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King Of The Real Estate Walk-Through Video

September 13th, 2010

If you are into real estate video Fred Light just did an article for Videomaker.com you should have a look at. The article summarizes Fred’s successful approach to shooting real estate videos.

One of the things I think Fred does especially well is the walk-through-video. I use to hate walk-through-videos but Fred’s style of doing them has been growing on me over the last several years. This particular recent walk-through-video I think shows off Freds style very nicely. Fred uses a Merlin Steady CAM and is very practiced with it. Look at the video  of him walking up the stairs? This is harder than it looks!

Another aspect of Fred’s work that I think is very significant but he doesn’t even mention it in his article is this narration skill. His great narration would make a valuable sound track for any kind of tour but works especially well for video. Professional narration is a 50% of the impact of Fred’s tours. Fred, I hereby crown you the king of the real estate walk-through real estate tour!

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24 Responses to “King Of The Real Estate Walk-Through Video”

  • The intro and outdoor portions are amazing. The narration is great, and the smooth “flow” style is really nice.

    I still think that indoor video is horrible, compared to panos/stills. The shots are just too tight to get a feel for the inside and the lighting causes exposures to alternate between blown-out and way-too-dark.

    I think mixed-media is really the best way to showcase a home.

  • I just want to drag that screen to one side and have control over what I am looking at. You are right on in respects to the narration. I imagine it would take me a week to produce something like this. Perhaps if a client could bay $1500, and well they should, the learning curve could be dealt with. Bottom line for me is that it is not that much better than stills for getting the message across. It is too long and difficult to deliver to the end user while they are searching ie. Realtor.com or IDX.

    Perhaps the technology is coming around the corner where we could put together something like this.

    http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2010/01/world/haiti.360/index.2.html

  • I’m with Larry on this one – this style is growing on me, and I really used to hate the video walkthrough. In fact, I wouldn’t mind trying it out one day soon, well, as soon as Nikon comes out with a d800 that records in 1080p. The only quibble that I have is the length, which really is pretty minor considering the quality. All in all I think it’s fantastic, and definitely provides enough data and observational material to buy sight unseen. I imagine the quality would be remarkably lower if the residence has a dark interior, with dark appliances? I could see the camera exposure really flying off the handle; but here, it really works!

    Well done,
    Dan

  • 7 minutes is far too long.

  • I guess the commenters so far haven t digested Fred s rationale for his walk through videos.
    He reasons that their primary purpose it to flesh out a property for potential buyers that are already interested in the home. If you were really interested in buying the home then a 7 minute extensive walk through video makes perfect sense. If you don t actually want to buy that home then yes; it s terminally boring, by Fred s own admission.
    Fred also turns a lot of these out very quickly and at a low cost, so the continuous walk through + auto exposure is the way to make it viable.

  • The statistics are unequivocal — buyers don’t give a crap about video. And no one is going to sit through a 7 minute walkthrough unless they’re already in love with the house. It’s clear that the purpose of a property video is to stroke the ego of the sellers. And if that’s what it takes for agents to get listings, OK. But to claim that ordinary buyers are evaluating a house based on this? Baloney.

  • I have used Fred’s services for over 10 years and there is no one better than him and no one will even come close to his pricing. Without a doubt, his work is a big part of my success in Real Estate. I do agree that some of the videos are long but it only feels that way because I have seen too many of them and I am not in the market to buy a property. However, customers LOVE his work regardless if they are buyers or sellers and yes, they watch the whole thing over and over again without ever getting bored. Unequivocally, buyers have bought my properties based solely on Fred’s videos. One of these buyers was sitting on his couch in Dubai, United Arab Emirates watching a video tour of a property I had listed in Windham, NH and within a couple of days made an offer and closed on the home sight unseen.
    There is NO real estate agent that doesn’t want a video tour for their listing! They are either too cheep or do not have the financial resources to pay for them. I find it massively unprofessional of those people to shoot down Fred’s (or any other professional in this field) work because they are afraid that a seller might request a video tour they would have to pay for. In conclusion, real estate agents should use ANY and ALL recourses available to market and a sell a property as quickly as possible for the highest prices. That is in the best interest of the sellers and that is our job! Property Video Tours plain and simply work!!
    Fred, you da man!

