Dramatic Comedy Applied to Real Estate Video

April 11th, 2011

Brett Clemments and his crew at are experimenting with creatives ways to  create video that “sinks the emotional hook” and get’s buyer’s attention just like other forms of video ads.

In this, video the PlatinumHD crew directs two agents (Lucas Wilson and Natalie Poteri) in a short dramatic comedy written on the spot. The whole production was shot in slightly over 3 hours so that it fit a budget of $1425 AUD.

I have to admit that Brett and his crew are pushing the envelope on property video. Here is another little 00:34 video that grabs your attention and demonstrates that you don’t have to have several minutes of video to capture attention.

I know some readers think I’m being paid to promote PlatinumHD. No way. I keep posting about PlatinumHD video because I think they are doing some of the most creative work in property video today. I think we can all learn a great deal by looking at and analyzing what they are doing.

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30 Responses to “Dramatic Comedy Applied to Real Estate Video”

  • very inovative =) I really liked the video. Too bad there aren’t many doing things like this. And at $1425AUD it’s expensive. I known I known… this things cost money. Anyway 00:34. I don’t think it was able to show the whole house which can be a good thing because it will make potential buyers want to visit it.
    From a selling point of view it’s great but not THAT great. Some buyers don’t even known what internet is.
    I don’t known what’s the price of the house but if it is over 1mill it’s certanlay worth the investiment.
    Pure genious. congratz to
    And about promoting? please, promote more things like this for us to learn. It’s nothing wrong with promoting creativity =)

  • I agree – I love seeing what other creatives are doing. This video is great! Brett is certainly giving us all a lot of ideas to try out.

    Now, if I could just get his production budget…

  • Very interesting for sure! I’m a big believer in thinking outside the box and doing things a little differently. I will be curious to see how this is received by buyers, etc.

    I guess I look at video from a different perspective. Video is the LAST thing people look at, not the first. At least in my market, the main exposure for video is through the MLS, and the first thing people look at are photos and descriptions (which is why I don’t believe photos will ever be ‘replaced’ by video.) They want to click quickly through and see if it meets their requirements on a quick, first pass. IF they like what they see, THEN they watch the video, which effectively is their “first showing”. If the photos/ description don’t pique their interest, they won’t even bother with the video.

    At every opportunity I can, I try to speak with sellers to see what their process is (many of them are also buyers – looking for a new home at the same time they’re marketing their own home), and I get almost exactly the same feedback from everyone. IF they get to the point when they watch the video, they want to see more information on the home – lots more – than they saw with photos. They scrutinize every corner and watch the video repeatedly. Just yesterday someone told me they watched a video 6 times! I have an agent with a $13M home and her perspective buyer is in Shanghai and has watched the video about 6-10 times every day for the past 2 weeks (it’s a private video only available via password, so they know exactly who’s watching).

    Very few people “search” randomly through videos to find their home, which makes sense because probably 1% of all properties HAVE a video. Therefore, the need for a “hook” in real estate video to grab the attention of a buyer is not really needed. The “hook” is still a group of high quality photos! Good photos are what make people want to see more….

    So I guess I look at these videos, and while interesting, I’m not sure it’s necessary to “grab” a viewers attention in 2 minutes to keep their interest in the property, since in most cases they’re watching the video BECAUSE they’re interested. With few exceptions, the only people who really find real estate video enjoyable are those who are seriously interested in purchasing that particular home. Otherwise, it’s hardly entertaining, and I actually find it boring (unless it’s a magnificent property).

  • I loved the crab video, very clever and I’d think it would be very effective with other marketing materials like photos and a virtual tour.

    There are a lot of statistics and different ways to view the same information. If you believe that a large percentage of potential buyers are starting their search online then you should also be aware that the largest growing segment online is video. Expectations for people searching for products and services is changing and by the time you come to the realization that online real estate video is agood idea, its too late. Not only are the buyers expectations changing, so are the tools to search for video.

    Malia, I really enjoyed your behind the scenes video, with the crew you had, actors makeup/hair and camera grips etc., how much did you charge for that house? I would have thought you had as big a budget as Brett did on this video?

  • Thanks guys. Hey Larry. Check is in the mail. FYI. We took over Propvid – which was the business I started but had to sell part of back in 2004. Now, we’re PlatinumHD Propvid. 😉

  • @Brett – sorry about messing your company name up… If you payed me more I could keep these things straight!

