How To Use Video For Ordinary Properties

April 6th, 2011

I discovered Julie Kinnear, a Toronto agent that does her own video walk through tours, about a year ago when she made a comment on the blog. The reason I want to comment on Julie’s video’s is many have pointed out that the dramatic life style videos that I’ve reviewed here are out of place for plain, ordinary homes. So here is something completely different. I think the way Julie uses video is a perfect example of a simple, informal, low key style for ordinary properties.

Doing what Julie does is harder than it looks! There is maybe 1 agent in 10,000 that could do this as good a Julie is doing it. Here’s a summary of what she is doing:

  1. She is using VERY minimal equipment. A Canon ELF handheld.
  2. Before a walk through she points the camera at her face and says, “Hi there, I’m Julie Kinnear …” exactly the same for every video. This part of her branding. I think this is very effective.
  3. She shoots the whole walk through as one clip. No editing. Just shoot it and upload.
  4. Sure the camera work is casual and bounces around an will drive Pro videographers crazy. But her rapid fire casual narrative of the home holds your attention and takes your attention off the camera movement. I’m willing to put up with the camera movement because Julie is conveying so much information and holding my attention.
  5. Her narrative conveys a HUGE amount of information about the property. And because you are seeing while she is talking about it you remember it better.
  6. Julie’s typical listing page on her site has 16 stills, multiple videos, a floor plan, a google map and street view. It is the best presentation of listings I’ve seen anywhere!
  7. Julie makes extensive use of video for testimonials. Her testimonial page has over 30 video testimonials on it.
  8. Julie also has a video of each team member on her team page.

My point in talking about Julie’s video work is that I think it is an example of how video can be used to generate interest in plain, simple properties. Since most agents can’t do this a real estate videographer can use a stabilizer and tripod keeping it simple and take Julie’s style to the next level. There is a continuum between the laid back, casual style Julie is doing with video and the dramatic life style, knock your socks off style that Brett Clements’ and his crew at do. I think part of real estate video is finding the style that fits the local area you are shooting for. Both Brett and Julie have done that.

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23 Responses to “How To Use Video For Ordinary Properties”

  • This is amazing. The amount of information provided in this is great. I think I much prefer this style over the more produced videos. I feel like I am walking around with her. Great stuff. Gives me something to think about.

  • Hi Larry, thanks for the article! I see I have a personal fan here! 🙂 I believe video presentation brings us a bit closer to potential clients, that’s why we like to shoot a lot of them. My brother used to be a movie director, so it seems we have it in genes.

  • AWESOME stuff Larry. Julie has more talent than I’ve seen in any US real estate video. The thing is, with improving camera technology and companies like You Tube and Google offering up still and video editing programs, people like us (reading this BLOG) must be creative to be relevant. We’ve seen so many wonderful film processes made redundant by laptop technology. If you’re into the ‘singularity’ thing, you’ll know computers will outstrip our creativity by 2050, so you better get into it people. You get a girl with personality, professionalism, knowledge, a Flip camera, ambition and an Internet connection – and look out. We’re redundant.
    The stuff we do doesn’t sell properties. Agents and prices sell properties. We’re a dying breed unless we change.

  • @Brett – Change to what. IMO, we bring a lot to the table NOW and for long while to come. Agee that over time technology will improve the DIY photography and video for agents using their iPhone or tool of the day.. That video might work for the property shown. What about the higher end?

  • Wow! Really interesting to contrast and compare Julie’s video from today’s post and the video from Uneek Luxury Tours in the post a couple of days ago. One is extremely casual and informative and the other is extremely professional and dramatic. I think it goes to show that video is a powerful tool and can be used differently depending upon the property being marketed. Julie does a great job creating a video that fits well with the home she is marketing. A highly produced video like Uneek’s (in my opinion) just wouldn’t feel right with a property like this one, but fits like a glove with high end properties.

  • Julie vs the professional videographer. Both win. There is no doubt in my mind that the uneek videos far exceed the capabilities and time and money requirements that the average real estate photographer can learn or afford. On the other hand, Julie’s video although it accomplishes so much in information and conveys the feel of the home, still needs to improve (in a constructive way). Two areas that Julie can help herself – first is the audio. It doesn’t take much to add full audio after the fact. This will allow her not to be breathing heavy or have short choppy sentences or even make mistakes (i.e. undercabinet sink vs undercounter sink). Second is the shakiness of the video. Using a camera with better stabilization, not much more than the elf costs will allow the viewer not to get a headache watching the video (think panoramics prior to rotary heads and initial virtual tours vs todays technology.). None of this costs much money and will greatly improve Julie’s presentation which again I stress is incredible that she is using technology to differentiate herself and her properties from the rest of the market. I’m hoping she posts the heck out of her videos with plenty of keywords and tags to get the most for her efforts. If Julie is at all computer savy and has a Mac – both Iphoto and aperature will help her to accomplish these goals. Good luck Julie and all of you who take on VIDEO!