  • Fred’s videos were what inspired me to create Isle Video Film on Vancouver Island. Because we live in this incredible place we decided to go with more of a lifestyle twist rather than a walk-through tour.
    Our whole approach was to create an emotional reaction with potential buyers and make them feel as though Vancouver Island was the place they wanted to be. So with that being said, I completely disagree with the above comment that “buyer’s don’t give a crap about video”.

    Have a look at our videos http://www.islevideofilm.com/videos-2/real-estate/

    Thanks Fred for getting us starting!

  • That is Fantastic! Fred’s technique with a Steady Cam is far beyond most peoples ability. I’ve seen television production that doesn’t look as good. That is why for most people doing video I don’t see the walk through style as workable. Most people just don’t have Fred’s ability, period. So, a walk through often has jerky “walking” segments, fast pans, etc.. Unlike Fred’s work, most of the walk through videos are hard to watch.

    Until technology allows us all to do a better job at this I think walk through videos are best kept to people who can truly deliver a quality product – like Fred.

  • That camera-work is amazing. Kudos Fred.

  • Amazing. I’ve seen many very, very boring video walkthroughs that looked anything but professional, but this is definitely not the case. Greatly shot, the editing is great as well, nice choice of music, and the commentary is also very pleasant. On the downside, the video really is very long, maybe second cut would help to make it shorter and even more fluent and watchable. But that’s my opinion.

  • Great stuff, too many videos are made by people who wanted to be film makers,or just dont have a cliue.Freds work does what is needed without trying to win an oscar,lol.Great work Fred.

  • The future is here! Great video from beginning to end. I am a real estate agent and on the side I photograph listings for a few agents that are willing to pay. I would love to be able to do something like this. I wonder what their fee was for this video.

  • Video home tours equal to niche television channels (Animal Planet, Comedy Central, Fox News). It’s not really for the people who are not interested in the product. Infomercials about cashing in on your annuities are only aired during the daytime because there target market is at home during the daytime watching TV.

    With that being said:
    This is a great video for someone in the market. I’m 1000% positive that this home would get the 1st appointment just because of the video. You have to remember that the tools we use to market properties is really to get an appointment and let the house do the rest.

    One more thought:
    If video isn’t apart of the future why are all of the “HOTTEST NEW PHONES”(which sell out immediately when they are released) main focus is being able to view videos/movies/augmented reality/video chat on these devices. Video will be the next “sliced bread”.

  • It all comes down to the voice. Even if I had the time, the equipment, the creativity, the clients I still would be left with my haltering half stuttering syntax of a voice.

    Or I could someone here to do the job for me. http://www.voices.com/

  • Yes, Fred you deserve this award. But I do think a 7 minute video is a tad too long. I try and keep mine to a max of 4 minutes unless it is a giant $$$$$$ home. Those really high dollar homes need a bit more time to really show off.

    Michael

  • Wow… King, huh? Who woulda thunk?

    Thanks for all the kind words… appreciate it!

    Sometimes I think photographers feel somewhat threatened by video…. I absolutely believe that still photography will NEVER be replaced by video. Ever. Especially in real estate. Your job is secure. 🙂
    Video is not a replacement for still photography. If it’s a replacement for anything, its an upgrade from the spin around, twirly tour with curved walls….It’s merely an addition to still photography on a real estate listing.

    Video and multimedia on the web IS the way of the future, like it or not. Many in the news reporting biz are getting a video capable DSLR and expected to submit a video or interview along with their still photos. Newspapers are offering more video with their online version of the paper. Having said that, video is absolutely NOT the moving picture version of still photos, so it definitely not everyone’s cup of tea – nor should it be. The camera is the least expensive part of the equation. You also have to worry about stabilization, sound, lighting, new editing software (which is no less daunting than Photoshop would be for a newbie). Some of the basics of photography still apply, of course, but it is an entirely different medium.