  • Hey thanks, Chuck. That was actually a self-funded shoot. I needed something in my portfolio to shop around to potential clients so I hired actors and the MUA from Craigslist. Believe it or not that was the very first video I ever shot (aside from a few clips following my dog around the backyard). It was mostly experimental for me to see what really goes into a big production shoot and to see if I could pull it off.

    It was a combined effort with Scott and he has a good write up about it on his blog:

  • This is much better then the other one that gets to much exposure. This is what I was talking about. It is much more successful then the low brow bikini one. Well done!

  • Genius. My favorite property video of the hundreds I’ve watched. Your client got their money’s worth, tenfold. Well done!

  • That is fantastic! It really is. What I think gets overlooked more than anything is that shopping for a home should be fun. This video captures that in its own way.

    As a real estate agent, I’ve been really working on trying to incorporate video not only of properties, but of neighborhoods and I just finished my first one. It’s not great compared to this example, but it’s a great first start. Getting started was the hardest part, but I’m glad I did and I learned a lot. I can’t wait to start the next one. The process took some time for me to learn as it was a new camera (D7000), new software (Final Cut Express) and I’m new to video (although I have been experimenting poorly for about 2 years.

    I’ve just added it to it’s page:

    I would love any comments – constructive or otherwise!

    I’ve been shooting photos of my own homes and really improving as of late, but I am really excited about video as I really think it can help connect with consumers if done well.

  • Can you have a video with too much exposure?

    Malia, you and Scott did a great job on the video and the blog, did it work? Have you been able to use it to get clients? Personally I’m a lot more interested discussing how people are trying to add value to the real estate sales process and how they are getting realtors to spend more. Although I enjoy PlatinumHD’s property videos. I’m not a film critic and how effective they will be decided more by the realtors who pay for them.

    I find it a lot more interesting that Brett could charge $1425AUD when others are charging considerably less. I’d love to see Malia be able to charge what she needs to be profitable and get more work. What kind of discussions can we have to help each other add value and charge more for our services?

  • Real estate marketing seems to have been confined to an extremely small envelope in the past. It is practical and boring virtual tours at best. When Brett pushes the envelope in these extreme ways we as photographers and our clients all start to expand our vision of what is possible. Our standards are elevated and our creativity is awakened.
    If we create videos that even brokers can produce then brokers will produce them and it will be a race to the bottom for us as professionals. So Brett is doing us a favor by creating these unique, high production value, videos.
    I tell every broker I meet to look at the platinum site and I tell them that this is the future of real estate marketing. I am glad that there is someone out there showing us that the virtual tour is not the pinnacle of real estate marketing.

  • @Heath- Well said!

  • Heath I agree with you, but why are there only a few doing the heavy lifting for the rest of us, at least that’s how it appears on many of these forums. Most of the time when one of these videos gets posted there’s a debate about how effective people think it is rather than how can we work together to raise the bar of real estate marketing.

    How about we all get out there and show realtors that virtual tours on there own are not that effective.

  • Love it brother, one of my fav’s from you and crew and well said Heath!

  • I’d like to respond to this:

    “How about we all get out there and show realtors that virtual tours on there own are not that effective”

    Hi Chuck (and anyone else), I think you guys are all onto something with video that is better than a traditional virtual tour. I love it and I’m trying it myself. This website, the Flickr groups, etc…are fantastic and a great resource for agents and photographers alike. So, as a response, I would say – some VT’s are better than others.

    Complicating matters, buyers and seller’s actually have differing opinions about what is important or what is “better” to have in a listing. For the record and as a real estate agent, I feel it is FAR more important to listen to what buyers are looking for here than it is to listen to what seller’s are looking for – the target audience is the buyer.

    We would all be wise to listen to what buyers want and work from there. This is a link to a survey of 1000 buyers. I think it provides a nice jumping off point:’t-focus-on-what-home-buyers-want-when-selecting-a-real-estate-agent/

    There is a good bit there to chew on and I think some opportunities exist. Some difficulty with solid video is in the time it takes to make (think labor cost) and the cost. If you have great photography AND a great video, it’s going to be expensive and in many cases cost prohibitive except for the top 10% or so of listings.

    So, my question to you is – what can you show me that makes virtual tours on their own not effective AND what do you propose that would be better?

  • This site is not online yet and we are adding more information. We try not to rely on any one medium, but integrate them together and only use the strength of each medium.

    Ares are not as story driven as Brett’s, we wanted to be that creative but our client compromised on what we finally came up with.
    We have scheduled another meeting to discuss adding more video.

    Interested in hearing what many of you have to say.


