By Melanie Lieberman
June 20, 2014

For the third year, Travel + Leisure's Social Media in Travel and Tourism (SMITTY) awards is recognizng the brands and companies transforming the industry with their online innovations (think digital concierges and exclusive social giveaways).

To help you leverage the digital boom on your next trip and cash in on the latest social currency, we tapped four platform experts for their outreach strategies and insider tips.

This week, Hollywood film director (and the man behind the SMITTY-award winning Virgin America in-flight safety tutorial) Jon Chu shows us how to give your homemade vacation videos blockbuster appeal.

How To Shoot Travel Videos People Want To Watch

“Landscapes are beautiful,” Chu says, “but you’re not making slideshows here!” Look for moments with movement – crowds of people, birds taking flight – or give a sense of scope by starting with a tight, close shot and panning out. “For me, that feels epic.” For help following the action, Chu advocates for a GoPro, and a drone for aerial shots.

Celebrate dust, broken focus, and flares. “Don’t be afraid of texture,” advises Chu. For added effect, try shooting in the 8mm app, or play with color grading in Chromic. Other add-ons you can’t leave home without? “A great mic is key – people often underestimate sound.”

“It should be personal,” Chu insists. Include the people you’re traveling with, or the people you encounter, in their natural environment. Communicate the essence of the location, or the emotion of your trip “Less reality show,” Chu adds, “more documentary.”

Check back every Friday this month for guides from award-winning director Jon Chu, Twitter’s Head of Travel Mike De Jesus, Renee Blodgett, founder of We Blog The World, and viral Instagrammer Cole Rise.

Melanie Lieberman is the Editorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites.