How to Film a Video Walkthrough of Your Boat for Sale

When it’s time to sell a boat, even in today’s hot marketplace, you want your listing to stand out. And you want to attract only serious buyers. The best way to do that is to provide the most accurate depiction of your boat for sale. The best way to do that? Video. Video listings are the most sought-after by today’s buyers, and today’s smartphones are more than adequate to do the job. At Boats For Sale, we provide the opportunity for you to upload a video to our user-friendly listings for free. Videos provide accurate views of the floorplan, boat condition, and accessories, and give the buyer a better feel for the boat’s size, stature, and overall look and feel, so a buyer can make a fair assessment before visiting the boat for a sea trial, which wastes far less of your time. Simply put, a listing with a video makes your listing sell more quickly. Here are some tips on shooting the best video walkthrough of your boat.

Prepare your boat for its film debut

Wash, repair, buff, shine and declutter.

Let your boat truly shine. By cleaning it up first, the buyer gets a clear picture of the boat’s condition. Removing accessories and equipment you’re not going to sell not only showcases more of the deck, cabin and console, it also allows the buyer to get a full view of the boat’s interior and exterior. You also want the buyer to imagine themselves in this boat as their own, not in your boat, so depersonalization is essential to filming the most effective video. 

Shoot in landscape mode

Be sure to flip your phone on its side to get a wide view of your boat.

Landscape mode is when you turn your phone 90 degrees to shoot wide. Not only does this cover more view of the boat at a time, it lends itself much better to your listing page and computer screen. Moving very slowly and standing back as far as you can are ideal. The potential buyer can get a much better idea of the layout flow and the details of your boat for sale when shot from this perspective.

Shooting in landscape mode allows a greater field of vision of your boat for sale. Turn that smarphone 90 degrees before you begin recording.

Do a true walkthrough of the boat

Plan and rehearse the video to optimize a natural exploration of the boat.

When you map out your video, plan to begin with a walk around the exterior. Slow and steady — nothing is worse than a blurry video that jolts back and forth. Board the boat and take the buyer through as if they were exploring it for the first time. Take time to open storage cabinets, doors to the head and cabins. Spend time showcasing the (clean) engine and other mechanics. Demonstrate the care and maintenance you performed. Give them time to imagine your boat as their boat. 

Pro tip: do not move the camera. You already have movement from walking around, so keep the camera still and pointed in one direction and move your body to inspect various details instead of panning the camera with your arm. Do not use zoom in and out while filming as it will make the viewer dizzy. If you want to move closer to detail, physically move closer. Another note. If you are shooting a smaller boat, you may consider using a wide-angle setting for the video. If you do, be sure to mention it in the listing. While a wide-angle lens does a great job of avoiding the close-up limitations of a regular zoom in tight quarters, it also makes the boat look larger than it is.

Consider editing the video

Smart editing allows for a good-looking video at a reasonable length and file size.

Depending on the features of your smartphone or computer, quick video editing is easy. Right on your phone you can trim the beginning and end and crop the video. And if you have the time and ability, you can merge several video clips of several areas of the boat in one to minimize length. This will also save you upload time. We recommend a video between 30 and 90 seconds to maintain buyer interest and keep it easily uploadable. 

Shoot your video in the right setting

Situate your boat against an ideal backdrop with adequate natural lighting.

Shoot in daylight. Natural light is the best for video capture. This is also most likely when people will be on board, so it’s a best match for how they will see and enjoy the boat themselves. If you need more light for certain areas below deck, you can rent additional lighting that’s affordable and easy to use from a local photography rental shop. 

As far as the setting, don’t shoot the boat up on blocks in its storage location. Aim to shoot it while in or near the water. Set the scene. 

The ultimate goal is to make the buyer want to put themselves in your place.
For the Win

Add a video of your boat under way.

To truly make the most of your video listing and enchant buyers looking for a boat, the icing on the cake is showing the boat while it’s doing its thing. Set up a fixed tripod from the console to give a captain’s view. Have someone shoot your boat leaving or coming into the dock, or cruising nearby. A drone shot filming above? Masterful! Just try to be sure you stay out of the shot or at minimum are not the focus. The whole point of the under-way video clip is to set the stage for the buyer to put themselves in your place.