  • Chuck

    I’m with you 100%. The burden for paying falls on brokers who are having a very hard time in the US right now so when we propose creating a new more expensive marking product they cringe the same way I cringe when a better camera body is released, that I am going to have to have. I start to rationalize that the system I am using now is working fine why do I need to buy that new body.
    Real estate brokerage is changing quickly and in many ways including becoming more competitive. The broker who finds a way to afford video will win and win big. 20% of my clients are very excited about video and seeking ways to afford it, and 80% are not sure that it is effective or don’t see how they can afford it Sound familiar?

    Ryan, great and relevant points. I will come back to it, sorry I am in a hurry to get out the door. Was the homegain study taken in the US where nothing like Platinum exist? Sometimes these are multiple choice questionares and I’ll bet high production value, hosted video was not on the list. I am telling brokers to look at what the Australians are doing because I cannot find another example like it anywhere else in the world. The Australians have found a way to pay for it but their market is allot stronger than ours.

    Chuck your video is awesome. I’m going to watch it again later.

    A fast, off the cuff, poorly researched response from

  • @Chuck,

    Looks nice. For me, 6 minutes seemed a little long but I’m not a potential buyer.

    If I remember right you did this as a self funded project. My question is, how much would you plan on charging for something like you’ve put together?

  • Chuck,

    That’s a great video – in depth and probably not for the average viewer.

    BUT, for a real potential buyer, this is a very credible video and can help to get them excited. Well done. 6 minutes would only be watched by those who may have real interest and would be coming from out of town. It might be god to have a short version more easily accessible with obvious calls to action to the longer 6 minute version. Just thinking out loud…

    I have a property for sale here in Atlanta that is listed for 10 million dollars that could use a video like that. We have a ‘virtual tour’ with aerials, etc…, but a video may be helpful for us. It’s on 67 acres. Fabulous. The photos do not do it justice. Video can.

    Heath, no way does that survey discuss this type of quality video. Most have never seen it. It does however help to paint a picture of what buyers say they want.

    Something to think about as a value add for your potential real estate agent clients would be helping them drive traffic to the videos. This would help them demonstrate value to their clients. Most agents just don’t know how to get videos out to the public. Here is a great start:

    The more I think of it, the more I need to get a video for my big listing…

  • So, looking for someone other than myself to shoot a high quality video for a luxury property is easy – finding someone to do it is not quite as easy. Any ideas on how to find someone?

  • @Lucas, no this was not self funded, I gave the realtor a better deal because it was my first but this cost $5,000.

    Real estate is changing, not because of video or because I want it to, but probably the primary driver for change in my area is foreign investment. Traditionally the majority of the negotiating started at the showing, marketing, open houses etc., where all designed to get buyers to the showing. Its one thing to get the buyer to turn left on Main Street, its another to get them to cross the Atlantic.

    So as Ryan pointed out this was designed to attract buyers from out of town, not just the video but the entire website [which is still a work in progress]. So the value proposition, such that it is today, is more about outreach for the realtor and an easy to use site that provides the potential buyer with the necessary information to make an informed decision before buying that airline ticket.

    This value proposition doesn’t work for every house, but for properties that are above a certain amount that have been on the market more than six months this approach might be the right way to go.

    But as far as pricing goes, when we first discussed doing this I got the “but I can get a photographer to come out and shoot early morning and twilight for $350.” They already had great photographs and the property hadn’t sold so obviously that wasn’t the problem. Then the next standard answer was that it was just overpriced? Maybe, but that;s not for me to decide, nor is it the realtors decision, but I’m not there to undermine the realtors efforts I’m there to help so you have to figure out how to have that conversation. These are the things that I think we can help each other with on these forums as the market changes.

    One thing that I pointed out, its probably obvious to all involved but I think realtors tend to forget is that for every $75,000 the price is lowered they lose $4,500 in commission. So that means the value of my marketing effort is about $80,000. will it help them hold the price better by that amount? I don’t know but it didn’t cost them that much to find out, so I figure I’m pretty cheap insurance.

    I truly would like to help realtors develop a better marketing strategy that is more effective in this market. Regarding how it effects me, they have asked me to produce two more videos and shoot several more panoramas, so I think people are beginning to buy into this concept.

    Thanks for the feedback on the video and I’d love some more on the website, or at least the concept of it, I’m no website developer 🙂

  • Interesting discussion with a lot of avenues for exploration but for now….

    “I think realtors tend to forget is that for every $75,000 the price is lowered they lose $4,500 in commission.”

