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Photographer Introduces Video Walk-Through Tours To Finland

July 10th, 2011

Recently I talked to a young entrepreneur/photographer, Mikael Hautala of Tampere, Finland. Mikael says, “In Finland nobody makes video tours but I’m going to change that”. He says that in Finland most real estate agents are in the habit of shooting their own still photos but appear to be willing to pay for video walk-throughs. So far FaceBook like’s and YouTube viewing stats indicate that the interest in Real Estate video in Finland is high. Here is a Tampere listing that Mikael shot the video (the Google Chrome browser will translate this from Finish for you). Notice how the YouTube video link appears in the sequence as a still image. Click on that still and you get the video. Nice Feature!

The video walk-through to the right is one of Mikael’s recent shoots. My feedback to Mikael on this video was that the many narrow hallway sequences give the home a cramped feel. My feeling is that the video would be stronger if the focus was just on the larger living spaces. Mikael says he is purposely walking through the whole home attempting to give the viewer a feel for the floor plan. I could live without all the hallways. What do others think about this? Maybe I’m just sensitive to this because I live in a home without hallways.

Mikael’s gear list is: Canon 60D, Tokina 11-16mm, Glidecam 4000. Some bokeh shots with the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/4.0 . Editing is done in FCPX.

Mikael would appreciate your feedback on his video.

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16 Responses to “Photographer Introduces Video Walk-Through Tours To Finland”

  • The move at the end going from the backyard to the porch reminded me of Star Wars for some reason. I haven’t made any videos of homes yet, but see this coming to my offerings in the near future. I wonder if taking the video tour earlier in the day or later in the afternoon would yield better results with the windows, just like in still photography?

  • To your question… I think video for the larger areas integrated with stills of the smaller spaces would come across better.

  • I haven’t made any videos myself but, to me the video had a good pace to it. I also agree with the backyard portion, I too had a X-wing fighter flash back. The windows were blown out but not a major issue. I also noticed your shadow on the fridge heading thru the kitchen. I’m not sure if it was avoidable since the light source was coming from the window directly behind you. I overall enjoyed the video with some minor adjustments I can see you making some great videos. Wish you the best.

  • Finland, Finland, Finland,
    The country where I want to be,
    Pony trekking or camping,
    Or just watching TV.
    Finland, Finland, Finland.
    It’s the country for me.

    You’re so near to Russia,
    So far from Japan,
    Quite a long way from Cairo,
    Lots of miles from Vietnam.

    Finland, Finland, Finland,
    The country where I want to be,
    Eating breakfast or dinner,
    Or snack lunch in the hall.
    Finland, Finland, Finland.
    Finland has it all.

    You’re so sadly neglected
    And often ignored,
    A poor second to Belgium,
    When going abroad.

    Finland, Finland, Finland,
    The country where I quite want to be,
    Your mountains so lofty,
    Your treetops so tall.
    Finland, Finland, Finland.
    Finland has it all.

    Finland, Finland, Finland,
    The country where I quite want to be,
    Your mountains so lofty,
    Your treetops so tall.
    Finland, Finland, Finland.
    Finland has it all.

    Finland has it all.

  • As for feedback. The tour does the job of selling the property. If you’re the only one doing tours, stick with this model first and progress when you get competition. If you can make some money doing this, then great. One can always take more time with jibs cranes and slides for the up market properties if there is one. Catch twenty two of course, though, is you will need to be able to show the agents you can supply the higher end product.
    Good Luck & and nice flying

  • This video was a good attempt at a real estate video and I appreciate your tenacity and determination to change people’s minds in Finland about using real estate video tours! Just a few comments about the video: typically handheld (steady cam) footage is reserved for run-and-gun type shooting that is meant to be quick and follow the action, evoking a sense of immediacy during dramatic sequences. I can’t help but feel like I am watching an action movie, a horror film or a first-person video game whenever steady cam shots like this are utilized. If that technique is to be utilized, it should be used sparingly. I would create the bulk of the video using more steady shots like pans and dolly moves (using a slider) on a tripod or tabletop surface, and not fly the camera. This can be done on the cheap and expensive equipment need not be employed.