    More and more people are going to be seeking out those who do still photography AND video for real estate and many other businesses and services.

    As for real estate, I can only speak for myself, but video is gaining in popularity in a big way. I can barely handle all the business I have, and I’m usually booked out a week or two in advance – and people will wait for me. Many will hold off on a listing until I’m available to shoot it. It’s pretty amazing.

    Sellers love video and buyers love video.

    Just heard from one of my clients yesterday. She listed a $1.7M home and sold it herself. Buyers said they came specifically because they saw the video. She listed their home at $1M, and is right now negotiating an offer SIGHT UNSEEN from a buyer in Ohio who called my client because of the video. If she puts this together, she’s getting all four sides of $2.7M worth of business… and ALL happened because of video. Needless to say, she is thrilled and I’m shooting her next listing tomorrow morning.

    Can’t argue with stories like that!

  • “If it’s a replacement for anything, its an upgrade from the spin around, twirly tour with curved walls….It’s merely an addition to still photography on a real estate listing.”

    Haha, this is a great description. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s the ‘twirly tour with curved walls’ . Well put, and congrats again. I have been looking at the steadicam with the vest and stabilizer arm and I think it would be an investment that would pay itself off in fairly short order.

  • I think the video is great & am interested in purchasing some video gear to practice with. Larry & others recommend the DSLR route, but I am not so sure that is practical for walk-through work. The lack of an articulated viewfinder would be a real problem & would seem to require a separate monitor. I also think the 5 lb Merlin weight limit would preclude using many pro grade rigs.
    On the other hand, wide angle camcorders are a rare breed. Is there anything available other than the Canon XL2 with wide angle lens?
    Fred, I would appreciate hearing your detailed gear recommendations!

  • Hey Cal,

    Have you looked into the Canon 7D and 5D Mark II? I highly recommend that you do. Being able to shoot both stills AND video (great HD video) you might change your mind about it not being practical.

    Shoot even the Canon T2i is practical…

  • Cal: Actually I use a 5D (and occasionally 7D)… on a Merlin… without a monitor. Works just fine, and saves a lot of time when doing stills and video. So of course you can use Canon’s nice wide angle lenses (I use the 17-40 on the 5D, 10-22 on the 7D).

  • Thanks for the feedback guys. I am thinking now the best route might be a DSLR combined with separate monitor & Merlin. I use a Nikon D700 currently & am waiting for new release which will likely have video to compete w/ 5DMkII. It would seem that shoulder harness rig will be necessary will any pro/prosumer DSLR & separate monitor as combined weight will exceed 5 #…

  • I appreciate everyone’s pros and cons about the video Walk-Through. I think a key comment has been that 7 minuets is too long. Please note that most of Fred’s video Walk-Throughs are about 3 minuets, however some are longer like this 7 long one and may have been a special request.
    http://www.youtube.com/NashuaVideoTours
    http://www.nashuavideotours.com/pages/Real-Estate-Video-Examples/Real-estate-video-samples.html

    I found a local company LastCut that has done similar work – I think that most of the pans are from a tripod or some type of crane rig – LastCut often uses a pan from top to bottom where many of Fred’s are from side to side (I like both).
    http://www.lastcuthomes.com/samples.html

    I also agree that Fred’s narration is second to none!

    – Can any one comment why we don’t see many videos with the listing agent presenting, live narrating the walk-though? I imagine that there are challenges but I would like more input on what others see these challenges are.

    Troy McGee
    Tech Springboard

  • @Troy- You don’t see many agents doing their own walk throughs because many agents find it difficult to be on camera. BTW if Fred is the king of the video walk through then Julie Kinnear in Toronto (http://youtu.be/sWfvPsYs3E4) is the queen. Her videos are more informal but effective I think.

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