Real Estate Video by Michael of Uneek Luxury Tours

April 4th, 2011

This last week I was talking with Michael of Uneek Luxury Tours. Michael says he been shooting video seriously for about a year and getting inspiration from the video work he’s been seeing by other real estate videographers on the PFRE blog. Michael has been shooting on a retainer for Sotheby’s International in Central Florida for the past 8 months working with builders and interior designers.

Michael wanted to share his promotional video that he’s been creating for his company, Uneek Luxury Tours. Because Michael shoots all upper-end homes for Sotheby’s in his promo contains clips from homes of William LearShaq, Joey Fatone, Prince Fielder , Ike taylor, and one of the creators of the Blackberry.

Michael works with a Canon 5DMkII and a Sony FX1 although he’s moving towards doing everything with the 5D.

I find Michael’s work easy to watch. I like his brisk editing style and liberal use of time-lapse. The feedback I gave Michael is that 4:38 feels a bit long for me. I actually thought it was finished at 3:23 when the music track went quiet and big black tire fills the screen. I was a bit surprised when it when on for another minute. If it were me, I’d end it at 3:21. Michael’s problem is he’s got so many awesome clips it’s hard to eliminate clips but I think shorter would be stronger. The other thing that is a bit confusing for the viewer is the mixed branding. That is, sometimes Uneek branding is on the screen and other times Sotheby’s is in the lower left corner. If this is a promo for Uneek I’d get rid of the Sotheby’s branding.

What do others think? Michael is looking for feedback on his work.

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26 Responses to “Real Estate Video by Michael of Uneek Luxury Tours”

  • Looks fantastic if you ask me! I agree with Larry though, it was long. I also felt the music was a bit dramatic but then again I think this was due more to the long built up of the song. Edited down, both the music and number of images, and it would be even better. Or, maybe do a series, one for twilights, one for exteriors, etc. you certainly have enough stunning material to break it up in to more specialized clips and then do one of just the best. Also agree on losing the Sotheby’s branding, at first glance I too thought the video might have something to do with their real estate business.

  • Brilliant, love the work, superb timelapse sequences. Congratulations Michael inspiring work indeed.

  • If it is a showreel (and not a catalogue of work) it needs to be axed to 90 seconds. You need to look at every shot and ask yourself ‘Is this my best shot?’ If it’s not, delete. We all self-obsess over our work. The problem is – nobody else does. Good on ya Michael. You’re still having a bloody good go and that’s all that matters.

  • What Brett said.

    Even during the best Philip Bloom videos my mind starts to wander after 2 or 3 mins.

  • Inspiring video. Well done. Would you mind elaborating on what you use for dolly/slider with the Canon 5dmk2? Looking at some of your other videos, it looks similar to a crane/lift over those pool shots – again great time lapse mix with hd video. And great framing over pool, real great shot. How about what you use for intervalometer? Canon?

  • Good go at it however I second Brett. Sixty to 90 seconds. For me personally I found the edits too quick, the time lapse was distracting and the HDR sequences were not realistic. The time lapse, if used sparingly could be an effective visual wakeup or pop toward the middle or end of the video. Michael, your on the right track, just needs some refinements. Show only the “best of the best” and you’ll be great !

  • I think you’ve got two good videos. One ending with the tire and the other beginning with the beer.

  • Definitely too long. Combine first and second segments into Interior/exterior mix and cut to 3:50 tops – maybe even 3:25. Too many repeats. Too much drama. I felt irritation at all the time lapses – wanted to just look at real estate. Too, too much. Really fine, high quality camera work.

  • As a Realtor, I would love if someone handed me a video like this for my listings. The camera work was certainly top notch, but I agree with everyone else that some of the cuts are a little quick, some of the shots are repetetive, and the video is a bit long. Pick the best of each shot and put one of each in the video.

  • Allot of good comments.
    Mr Peek,, If you plan on diving into the edit bay again, I suggest starting back down a few layers in the time line. Back down to the heart of your creation, your music score.
    Go abit further using the same two tracks by doing your own re-mix. This way your in control of the length, subtle intro’s, tempo changes, build-ups, and finale.
    It’s a pain, but it will be well worth your effort, and allow for better placement of your clips to match the movement of the score.

