3 keys to a smooth photo and video shoot at your golf property

Communication is the key to producing imagery for golf courses and resorts. With the ever expanding use of the Internet and social media for marketing and promoting your property, many of you—like Pinehurst Resort—are now shooing both video and still images in a one-off production day. Read More

With this in mind, here are 3 keys to a smooth production.

1. Begin with the end in mind

What end deliverable do you want? Clearly communicating that up front to your production company will save a lot of migraines down the line. For example, you might ask for:

  • Lower resolution stills for social media

  • High-resolution files for collateral and ads

  • Short video micro bursts for the Internet

  • 45-second sizzle video of your renovated course or clubhouse facility

  • Longer 1:30 video that captures the whole course

Every production requires various equipment to make the shoot a success, and knowing what’s expected is key—especially if you’re flying drones and shooting video.

For my three-year project with the PGA shooting their TPC courses, we had a clear understanding that each course needed all of their 18 or more holes shot, the practice areas, the clubhouse (including interiors), and certain specific amenities that ranged from shots of their chef and his signature salmon to a newly built fitness center and pool complex.

We also knew that after the shoot that 50 to 60 images would be selected, processed, and retouched for final delivery. Knowing the final deliverables ahead of the shoot is imperative. It’s tough to pull a slider, gib, bucket truck, or scaffolding out of your pocket. Plus, we’re often shooting each scene with three cameras for a cinematic look for some action shots.

2. Make sure everyone knows the production is taking place

I’ve shown up at great properties only to find out that they are in the middle of aeration, concrete work on the cart paths, or a shot-gun start on all of the holes for the biggest fund-raising event the course holds each year.

Before scheduling, knowing when, where, and how the shoot will go is a great place to start. But always begin with the “when”: dates and times. And you’ve got to hear from all the concerned parties that the course is ready to shoot. You can retouch for stills but video is another story—and a drone sees every questionable area from above like you can’t imagine.

Ideally, the general manager, director of golf, superintendents, and pro know what’s happening. But don’t stop there: also let the staff in the pro shop and the golf course crew know. Working around the early hard work that the course maintenance guys must get done is easy to do once again for stills but for video you have to keep them out of the footage. And that takes planning and communication.

3. Hire a creative professional who is also a great communicator

The last step that is key is to hire and work with a production company that understands its vital role in not just creating great imagery but communicating to everyone that’s part of the golf property—from top to bottom—what the plan is and how the shoot will go.

Expect a fair share of glitches and challenges. But a calm demeanor and respectful attitude to all the staff and crew is essential. And never discount the ability to communicate with the golfers who have arrived on your shoot date and are expecting a great round of golf—bogey and snowman free.

Being comfortable and understanding this dynamic will help you to work around all the various people and obstacles that may arise on a given production. Knowing when to buy a round of beers to smooth over egos and overly optimistic hackers is a key skill, too.

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