    Listing agents do not make 6% on a sale, especially a sale of $5 million plus. They GROSS 3% AT BEST, usually 3% for the first few million and then their take is dramatically lowered after that. And then they pay brokerage fees, expenses etc…

    Winning clients begins with understanding clients and how their business works. Larry needs to do a post about what real estate agents really make and then make it a permanent link.

  • @Chuck.

    Thanks for the information.

    $5,000, is a nice price!

    I see this pricing situation from both sides. I always feel if the owners were invested in the marketing they would want more and be happy to pay more. They would also “own” the marketing so even if they switched agents they would have the materials.

    However, it is hard or the agent to come up with that type of money even for a multi-million dollar house. Depending upon the sale they get 2-3% (assuming the buyers comes with an agent) and a significant cut goes to the mother company. So, it is understandable why they want to get as much for as little as possible. If the property doesn’t sell they are just out.
    I guess it all boils down to the value the agent thinks the marketing materials are worth.

    Congrats, from what I saw it looks good.

  • @Anne- Great idea! I’ll do that soon.

    Yea, basically what a listing agent makes on a sale it totally negotiable with the seller, subject to the approval of the agents broker so never assume you know anything about what a listing agent is making. Many times agents do a listing for nothing just to get their sign up in a given neighborhood.

  • A little cheeky humor combined with a great house. Very nice!

  • I don’t assume what an agent is making, I know, at least the ones I’ve worked with so far. What gives an agent leverage for those negotiations?

    For a listing agent to represent a property for free is like a photographer shooting a property for free to gain more business, a bad idea, where do you go from free?

    I’m not sure you can have it both ways, on one hand you say that photographers should charge a minimum and on the other you say that we need to be mindful how realtors make money. I think its a bad idea to base the value of our services on the inability of realtors to get quality listings or negotiate better commissions. I only have six properties from two realtors that I’m working with, so I hardly think I’m any kind of expert but I don’t think a single one of those properties had a sign. The days of people driving by a house and getting a “brochure” are quickly coming to an end.

    Like photographers, if realtors represent property for free their idiots.

    “I see this pricing situation from both sides. I always feel if the owners were invested in the marketing they would want more and be happy to pay more. They would also “own” the marketing so even if they switched agents they would have the materials.” Lucas I think your spot on, I have met every owner of every property I work on and basically I let them know that we are simply building an intellectual property library of assets that the seller owns and are available to both the seller and agent, or anyone they want, to promote the property. They can use them anyway they want.

    Hardly a novel idea but its amazing how hard it is to do simple things…

  • @Chuck

    “I have met every owner of every property I work on and basically I let them know that we are simply building an intellectual property library of assets that the seller owns and are available to both the seller and agent, or anyone they want, to promote the property. They can use them anyway they want.”

    Chuck, I rarely meet the owners prior to the shoot and often we do the shoot with only the agent and I never meet the owners. Perhaps my experience is unusual but I’ve never meet an owner prior to the shoot. Who is paying for your shoots? For me, almost always it is the agent. That means the marketing is controlled by the agent and isn’t owned by the seller. This really only comes into play when an agents contract is up and the listing moves to another agent. At that time the seller has no right to use the marketing materials you produced because they didn’t pay for them.

  • On the properties I’m working on the agents brought me in but generally the owner pays for it. I’m starting to think its my situation that’s unusual, but I don’t know why or how I got into the situation other than to say I didn’t know any better.

    Nothing against the realtors but I encourage them to not attend the shoot. This ranch video took three days to shoot and the realtor left me to it after the first couple of hours. Most realtors seem to have the expectation that you can get in and out in just a couple of hours, which I can do if they want to pay for a big enough crew to get the job done faster.

    I seem to be finding myself in a niche where I’m basically a marketing company for both the agent and seller. I’ve already had a situation where the realtor changed agencies and the marketing materials I produced went with the property.

  • Well Chuck, I think your right in saying your situation has been unusual. The “bread and butter” work is photographing standard properties. Two or three bedrooms a few baths, nice middle class houses. Looking at the PlatinumHD Propvid website you will notice the bulk of videos (under search videos) show what they do on a daily basis.

    Half the job has nothing to do with photography or video it’s about managing the shoot. Usually the owner is gone but sometimes not, so now you need to manage the owners, dogs, cats, twin newborn babies, and the agent, all there while your shooting. I’d love to say I photograph nothing but complete property websites for 5 million dollar and up properties and have 1/2 day to shoot but the reality is even here in SoCal there isn’t enough of that type of work.

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