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An Interesting Variation On Shooting A Home Tour

June 14th, 2011


Joanna Michl and her partner who work the Southeast PA area (including Bucks Co, Montgomery Co, Chester and Delaware Coast) just showed me one of their recent videos. The video uses a concept I haven’t seen before. Joanna appears in the video and acts as a potential home buyer walking through the home talking to the agent. The agent shows her features of the home. I can believe that this approach helps put the agent at ease for those agents that may have difficulty being in their own property video.

Joanna and her partner are currently shooting with a Canon XL1 on mini-DV tape and editing in VideoPad. They would like to have everyone’s feedback on this concept and their video. The feedback that I gave them is that the initial clip of the front door was a bit shaky. Seems like on these kind of shots working with a tripod instead would help give a more professional feel.

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19 Responses to “An Interesting Variation On Shooting A Home Tour”

  • It’s best to use the YouTube link to watch the video as it starts and stops a lot from here.
    I think its a great idea. Much of the video is a bit shaky. I would definitely use a tripod. I think it would work better too, to have the lights on in the home. I would also recommend that at some point in the video the realtor gives the address, number of bedrooms and finished square feet. And reinforce that with a title at the beginning and at the end with how to get ahold of the realtor and credits to the videographers. IMHO

  • A severe case of “featuritis” – reciting a laundry list of the features that viewers see in the video.

    Agents need to focus on the comparative advantages of the home and on how it lives rather than simply reciting their listing copy.

  • in an attempt to be constructively critical, there are quality issues that I am positive many others will point out. However, I would like to note the following:

    1) Where I do like the buyer/actor saying, “I like this,” I would shy away from using any verbiage like, “I think I’ll stay.” I feel that the latter could be perceived as the home already being sold.

    2) In the same vain, I would generally shy away from the use of superlatives like the title, “The Perfect Place.” Given that it’s not a hilltop castle or a home on a private island, but just a home with a pool, I think even “The Poolside Property” would be more appropriate (and maintain your alliteration).

    3) I found myself paying more attention to the actors than the house. To be quite honest, the only thing I noticed was that the pool had a diving board. Adding more (and longer) voiced over shots of the house, and wider shots of the actors against the home would probably solve that issue.

    I hope this helps. Good job thinking outside the box.

  • This basic concept could be refined into something great. Thanks for thinking outside the box. Creating an original idea is the hardest part.

  • I agree with Joe about it suffering from “featuritis.” Taking a broader view, the most effective videos (and photographs for that matter) shouldn’t try to be a substitute for a showing, they should be an enticement for a showing. The goal is to get showings. Tease a little. Nobody ever buys a home based on a video alone but they might eliminate it from consideration based on a video. There is a tendency to treat real estate videos as documentaries. This is much different than an advertisement. The trick is sharing just enough information to arouse curiosity. The Super Bowl ad that got the most attention was for the new Chrysler 200 and they barely showed the car. It was good enough that I went to the web and searched for a picture. The ad also told a story of the comeback of a company and a city. Turns out the 200 is just an upgrade of the old Chrysler Sebring but the ad gave it some romance without mentioning horsepower, technology, handling or any other feature. Real estate videos can do the same thing. They should make us want to see the real thing.

    The question of putting people in our real estate videos is tricky. In most cases it’s too expensive to use professionals. Few of us are truly comfortable on camera and it can show and be distracting. At the swimming pool, it might have been much more effective to show a kid doing a cannonball under a bright blue sky or a shot of a couple of well turned ankles gently stirring the water at the edge of the pool.

    Grape imaging also suggests mentioning the address and contact information. I would add that if we really believe that the three most important words in real estate are “location, location and location” that a little attention should be given to it. If we are doing a good job placing the videos they can be seen world wide. Potential customers outside the immediate area of the listing will have no idea what kind of community or neighborhood the home is in but in most cases the community will be much more important then the height of the cabinets and perhaps, as Joe again suggests, may be what distinguishes it from the competition. The same home in an urban setting will have a much different appeal than one in a country club setting.