    I believe this was the 2nd video I produced when I started the biz, and I needed a caravan of camels in the dessert. So I used the scene from “The Mummy” but I did not want to use the same score. I collected 3 tracks and re-mixed them for the first 90sec of the video as I wanted to depict the journey as a struggle. I believe it took me a week to create. If your familiar with this scene in the movie and the score used, you’ll pick up the differences right away. If not you would never know it was not the original because the visuals move with the score, not against it.
    You can find this clip of my early years here:

    I like to make tracking shots also, guiding the viewer (establishing scene) into the story. A fellow video guy told me after I built my track system: “Use it like Salt and Pepper!”. He never did really explain himself, but I kinda knew where he’s was going with it.. A touch here and there adds movement of visual flavor, too much and we throw the eyeballs of our audience all over the screen ruining the experience for them.

    Leave it alone for a little while to take a mental break and absorb all the tidbits of advice whether good or bad.

    You have the making of a great reel.


    MotionOne Studios

  • No mistaking the talent exhibited in this video even with the suggestions above. This was awesome to watch. Larry has posted many videos that just make ya lean back and go WOW and it is time for me to be in this. The nagging point that sticks with me is; do these videos with all the effort, equipment and talent really help sell property? Do they really create more showings? At what price point does it make sense to do a video? At what listing price are life style videos really worth the extra expense? These are big questions for a St. Louis Photographer.

  • There’s some nice shots in that video, but like most everyone else I think its too long.

    Fred, “do these videos with all the effort, equipment and talent really help sell property?” Yes they do. “Do they really create more showings?” Yes they do.

    I think if anyone is going to be in this business you have to start from that premise, and this may be simply kicking the can down the road but that obviously leads to the other two questions Fred asked, “At what price point does it make sense to do a video? At what listing price are life style videos really worth the extra expense?”

    I think there should be a lot more discussion about how these types of videos help sell properties? What makes them effective? First amongst the producers, we can discuss technique but we should also discuss how these videos are targeted at a specific demographic and what sort of messages are conveyed to resonate with that demographic. And we should have discussions with realtors to help determine the best way to reach the target audience.

    This type of marketing is more about positioning and outreach, I get the sense from a lot of realtors that they’re idea of marketing is just like pushing a bale of hay of the back of a speeding truck. Just post it on the MLS and it will land where it lands and maybe someone will buy it.

    But if the discussion isn’t about how beautiful the shots are or what kind of dolly did you use they don’t seem to get a lot of traction.

  • @Fred- As Chuck points out videos generate interest and get people to come see the property. Then the property has to sell itself. The other BIG use of video is that it makes the agent stand out from the crowd. Good agents have big egos and are always looking at ways to brand themselves and stand out. Having great video of one listing will get them more listings.

  • This is outstanding work, and very inspiring. I agree with the above comments that it could be edited down a bit. But other than that, absolutely top notch. Great time lapse shots, smooth editing to the music, drama, emotion… it’s all there. This will attract potential buyers to want to take a look, and that is what video for real estate is all about.

    Like it or not, this is the future of high-end real estate marketing. There will always be a place for still photos, but within 5 years 90% of the content on the internet will be video. Get on the bus or get passed by.

    Very well done Michael!

  • Really neat, and the homes that you shoot are amazing and really shine. Like the first comment states, the music seemed a bit too overpowering; I was waiting for the movie voice guy to say something like “In a world……” at the beginning. Great stuff though, you have given me some more material to aspire to if the d400 ever comes out.

  • The last post brought up a good point. There are a lot of Realtors out there that go the “point-n-shoot” route and hope for the best. However, as a realtor and photographer myself, I can see why they go this route for a couple reasons: (1) $$$, (2) timing – getting the property in to MLS quickly in today’s market might rank up there with taking great photos, (3) and MLS in my neck of the woods limits all photos to 512×400. I am not saying these are the only three reasons out there, but a lot of Realtors don’t want to spend the money, time, and why would they when they are stuck with 512×400 pixels. Of course, the pixel limit only serves just another reason for producing great virtual tours and/or HD video outside of MLS. So long as every single potential buyer can see them outside of MLS with ease.

