video, is their own fear of the unknown: "will this video create more business for the shop?"

Think about the economics of it: if  two new students see the 'open water training video' and signs up, then the video has almost paid for itself already. One dive club signs up for a cenote trip, and the dive shop is already ahead. And video is the gift that keeps on giving! Once you have videos, they are good for a few years. Dive shop video marketing is really a no-brainer if you know how straight forward it can be with the right video producer.

Here's my account of my most recent shoot: a series of four promotional videos about the services offered by a dive operation based in Mexico's Playa del Carmen which would take me a week to shoot. A little less than two days per video.  

Before arriving for the shoot, the dive shop and I had decided which services to highlight using promotional videos, and we lined up some appropriate classes and dives to film. So I just tagged along with the shop's existing dive schedule, adding a couple of sessions for shooting equipment and to get shots of the dive shop.

The dive shop wanted to push four areas of the business:

  • DSDs
  • Cozumel day trips
  • Cenote Dives
  • Cave Training

The owner flew me down on his miles and organized some accommodation for me, and we were up and running. I brought my larger land video camera down to Mexico in addition to my various underwater rigs. My equipment packing list was very 'camera-heavy'. All I had to bring was my drysuit, a computer and a mask (and about 70 lbs of video gear). I borrowed the rest of the dive gear from the dive shop. Shooting on 'open circuit' using a side mount rig was the most convenient way to film in the Mexican caves and cenotes, using a back mounted single for the ocean stuff.

Capturing the land drills and featuring certain equipment required high production value, so tripods, a slider, lenses, lights and a business like attitude were needed to get the desired results in the allotted timeframe.

The 'Discover Scuba Diving' video took a couple of days to film and involved a pool session and two boat dives. The visibility for our ocean dives was not particularly good, but a bit of editing made everything look very inviting. Watch the video: DSD Video
dive shop video marketing

The Cozumel video was even simpler with just two boat dives. The father and son weren't very experienced divers, so I had to carefully choose the moments when they were looking their best in the water and work with that. Watch the Cozumel Video

dive shop video marketing

The Cenote diving shoot took two days with a few different clients. We had four locations which gave me the opportunity to capture all the things that people hear about, and I used full cave equipment so the dive shop didn't have to pay for my entrance to the cenotes.  Watch the Cenote Diving Video

Photo by Pete Bucknell
The cave video was to serve as a promotional for the three courses that lead a diver to become fully cave certified. A cave course is an intense, multi-day journey that every cave diver has made on their way to becoming a certified cave diver. Capturing the essence of this experience in a video that runs under two minutes was the goal.

For the land footage, a little acting was required of the instructor and 'students' to get the multiple takes and angles required to make the video compelling. The 'students' were, in fact, already fully certified. There's really too much going on in a full cave course to add the pressure of a camera and video lights to the experience.

Shooting outside in the Mexican sun needs neutral density filters and some color correction, so there was a great deal of work to be done after returning home. The outdoor footage took us a morning, leaving the whole afternoon to start with the the underwater footage.

Shooting in a cave with specific footage in mind takes a small amount of focused planning. We shot a couple of dives per day, taking about two and a half days to shoot. Having the student repeat some of the navigation action for extra angles was vital, and the pace of the dives was significantly different given that I had to swim ahead to prepare shots.
Video by Pete Bucknell
Watch the Cave Training Video
The results were very satisfying for everyone and the videos are doing their job on youtube and Facebook.

I hope this breaks down the barriers for readers who are involved in the dive industry.

Hope to see you underwater.

Pete Bucknell

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