Old town Bluffton to star in video

astice@islandpacket.comNovember 27, 2011 

Jacob Preston, also known as Bluffton's tallest potter, is about to become even more of a local celebrity.

The owner of Preston Studio in old town is the host of the first video WHHI-TV is creating for the Old Town Bluffton Merchants Society.

Preston has previoulsy starred in videos produced by the merchants society that have aired on its website and on public access television.

But the new 30-minute spot is more elaborate, Preston said.

"It's a powerful piece of propaganda," he said.

Filmmakers from the station have been in Bluffton for the past several weeks, capturing footage and interviewing old town merchants.

The video, slated for release in January, will air on WHHI-TV at least once a day, seven days a week, according to station general manager Wayne Morris.

It will be shown on televisions in hotels room and rental villas in southern Beaufort County. The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce also will feature it on its website, which receives more than 1 million visitors a year, according to chamber spokeswoman Charlie Clark.

"Travelers are doing more looking and booking online," Clark said. "The most important thing they want to know is what they can do and what they can see."

The new feature does more than showcase old town businesses and their wares, as some past videos have done, said Charlene Gardner, owner of Four Corners Framing on May River Road.

In those, filmmakers went door-to-door and vendors plugged what they sold.

"While that information is important, it was a little boring," Gardner said. "Visitors would rather hear a little bit of dialogue from the merchant as to what's interesting about shopping in old town or what restaurants you might recommend or what they should do when they first get here."

The new video highlights historical sites and shows visitors how to take their own walking tours guided by recently installed informational kiosks and directional signs, society board member Laura Silberman said.

The video's January release will coincide with new maps the merchants society is printing featuring restaurants, shops, galleries and other points of interest.

WHHI-TV is available on Time Warner Cable Channels 3 and 150 and Hargray Cable Channel 200. It reaches about 53,000 households.

Follow reporter Allison Stice at twitter.com/BlufftonBlogIP.

Related content:

Heyward House increases visitors to old town Bluffton, Nov. 21, 2011

Kiosks planned to guide visitors around old town Bluffton, Jan. 29, 2011

Bluffton accommodation-tax revenues up 31 percent over a year ago, Aug. 3, 2010

Merchants hope to put Old Town Bluffton on the map -- literally, Aug. 8, 2009

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