    Michael clearly has skills. And, as this video serves as a means to feature the photographer/videographer’s portfolio I tend to think the length of the video shouldn’t matter as much as it does. First and foremost, above all else highlight your best work and highlight it first. “No second chances to make a first impression”. I spent some time this morning looking at Michael’s other video tours of his other properties. And, as a realtor if I were looking for a photographer, I would want to see a broad portfolio of his or her work, not just a 30 second clip. Moreover, I think good Realtors have a longer attention span than some are giving credit. The rest of them, attention-span-wise not so much.

    If a realtor who clearly appreciates great photography and video is looking for a professional to hire, wouldn’t you think the realtor would want to spend more than 30 seconds shopping for someone to hire. I personally think a realtor that appreciates the skills showcased on this website (PFRE) has a longer attention span. Likewise, I think the Realtors that use professional photographers not only have an appreciation for their business but more so see the value in professional photography and understand how key it is to their success in their business. In addition, I am not just talking about the high end market Realtors who you would think have the money to spend on hiring a professional photographer. I see the value at every level and price range of every home.

    I asked about the equipment Michael used only as means to learn more and better myself. And, if Michael achieved his results with DIY or home grown equipment then he deserves even more kudos in my opinion.

  • I only have a quick min to post but ill come back later and answer as much as I can.

    Thank you for the feed back so far everybody, much appreciated. I am still learning as I go so every bit helps.

    The video was created for a few things. For me to show to potential clients. I also make a new video every few months or so to loop on the tv’s at the sotheby’s office so thats why I left some of their tags in the vid along with mine.

    There are a few advantages of shooting video on these homes that stand out the most to me. As somebody else stated the agents ego. Your online presence is as much if not more important then who you are in real life now a days and if you look good online most people are sold there. The presentation when a agent is trying to get a contract on a big listing, you present a high end video and the other competing agent does not its pretty much a done deal( from what I have experienced) Home owners want to see you spend the money to market and so far the feed back has been very good. Another reason I tell agents all the time is the amount of time it saves, home owner, agent and buyer. Basically eliminates the old days of driving around to 10 diff listings in hope they like it. The videos showcase the home enough people know if they want to view it in person or not. The amount of time it takes for these large homes to be clean and ready to show is a nightmare for the owners.

    I have eqt from kesslar, glide cam and cobra crane and a few home made rigs. I started out with my sony fx1 and then just kept trying to buy gear. I do not want to take anything away from my creativity but if you don’t got the gear you cant get the shots, simple.

    These videos are not for every agent though which is obvious and I have turned down some agents looking to do this type of thing on a smaller scale as I feel I am trying to brand myself in the luxury field. Mainly higher end agents who have big listings and the $$$ to spend to market it properly. I still do a few small jobs each month for a few clients who flip homes who I actually met shooting their luxury homes and they saw the advantage of even using it on the small scale for their company to show to investors the quality of the work that goes into flipping the home, so it can be used for multiple things for diff people.

    As for the time frame been too long.I agree! I know its too long I got to the point where I was just overwhelmed and wanted to finish it and had so many clips left that I wanted to add into the mix and if its longer it loops less at the office so I just left it for now. If you have a keen eye you can pick up where I did get lazy and you will see the transfers of the shots miss the beat of the music, but pick it back up. I plan to make short clips of each thing i.e exteriors, pools, kitchens etc etc.

    On a diff note not everything has to be 90 or shorter from my experience. Just show enough of the home and if it takes more time so be it. the people who are watching the videos are watching them not for entertainment but in interest that they may purchase a home so lots of the time agents will contact me after asking if I have any extra shots, like laundry room powder bath etc cause the client wanted to see more.

    Thanks again for posting this for me Larry and I wanted to thank Brett Clements too for inspiring me to continue shooting video, the work him and his crews put out is amazing and I hope to be on that level some day soon.