  • This is great! However, Julie has a unique talent. Most of us couldn’t walk, shoot video and sound engaging and intelligent at the same time. Sure, there were a few mistakes but even the mistakes make it more conversational. As Brett mentioned, technology will make this easier and easier and more agents will decide DIY video and photos will be “good enough”. if we don’t adopt and provide new and innovative marketing services we will go out of business.

  • I think she did a good job for doing everything herself and it does get the point across and shows the home well enough that somebody will know if they want to view it in person or not so it does its job in that sense. As somebody else stated it is pretty rough to watch though and at the same time from what I have learned and witnessed been taught by Sotheby’s is things like this can also hurt you as much as they help you. All it takes is for that home owner to see a video produced professionally and right away Julie’s video looks home grown and like she is skipping out on the marketing and has to listen to the home owner say well I could of done that with my camera. If she invested in a glidecam and did some voice over or just music she would be golden for homes on this scale with a nice smooth prodcut.

    The higher end market will always be there and is not going any where, I heard technology been mentioned that just means that our videos will be pushing the limits even more, doesnt matter how good a camera is it still has to be put into the right hands to make stuff happen in a sense and the patience and eye to get the shots has nada to do with technology IMO. Now on the lower end sure you may see more and more agents doing there own stuff but at what cost on their image and in reality they probably were not using a professional to shoot their stuff to begin with so I do not see it changing much.

    “Good enough” just doesnt cut it if one is trying to become a luxury agent or even a agent who just moves a ton of regular stuff, to be the best you got to market the best.

  • I think this is a very cool guerilla marketing process. I would be curious to know what her conversion rate is on views to visits — is she setting the hook, or is she providing so much info that a potential buyer might see something that turns them away? I don’t know if she tracks that, but if she would be willing to share, i would be curious to hear any statistics she has.

  • I disagree that “produced” videos won’t work for the average houses. In fact, I would contend it’s those houses that need it most! They need every bit of marketing magic to help them stand out from the rest. Here’s an example of a video I created for a very average house at a very affordable price:

  • @Malia – May I ask what equipment you used to produce your videos. I like this – So I am interested in the camera, editing software, sound etc.

  • @Fred – That particular video was shot entirely on the 5D2 and 17-40 (I might have pulled the 85/1.8 out for bits but the majority was on the 17-40). I used iMovie to put it together and, embarrassingly, all audio was captured with the 5d2. I have better audio equipment now.

  • We’re not comparing Apples to Apples here Fred.

  • Really? People want aerial shots of open toilets and shaky dark footage with huffing and puffing narration? I find something like this to be nearly unwatchable and not professional at all. Sorry. I’d rather look at nicely composed still photos that are lighted properly. Even if the house is only $100,000, you’re still marketing a product worth $100,000!!!!! That shouldn’t be done with $100 camera.

    There’s high produced video, there’s nicely produced video and then there’s amateur “cell phone” video, which I don’t think that has a place in marketing a high priced product like real estate. You don’t need slick and polished, but you need to maintain your professionalism and make the presentation watchable and enticing. But the shear number of horrible MLS pictures just prove that for many, that’s just not a priority.

  • Julie Kinnear Comes across as approachable, and has provided along with video very nice stills, maps and floor plans. All the info is their for busy people looking for a home. The video really helps you narrow down the choice. Great to both parties. There are so many parameters for buyers that stills alone sometimes doesn’t convey. Julie maybe like to try + stabilizer with a and lave mike but things start to get very heavy once you go the DSLR root. It makes sense in Julie Kinnear approach, (why fix it when its not broken) Good Job

  • I agree with Malia. Fred and Marcy. I couldn’t watch the entire video, just nothing consistent about it.
    My intention is not to offend, it’s just my opinion, but personally it was way too shaky and all over the place.

  • Although Julie did a good job, isn’t what she did analogous to realtors using a point and shoot, or worse yet their cellphone, to take the stills? And although at $750K plus that might not be characterized as luxury property that house had a lot of unique features that could have benefited from higher production values.

    All of this starts to get to the crux of the debate, how do you define real estate marketing. Obviously its changing, not because I say its changing but because a large percentage of people are starting their search online and its not so much that buyers would find that video interesting, its more likely that it might not capture their interest and they would filter that property from their list.

    I agree with Brett, if that’s what real estate video is there is no need or value for professional photographers. If we reduce the debate to what camera Julie walks and talks with we’ve completely reduced our own value proposition.

  • Malia, I also wanted to add how much I enjoyed your behind the scenes video.

  • Thanks, Chuck! That was a fun shoot.

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  • In my opinion, for the large majority of listings, videos are not going to sell the house they are going to help people disqualify the house or set up a showing. What we see here (in reality) is Julie marketing herself and her talent to future home sellers. I think she does a great job.

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