  • I think the idea is good. However, I think there are some things need to be tweaked. Again aside from technical aspects which many have already pointed out. I think the video needs more direction. What is the intended purpose of the video? to showcase the property or to showcase the agent(s) or both.
    Regardless of what the intended purpose, there needs to be more detail. What is the address of the property, price, website, mls number etc. Also in the opening sequence, I could not understand the agent – All I got is that he was with remax. I think some titles would have been nice. Telling who he was with website and contact info.
    But overall I think it has potential. I just think it needs to be thought through a little more – heck what can I say..It is better than any of mine.

  • Great idea. I think a steadicam or something similiar would really help.

  • I think this is a great idea. With someone who specializes in video it could be made into something really slick. I might pinch this idea…

  • I appreciate all the feedback! This was our second attempt at shooting a real estate video so there are a lot of improvements to be made. A steadicam is definitely at the top of our list along with some better direction and preparation. We’re basically working on a portfolio that we can later use to market this service so the videos are being taped at Open Houses.
    I totally agree with the “featuritis” aspect and this is something we have to work on as we get more into it. The fact that we’re still on the cutting edge of RE video is great because it allows us to develop and improve the medium as it evolves.

  • You’re using a great camera but the audio is terrible. (The lighting isn’t that great either.) I’m sure I heard the cameraman breathing at one point. Get a wireless lapel mic for $250 or so, or get a second person to hold a boom mic.

  • John D… you’re right about the audio, it is terrible. Eric has a lavalier mic but it’s old and needs to be replaced, we actually need a set of new lavalier mics. As for the lighting, it was so dark in some of the rooms I couldn’t use the footage. Back when we were producing documentaries for broadcast (1999 – 2004) he had all kinds of studio lighting but most of that is gone. So we have a lot of updating to do as far as equipment is concerned. However, at this point we’ll probably wait to see if this takes off before investing any $$ into it.

  • I like the concept of having a “buyer” walk through with the agent. I agree with Joe & Jay that there it too much about features and not enough about benefits. Rather than hear about the 42″ cherry cabinets (twice) and the tile backsplash as features, the could be blended in with comments about entertaining and cooking with friends and how the 42″ cabinets add much more storage to the kitchen. The buyer could “notice that the backsplash matches the floor and how easy clean-up would be with tile.

    Joanna, thanks for sharing the video.

  • Jim… well put and I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, real estate agents are not actors and for the most part, have little knowledge of ad libbing. They use the same script they use for visitors to the Open House. I probably should have offered more dialogue of my own to offset this and it would have helped had we done a sweep of the property prior to the shoot. This was not an ideal house for video, many of the rooms were extremely dark and it was a bit of a maze. I think as we get more into this we will explore different styles and techniques.

  • Great concept. Needs work. Footage is entirely too shaky, and the on-board raw audio is irritating. But iron those things out and you have a sellable product. I’ll be offering the same idea using a Canon 5D Mark II. You might want to consider full HD, YT handles it now and the HDSLRs blow the doors off of videocams regarding low light quality.

  • Good on you Jo. I watched it and they’re all talking about you mate. So the marketing worked.

  • Thanks Brett. It’s great to hear from you.

  • I agree with the technical comments above. I would verify that you have the internal mic line shut off while using your lav’s, it sounds to me that you had both channels on. As mentioned a Steadicam would be a great addition as would a couple of 500 watt soft boxes.

    I agree with Paul’s comment above about today’s DSLR’s and low light. If budget is an issue you could spend a lot less and go with the Canon 7D (obviously losing the full frame sensor, but saving hundreds of dollars.)

    Joanna, keep up the good work!

  • I agree with Paul, plus the dslr will allow you to add the wide angle lens referred to earlier by Jay.

  • Identifying obvious rooms, features and too much verbage is long and tedious. The real estate buyer wants to cover tons of properties, get boatloads of helpful details, maps, time saving links. All needed along with the video. Without the “beautiful”, “nice” adjectives to describe like someone should be wearing a plaid jacket. Less agent, broker and more let the property walk and talk presentation, more area where it is, why should I consider, move there needed instead.

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