    Thanks for everybody’s time and feedback

  • Michael’s promo video is broken up into two parts: the first part, dramatic exterior shots, and the second part (after the “big black tire”): the more gentle ‘home-at-last’ interior shots. I think this construct acts as a cutaway/break-point. The music reflects that, as it becomes quieter and more serene, reflecting those qualities in the interiors, as one would expect – less drama, more peace. Had he not included that last part, his interior work would not have been represented. Also, after the crescendo takeoff of the exteriors, there comes the safe landing of the interiors. I love the dolly and crane shots; I wonder what he uses for those. Great work; lovely presentation. As for the length, one does not mind looking at anything that’s worth looking at. There is nothing static or boring; one is absorbed for the whole clip. I wouldn’t change a thing – assuming of course that I could even do as well. Dr. Bob Copp

  • It seems that there’s this idea that its good stills that are required to help sell a home, or good video, or good virtual tours when in fact its all of those things, and more. Each of these mediums has strengths and weaknesses.

    If the laundry room isn’t entregal to the message your trying to communicate then you don’t have to show it in the video at all, in fact I’d argue that if it detracts from your message then you shouldn’t include it. I’m not saying that buyers don’t want to see the laundry room, but there are other ways to solve that problem. I actually find it contemptuous when a realtor takes 15 or 20 pictures, post them on the MLS then takes the exact same pictures, pans and scans them to music and calls it a virtual tour. Do you think my time is not important? What is the benefit of showing me the same pictures? Plus there’s nothing worse than watching a video where there’s a shot of a kitchen and the VO tells me what I’m looking at in the kitchen, just in case I couldn’t figure it out.

    Video can tell a story, it can elicit emotion in ways that stills or virtual tours can’t, stills can show things with the level of detail that video generally doesn’t and virtual tours can provide the scope and context in ways that neither of the other two mediums can. If these three mediums are well integrated they can provide so much more information about a property than they can individually.

    Not everything has to have a grand story, just showing kids playing in the pool conveys so much more than the shots of an empty pool area. Its amazing to me how difficult it was to convince some realtors that if you staged a luxury property it was more likely to sell, now how difficult it is to convince them they need people in the videos. People like to look at people, I’m not talking about making Gone With The Wind, just add people cooking in the kitchen, people sitting near the fireplace etc..

  • That was friggin nice!

  • Thanks for the comments Chuck and Larry. I feel to jump in, I need to do it right to really feed that agent ego and impress the viewer. So many video/tours are a disappointment to me with blown out windows, camera shake etc. I’m also thinking that partnering up with others to do video would be smart. That is easy to say and harder to find the right people.

  • Fred I wish you were in California.

  • I think the length of this video is very much appropriate for the office, but I think if this is to be a promotional video on your website to highlight your obvious talent, it does need to be shorter. Most folks will only watch a promo for a much shorter time than they would if they are interested in a particular home.

  • Michael Pelzer is obviously very talented and has achieved great work here. As I understand it, this is a promo video aimed at agents. For that reason alone its brilliant as it covers al the bases and more. The agent in the position of hiring will know in the first thirty seconds that he/she will hire Michael Pelzer and can stop the video if pushed for time. At least with the length they have the option to see more. As was mentioned above this isn’t paid for entertainment, but if Michael’s not careful might get asked to shoot commercials. Still, very inspirational

  • Very nice work Michael! I love these video tours. Very original and creative.
    Forget virtual tours. These blow them away.
    I was just wondering how you manage to have a fire burning in all of the fireplaces. Is it a simulated effect or do you really create a fire?

  • Michael, good stuff! What gear are you using for your video?

    One suggestion I have (and I am probably not qualified to make it 🙂 ) is to try and make your movements and cuts tell the story of the home. In other words, you have a beginning (property landscape) Middle (living areas, kitchen, rooms etc.) and Ending. The ending is where I think you can utilize some of the houses character and charm. Emphasize details you think makes the house special. That’s where you should do most of your dolly / jib work imo.

    You’re videos are giving me tons of inspiration. Much appreciated!

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