This Week In Real Estate Video #58 – What’s The Right Length?

May 17th, 2013

We’ve got a bunch of great new property videos this week for your consideration.

The Penthouse – Air Apartments Eastwood: by Michael Stentiford in Adelaide: Michael was concerned about the fact that this video is 6 min. We’ve discussed the idea here before that video tends to be for the more serious lookers, and they will want to watch much longer that the buyer that hasn’t focused on a property yet. I think Michael and his client have done a great job. I was interested to the end! Such a great property! And I love the dramatic time-lapse sequence at the end!

3115 Beach Drive Victoria, BC: By Jacob & Jaimie McNeil, PlatinumHD Propvid Canada: Wow! What a magnificent property! It doesn’t get better than this in Victoria. Jacob and Jaimie have done a stunning job shooting this property. Several times I’ve kidded Jacob and Jaimie in the past that they have narration of Canadian property video by narrators with an Aussie accent. This video has more of a UK sound to the English. Jacob pointed out to me that they actually give the client a choice of AU, UK or North American English.

Mondonedo Cove: by Tom Coplen: Tom says, “This video is a bit of an experiment, trying to make a shorter video with a little faster pace, quicker cuts, no dissolve transitions and no voice-over. A little more upbeat in general”. Interesting effect of speeding up the cuts. What do you think?

15 East Spruce Street, Steamboat Springs, CO by Charlie Dresen: Charlie manages to give the viewer a feel for what for what it would feel like to live in this great ski resort property in central Steamboat Springs.

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18 Responses to “This Week In Real Estate Video #58 – What’s The Right Length?”

  • IMO the right length is about 4min. But I guess it could be extended to 8min for upscale and super luxury houses.

  • A lot of us struggle to find “the right video length”. But, I think that’s the wrong metric. I think the better guideline is “don’t be boring”. In general, it’s much more difficult to create five minutes of engaging video versus two minutes (Of course, you can be boring after 15 seconds or less). I love the first video, and really love the broker. His enthusiasm kept me engaged throughout. This could have still been edited down to 2.5 to 2 minutes, however.

    The video quality and production value of Charlie’s video is really, really superb. Still – for me – I started losing interest before the video was completed. IMO – for most home vids – I believe that human narration is needed to pull in and engage the viewer. Of course, that’s my opinion.

  • From what I have learned from Advertising video the overall length should not exceed 2-2.5 minutes. Individual clips within should be about 3-4 seconds. 2 second clips make if difficult to focus attention and longer than 4 seconds you start to lose attention.
    Next time you watch a commercial, time the total length and count the seconds of each clip.
    Remember the purpose of the video is to stimulate interest and prompt a call to see the property in person. You will not Sell a property with a video.

  • I think the 3115 Beach Drive BC video is perfect. Why? The total video length is 1-1/2 minutes, The narration is very good, the individual clips are 3 seconds with No Zooming and only slight Horz trolly allowing you to focus your attention. They have kept it clean and simple. Great Job!

  • Now compare the BC video with the Mondonedo Cove video. The second has a good opening but falls apart after that. No narration, 2 second or less clips, Zooms and panning are distracting, the refocus does not work, several clips are irrelevant. Being creative is one thing, but being over creative is another thing.

  • 15 East Spruce Street. This is more a life style video than an ad for selling a property. People in the ad do not add to this pitch. Family activities don’t get it. Playing in the snow and roasting hotdogs?? Who brings snow covered ski from “inside” the house, and what is the point? Who lets toddlers walk around on counter tops? Clips are 2 seconds or less and several images are at diffeerent seasons???. Switching from one season to another mid video doesn’t fit. The house being lit up doesn’t work. The twlight shot was to late and is a night shot. Reshoot it on a better day. Detail clip of fireplace stone says nothing. Too many elevator shots and the one going from the lower bedroom to the loft leave you hanging as the loft starts to come into view. Sequencing of the clips has no flow. Video needs narration, what are the features and benefits??

  • Sorry if I am critical in my reviews but that is the way it is. Hopefully, you will take it constructively, and not get your ego bruised. I would have liked to review the first video but couldn’t get it to play and only had a black screen with the old gentleman in the lower left. For shooting video there are a few tutorials on YouTube that will help with the basics. By the way…I have tried to do a couple of videos but they have consumed too much time, editing is a headach, and have turned out crappy. Anyone shooting and editiing a “professional” video for a property should charge $500 – $1,000 and this may be on the LOW side IMO.

  • If I had the opportunity to edit this video, I might create a dramatic 2 minute intro on the timeline like a movie trailer followed up with the narrative footage. Just a thought.

  • Most real estate videos are not meant to be entertainment. They’re also not generally the first thing a potential buyer sees… it’s the LAST.

    If someone is SERIOUS about purchasing the house, they will watch the video from beginning to end, whether it’s 2 minutes or 9 minutes. And I find they will watch it not once, but many, many times (I’ve had people state they watched these videos 50-100 times! I think that’s absurd, but I hear this a LOT).

    I could show you the most elaborate, amazing wedding video of all time, and you’ll probably be bored in a minute or two. However, if it was your daughter or son who was getting married, you’d watch the ENTIRE thing. Over and over. Even if it wasn’t a great video… because it’s YOUR CHILD.

