Create a Video Tour of your Garden
An online tour of your garden can be a fun way of keeping your visitors inspired and engaged. It also helps to raise money for charities that you care about, even if your event is postponed. Since the first lockdown, we have gone from zero to 150 garden videos in a year, and our YouTube channel gained a few hundred subscribers.
We have been using home-made videos created by our garden Openers to promote garden open days, raise money for our charities as well as raise awareness of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme’s mission. These videos brought smiles to many people’s faces, and we have received a lot of positive comments on how they helped our community through difficult time.
We are asking for donations from viewers, and this is bringing in small but steady amounts. We ask that you offer your garden videos for our general fundraising efforts to support Scotland s Gardens Scheme and our core beneficiaries as the totals raised for individual garden videos is looking too small to be worthwhile. If, however, you would like to raise for your charity please let us know - we’re happy to state this with your video and encourage you to promote it to others to increase donations.
Please send your videos and any video-related questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If possible, adhere to these specifications
Video length: 90-120 seconds
Audio: Voice over or ambient sounds
Orientation: landscape (horizontal)
Resolution: ideally full HD (1080p) but at least HD (720p)
Some great examples
You can hold your camera and go round your garden chatting about what you have here and there. In this example no one sees you – see Shepherd House video for a good example with talking and Kirkmuir Cottage as an example without talking.
You can also have someone else hold your camera on you as you walk around. Most of our videos don’t show the speaker, but we’ve a couple excellent ones where the Garden Owner is seen – see South Flisk and Hunter’s Tryst videos as popular examples.
Getting your device ready
Check that your camera or phone can take videos. Make sure you have enough storage on your device. A one-minute, high resolution video is about 200MB. You can make more room by removing unnecessary files or apps.
Stabilising your camera
Can someone hold a camera for you while you walk around the garden? If not, you can use a tripod or a table to stabilise your camera. If you don't have a helper, you could film as you walk, but try to keep your camera steady. Here's how to do it if you don’t have a tripod.
Getting the settings right
Record in full HD – this can be found in your camera settings.
Hold your phone horizontally (landscape orientation) and don't flip it during filming.
Clean your lens to remove fingerprints.
If possible, choose a bright day for filming.
Avoid filming when there is a lot of noise in the background.
What and how to film
Start with a wide shot - general layout of the garden to give a sense of place. Come a little bit closer to your favourite spots, the most abundant plants, unusual plants, lovely views, pond, greenhouse, specimen tree, smart solutions, compost heap, or all the things you are most proud of.
Follow up with a couple of close-ups. Then back to wide shot again, and medium, and a close-up. Continue in that manner.
Take long and slow shots. Trust me - you can never go too slow, but we all tend to move the camera too fast.
Don’t zoom in – it will result in poor quality and shaky, blurred video. Instead, pause your video and come closer, then hit the record button again.
Commentary and sound
Start with 15 seconds of silence and finish with 15 seconds of silence. Test your audio – if it's windy, or you are too far from your recording device, sound might get lost. Record a few short videos to see what works best.
Introduce yourself and say where in Scotland you are. Tell the viewers that you are raising money for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (or your selected charity), and why it is important to donate. Move on to comment on what can be seen in your garden. Things you might want to include:
How long have you been in this place?
What are your favourite parts of the gardens, what plants grow well here?
Is there anything special about your garden?
Are there any challenges (steep slope, heavy soil, high winds)?
What are you looking forward to in the garden this year?
If you prefer not to talk, use ambient sounds for your video. You can send us your commentary as text, or a separate audio file and we will include it. To help the audience focus on plants and keep the video natural, avoid adding music. If the background noise is bad - record again on a quieter day. If that’s not possible, leave to the office to fix instead of covering up with music.
Short videos work best and according to our YouTube analytics, people rarely watch past 2 minutes. Try to fit the tour in 90 seconds. If your garden has a lot of interesting features, dividing them into topics to include in separate videos is a good idea. They could be watched as a series.
You might want to record several short clips rather than one long video. We can help put them together.
How to send
We recommend sending your files via We Transfer. You can do it directly from your mobile or desktop. Just go to https://wetransfer.com and the website will take you through the steps. It's free (up to 2 GB), easy, and safe. No need to set up an account, you can send files without one. Please send them to email@example.com
Updated 22 February 2023