The Evolution of Tourism Media's Automated Text Content Creator

It started out in 2015 as a simple way to replace the boilerplate text on some of our clients’ lesser-known destination pages. Not long after, our automated text content creator grew into a method of generating extremely large volumes of accurate, engaging and SEO-friendly travel copy.

At Tourism Media, we call this Enigma.

Using a home-grown and ever-evolving CMS – along with a specialised team of writers and editors – we’ve created a system that can generate masses of copy for a select group of clients. Enigma can enlighten readers about breathtaking tourist attractions, unforgettable experiences, exotic meals and local ingredients; it can recommend the best budget and upmarket accommodations, and assist with many other aspects of the travel experience.

Not to mention, Enigma can generate this copy for any and all destinations in the world, from bustling megacities to rural hubs – from coastal resorts to dusty, isolated towns.

It all started out with spreadsheets, data, some custom algorithms, and a wing and a prayer. Fortunately, this yielded surprisingly good results.

Over the last two years we’ve had to invent new methods of writing and copyediting; we’ve created new CMS tools and harvested data from all over the world. We’ve overcome countless less-than-desirable copy outputs and expanded from just English to supporting more than 20 languages.

The road ahead will bring more and more improvements as we strive to perfect a method of content building that can be tailored to any style and audience.

To learn more, get in touch and we can provide you with examples and discuss your specific needs.

5 Tips For Touching Up Your Travel Video Content

Here’s 5 tips for touching up your travel video like the professionals.

After countless hours of shooting and editing together your video footage, It’s time to move the production into the colour grading suite and begin making those clips shine. The colour grading stage is one that should never be overlooked, even if you’re shooting on a DSLR.

So, here are 5 handy tips that I’ve learnt along the way to help improve your colour grading techniques and make your video content sing.

1. Shoot Flat and Reintroduce

Although it may be an obvious one, this is the most important place to start…
When shooting your video content keep a close eye on your video scopes, it is always a good idea to shoot your images with a flat picture profile to retain as much information as possible. You wan to make sure you capture all highlights and lowlights without over or underexposing. This will result in a flat image, a blank canvas for you to begin your colour grade, to reintroduce and creatively enhance your content.

2. Different colours can affect your audience.

When adjusting your lift, gamma and gain colour controls remember that even the slightest adjustment can change your audience’s feelings towards the frame. An adjustment into the colder tones can make the audience feel like the clip is cold and isolated, while warmer tones evoke feelings of energy and sunny days. You want to examine at your colour grade in context with the clip, for example if you have a windswept desert, highlighting cold tones may conflict with the audience’s perception of the shot and throw their attention.

3. Don’t be afraid to use a few power-windows.

When colour grading your shots, remember that the audience’s eye will be wandering over your frame, it is your job to help guide the audience’s attention to key parts of the image. Whether it be the grand canyon or a painting in a gallery, using a few power windows to boost the exposure, contrast or saturation can help guide the viewer attention to the more interesting parts of your frame.

4. Don’t fight the image.

One easy trap to fall into is overgrading or fighting your image too much. Sometimes if your shot is too underexposed or shot at too high of an ISO it can be hard if not impossible to save the image using colour correction/grading and denoise tools. If your images were captured at different times of days you can try and match shots in colour grading but sometimes the way the light falls is too different and it is best to veto the shot all together.

5. Remember to trust your eyes… and the scopes.

Of all the tools you have at your disposal, there is none better than your eyes. After you have carefully adjusted your exposure and colour tones the best way to see if your new grade is working is by watching your clips back and observing how the sequence looks as a whole. Keep in mind that if it looks strange to you, it may look strange to your audience. Remember for a guideline you can always to refer to your video scopes. If you have wild jumps appearing in your parade or histogram it could be an indication that your image exposure or tones are not matching.

Our intrepid photographer Jon visits Brisbane

Jon Reid has been shooting photos and videos for Tourism Media and Expedia since 2012. He’s captured everything from the world’s greatest cities to remote national parks and has visited most continents.

The talented South African photographer is based in London, but because his work takes him all over the world, he’s hardly ever there. As a young father, Jon has found the ideal solution to combine all the loves of his life: Whenever he can, he is taking his partner and two toddlers with him.

Having worked so closely together for years and having seen his travel pictures (and selfies!) in our inboxes on an almost weekly basis, we all felt that we knew Jon, but few of us had ever actually met him.

So, when he was on holiday in Australia with his family, we invited them to our weekly Friday barbecue. Jon and Tina, with three-year-old Caleb and one-year-old Aliyah in tow, had just come back from a trip to Bundaberg, Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach. They were impressed with how easy it is to spot Australia’s iconic wildlife and also commented on how friendly and laid-back the Aussies are. One guest house owner even lent them her own 4WD to get the best pictures of the different coloured sand layers of the aptly named Rainbow Beach.

During lunch, Jon immediately started asking about where to get the best shots of Brisbane. Since he had just arrived and this was his holiday, we must have looked bewildered. Tina explained: “That’s how it usually goes. As soon as we get to a new place, Jon wants to go out and capture it.”

Testing the new Sony A7R II

Jon generously offered to share his knowledge with some of the budding photographers and videographers at Tourism Media. Our digital photo & video expert Sawyer drove him to one of Brisbane’s most famous views: the location where all the news channels go to broadcast live presentations from Queensland’s capital. From the Kangaroo Point cliffs, you can see the Brisbane River and the botanical gardens against the backdrop of the city skyline.

In order to establish if we can upgrade to higher-resolution 4K shoots in the near future, Jon was testing a new Sony A7R II, using a slider and several filters to capture the sunset on this stormy Saturday. While he is impressed by the cameras dynamic range, he’s reserving his verdict until he has tested it on everything from the finer details of museum exhibits to panoramic nature shots. We’ll keep you posted where his next photo and video shoot will bring him and reveal his final product review…

Photo Editing: 5 Tips To Improve Your Travel Photos

There comes a time, after your long weeks away photographing exotic places, to sit down and begin post-processing your travel photos. While composition and timing are considered the cornerstone of good travel photography, there is no step more important than photo editing.

Photo editing encompasses everything from file sorting, colour grading, spot removal and photo outputting. It’s an extensive and often long process but if done right, your travel photos will look ten times better than before.

Here are some tips to help you improve your post-processing:

Keep Your Photos Neat and Tidy

Sorting and filtering your travel photos is a very important part of the process, keeping your folders and files organised and labelled correctly will be very beneficial when looking back at them at a later date.

Pick Interesting Shots

Keep in mind that you’re trying to tell a story about the place when you’re shooting/producing, you want to provoke an emotional response and connect with the person viewing your images.

For example: a human element in frame (the following shot would have been dull without the human element).

Levelling and Exposing

Good exposure and levelling is crucial when it comes to post production. You must be careful that you don’t blow out any highlights or blacks, this can look too harsh and moody to the eye, you want to keep your travel photos looking neat and clean with an easy rolloff of contrast.

Setting correct levels can have a great effect on the overall image.

Saturation and Vibrance

When shooting on your trip, you should be shooting a flat colour profile so you can capture as much information as possible in your photo.

Saturation and Vibrance are pivotal to remember when re-introducing colour into your photos. This being said, it is very easy to overdo and going over the top will distract from the subject and usually  isn’t very aesthetically pleasing.

White Balance

White balance can change the ‘mood’ or ‘feel’ of the image drastically. A cooler white balance can denote a feeling of calm and tranquility while a warmer white balance can make the viewer feel a sense of energy and comfort. Keep this in mind when post producing your images and don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit!

With all these elements combined you can help bring your photos to life and create truly evocative and inspired works.