Tools That Help Make DIY Video Clips Easy

Jonathan Murray —  October 5, 2013

"iPad and iPhone" by Sean MacEntee (CC BY 2.0)If you caught MyVR’s presentation at the HomeAway Summit earlier this year, you’ll know I’m a fan of video; we included it on our list of minimal-effort activities that can have a medium-to-high impact on your marketing efforts.

I believe video can be quick, engaging and memorable. While professional video can be well worth the investment, even brief “home videos” can inspire wistful desire in would-be guests.

More than half of Americans own smartphones and chances are good that you have a video camera nearby — if not on your phone, then a digital camera with video capability.

Devices and tablets make working with digital video much more accessible than it has been in the past, from complex tools to basic apps that all but walk you through the process from start to finish. Here are a few of the more popular options.

Instagram, Vine and Viddy

Instagram (free; available on Android and iOS) and Vine (free; available on Android and iOS) are similar apps that are best used for creating short ‘teasers’ that highlight your space. As this comparison by TechCrunch highlights, Vine provides basic options while Instagram offers easy enhancements.

Both apps require you to use your smartphone to take the video. While Instagram allows 15-second videos with filters and image stabilization, Vine videos are limited to six seconds with no features for fancy editing. However, Vine videos replay automatically and can easily be embedded into your website.

Viddy (free; available on Android and iOS) is another smartphone app that’s comparable to Instagram, with 15-second videos and filters. But it also offers a few more features–like the ability to add a soundtrack, or import videos from your photo album (which means you don’t need to use the app itself to capture video).

These clips aren’t long, but can still be used to give people a taste of what to expect. You could

iMovie and Magisto

For videos that stretch longer than just a few seconds, apps like iMovie ($4.99; available for iOS) and Magisto (free with paid options available; available on Android and iOS) give you a broader range of editing options: soundtracks and special effects, titles and transitions. If you’re creating a longer video, you may find it helpful to review these video tips and best practices.


When it comes to creating video, animated slideshows generally aren’t your best option; it’s easy for them to be too long, static and unengaging. However, Prezi (free with paid options available; cloud based) is a popular option that lets you add life to still photos and graphics through an interactive interface that’s part diagram and part slideshow.

You can also add video to your Prezi, like this example from Telluride Vacation Rentals, or music, as in this presentation highlighting travel options in Maine.

These are just a selection of the many different options and applications available. Do you have a favorite? Have a presentation you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Jonathan Murray

Jonathan Murray


Before starting MyVR, he co-founded Lift Media (acquired), a lead generation company that worked with clients like American Express, Netflix, and Fandango. He started MyVR after being frustrated with setting up his own Sonoma cottage as a vacation rental. He studied engineering at Bucknell University and received his MBA from Stanford University.
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