    I agree with Larry in that hallways should typically be omitted unless there is a strong selling point to the hallway that would merit photographing and using it to market the property. I believe that the emphasis of selling a home, whether through still photos or video, should be to show off the home’s strengths, and not show every square foot of the home. Part of our job as real estate photographers is to create a story and to leave the viewer/potential buyer wanting more…ultimately the goal is to sell the property, but the first and most critical step is the get bodies through the front door. I believe that if everything is shown, this potentially minimizes the impact and effectiveness of each photo, thereby affecting people’s desires to visit the home (obviously the photos/video are not the only determining factor as to whether or not a buyer visits a home; there’s location and price that certainly trumps nice photos and videos any day!)

  • After viewing this, and thinking as a potential buyer, not a videographer, I was really drawn to this tour, as for me, it was the closest Ive seen anyone get to giving me a real feel of a property. Again, thinking like a buyer, I was delighted to virtually walk around the property thus leaving me imagining how I would feel owning it. Now if I liked what i felt, then yes, i would be a body through the door. If you can make people feel that way, then that is a result. It will be interesting to see a mixture of this sort of tour and other camera work ive seen done in other video tours. Ofcourse showing everything has its risk at minimizing peoples desires to visit the home, but wont it also minimize time-wasters?

  • Hi all!

    Thanks for all comments given. Keep them coming so I can think differently and improve 🙂

    Jason: Interesting that Star Wars reminder 😛 Many have said that it’s like a dog or a child is running through the backyard.

    Mark: Thanks for ur comment.

    Charles: Thanks for the tip.

    Marc: You’d think that calm pace and relaxing music would give some other feeling than an action or horror movie. I hope that’s not the feeling most of the people are getting. I think that pans and dolly moves are not so good in apartment. You don’t get so good sense of space because the camera isn’t moving in the space. And it’s hard to figure out how the floor plan really works.

    Why I started to make continuos video tours like this? Well, if I was buying a house I’d like to see videos just like this from the apartments I’m interested in. This is a great way to tell viewer a huge amount of information about the apartment. And it’s trustworthy. Why not show the whole apartment? If something is wrong with the house, that doesn’t appear until showing, well I’m not too sure if the house gets sold after disappointment. I think quite opposite: you should leave something awesome from the video. This way viewer has a picture about the house and she goes to confirm that by getting to a showing. If the house looks and feels just the same as in the video (or in the other media) she will be happy or probably just ok. If there’s something nasty that didn’t show up in the video, she’s upset. But if there’s something nice that she didn’t expect, then she’s overwhelmed and likes the house even more 🙂

    Susan, you have just the feelings I would like a viewer to have. Get a feeling that like you are walking in the apartment (like in a showing) and having a sense of space and how all rooms work together. Woman often think how they would decorate and how their furniture would fit in the apartment. “There goes my couch and…” In video tour like this, it’s easy.

    This kind of video gives you better buyers. It reduces the time-wasters and gets u the potential buyers.

  • @Mikael I did not have my speakers turned on, I was simply watching the video with no audio. This is another thing to consider regarding video. Perhaps a narration or subtitles would help the viewer tie the rooms together? Also, why are pans and dolly moves not good in an apartment? Panning left-right, up-down, etc. would definitely give you a sense of the space. If you watch any higher production television show that shows real estate, you will see that pans and dolly moves are used most of the time. Could you please elaborate? Also, you mentioned that you want to leave something awesome from the video…I did notice that a couple of others commented that the camera moves reminded them of Star Wars (I concur). Perhaps you are relying on your camera moves to provide that something awesome rather than focusing on the home’s features? This is where I think narration or subtitles would help tremendously in your case.

    @Susan, part of why I am of the opinion that the video was not entirely effective in its approach is that it’s difficult for me to not be in control of what I want to see in the video tour. For example, if there is part of a room that I wanted the camera to pan to but it goes in the opposite direction, I am left feeling like I did not get the most out of the tour. Perhaps I am just partial to still photography! 😀 I do agree with you that showing a video might minimize time-wasters, however, there is definitely something to be said about physically showing up to view a property for sale. Being in the physical space gives you a greater sense (sounds, smells, location…) of whether or not it’s for you. If the photos/video leads to a showing, then that is the best situation of course!

  • Subtitles and narration would be great improvements! At first I’ll go with this bulk version and then move to more complex video tours. Well pans and dolly moves don’t move in the room so much as glidecam does. I’m not sure how well I can express myself but imagine you looking a living room from one corner and then you’re teleported to opposite corner and watch again. If someone goes to house showing he won’t act this way. Hee walks in the room and looks around. And this is the feeling I’m trying to replicate. This gives you better sense of depth and how spacious the room feels, how will our couch fit there etc.

    As a videographer, pans, dollys and cranes are awesome in video tours. We love them and they are beautiful.

    The Star Wars feeling is bad. And normally I wouldn’t go with that kind of action scene in video tour. But this time I wanted to try that out and get people a bit excited about the video and wonder:”how the heck did he do that?!” Cause the Facebook -page of the apartment that I did this tour has 45 000 likers and I wanted (and want) them to have a wow feeling when watching this. That way they might remember this better, cause this is new in Finland.

    That house was very normal Finnish house and there weren’t so awesome things to highlight. Except the big back yard. Well it ain’t big but in that area it is.

    Thanks Marc for your comments and ideas so far! =)

  • Hi Mikael,

    Can you tell me how you focused that video? On the fly, pre-focus to a certain distance, or what?

    -Kelvin

  • Hi Kevin,

    Yeah sure. I just adjusted the focus ring to little under 2 meters before recording. I noticed that it that works well at indoors. I don’t adjust focus ring on the fly cause there’s no reason to do that in shoots like this, and it would disturb the cameras flow. With wide angle 11mm lens pretty much everything stays well in focus at least if you compare to a 200mm tele lens.

  • Thanks Mikael! Btw, I think your video is the shiz! Very nice, and easy for a realtor to use as a sales tool.

  • Oh yeah… i forgot one thing. Can you tell me what the f stop for the Tokina 11-16 was, as well as the shutter speed and FPS?

    For the amount of movement you had, the video seems free of jitters, and smooth (I know the glidecam helped as well).

  • Thanks Kelvin!

    Well the Tokina 11-16mm f stop was 2.8-16 depending of situation. Like the sauna was very low light so it was 2.8. Indoors might be 2.8 or 5.6 and the outdoor shots were 16 I suppose. Shutter speed varies but maybe something like 1/60 was used most often. FPS was 50 frames per second.

  • @Mikael Hautala

    I produce full motion video walk-throughs professionally for residential real estate in Maine and have had quite a lot of success with this unique service (www.mainevideotours.com). I made the mistake years back to try and market this service to every type of property regardless of cost, but quickly discovered that I should really only be try to land the high-end properties and luxury homes because of the cost of the service (10-15 cents per sq. ft.). The cost for my service includes the videography of the property, the editing, script writting, voice-over narration, hosting and delivery of the video with my server. I utilize the JW player because it offers quite a few useful plugins including HD, Closed-Captioning and Google Analytics. Check out a single property website I threw together featuring a Video Tour I produced:

    http://www.96glenroad.com

    By the way, to give you some advice, I would use the stabilizer to move from room to room so the viewer can get a sense of the space and layout, but then cut away to some other “detail” shots so you provide a more complete marketing tool. Otherwise, the constant movement from room to room doesn’t allow the viewer time to focus on any particular elements in a room.

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