    If you’re engaged as a potential buyer of a specific property, you’ll watch. This debate about the “proper length” is ridiculous in my opinion. Real estate videos are not “cat in the dryer” videos meant to grab someone’s attention in seconds on YouTube. They’re very targeted to ONE specific person – the possible buyer of a property.

    My property videos are a minimum of 4 minutes generally, and average about 5-6 minutes. Some have been 8-9 minutes. I shoot 4-5 videos every single day of the week – sometimes more. I’m booked solid over a week in advance for most of the year. My repeat business is nearly 100%. Clearly, longer videos work or people wouldn’t be coming back over and over and forking out hundreds of dollars for video. And oddly enough, after 8 years of doing this, thousands and thousands of videos, I’ve never had ONE person mention length. Ever.

  • I agree with most of what Fred says, about the only thing I slightly disagree with is that the video is the last thing potential buyers see. This might be a regional thing but I’ve noticed that more and more buyers are searching online first before they even talk to a realtor and the video is generally the second thing they see.

    So I guess it depends on where the buyers are spending their time searching, if its online then I think the video has more importance, if they’re searching with a realtor I think most realtors downplay the role of the video thinking it could potentially reduce the opportunity for them to make a sale.

  • When a realtor ask me about video length I always use an example of movie previews. When a movie preview is something I have zero interest in I probably talk through it, basically dont pay attention….hoping it ends soon. But when its a movie preview I am 100% interested in, I am glued to the screen, hoping the preview is an extended one.

    Ultimately, like Fred said, if someone is interested in that particular house…they will watch it. The only exception I would say is if the “video” is some photos being passed off as video, most people turn these videos off after 30 secs after they realize they already viewed those photos.

    I find most people (like Richard) commenting about video length have zero experience in the field. It like someone who has never picked up a camera commenting on exposure or composition.

    And Richard, you should put as much effort into your website as you did in your comments in this blog! The blue host landing page sure doesnt look “professional”….

  • One other factor for me is the overall workflow. Since I am the agent – and a videographer – producing a home-video efficiently is key to me. Hitting a two minute target makes me focus on the best parts of the home in a fairly standard sequence.

  • Richard – I applaud you for voicing your opinion. Thank you. And I take away you’re your comments many things I’d do differently. I agree with some of your comments and disagree with some too. I won’t go into details.

    Buying real estate is emotional. Just showing a video of a home is often not emotional. Maybe I went too far on this one, but showing how a home lives and what your life could be like in this home, just might make a buyers want to move to Steamboat Springs. Again, I see your point and when I make a summer video of this home it will be different. It will also have narration.

    If done right, pictures show the rooms and layout. But video has the ability to move people and make buyers pick up the phone and set up a showing. I can’t tell you how many people have given me positive comments on the bacon shot. No, it’s not the money shot but it sticks in peoples minds. And maybe that’s what it takes.

  • Great work Charlie, a creative mix of shots communicating the home’s fabulous geographical and environmental location. Really like how you mix it up with handheld shots to communicate a natural sense to the movie, but bring it back steady shooting off the tripod and or jib. Gee some days I really miss this genre – good job mate!!

  • Its probably a bit late to bring this up and I’m not sure if this is the thread but here goes anyway. In another thread someone mentioned how difficult and time consuming producing video is, obviously there’s a lot of variables and we all do it differently, but I think any discussion about the effectiveness, length, style or approach to property video should be discussed in context of the target audience, purpose and budget.

    There appears to be a pretty big difference in production quality between the sample videos for this thread. One thing that frustrates me is that these threads almost always get into a debate on whether video sells, sorry but I think that debate is over, it sells, get over it.

    I think it would be far more helpful if we discussed how producers of property videos can learn from each other, how can we help one another to produce more cost effective videos? How can we sell them to agents and brokers? How can raise our prices, not lower them?

    I guess we’re all actually competitors, so there may be some who don’t want to participate or add much to the conversation, but the only competitor I’ve ever run into is the idiot realtor walking around shooting a house with his iPad.

    I’ve mentioned this before and it never seems to go anywhere, either I’m full of it or forums are only good for being critical of others. I already know the response to this, but it gets a bit tedious.

  • @ Chuck – Great point. If you like what I do and think I could offer you something that could make you better, give me a call. That goes for anyone.

  • Chuck: Something I did about 4-5 years ago that was a lot of fun and very informative – it was done with some videographers from – we did an online video chat. There were about 12 of us and it was really a lot of fun. These days it can easily be done with Google Hangouts. It’s free, and if you get the right group of people together it’s a great way for like minded folks to get together and bounce ideas off of each other. At this time of year, I would assume coordinating something like that would be difficult as it’s such a busy time (at least here), but it’s so easy to do. Also great to see the people you’ve been talking with for all of these years on forums such as this.

  • Interesting to read Richard’s negative reaction to the lifestyle content of the Dresden Springs video, whereas for me (just the way I’m thinking lately), I watch videos of empty homes and I’m wanting to see humans interact with that space. The home is where we spend much of the meaningful part of our lives, so , for me, inhabitants bring the structure to life and gives it relevance.
    There is a risk though that elements of the lifestyle depicted may turn off some viewers – “I wouldn’t let my kid walk on the counter top”, or “bacon is unhealthy”. So maybe the empty ‘unpopulated’ property video is the compliment of a decluttered home shot for stills; it enables the viewer to imagine their own lifestyle imposed on the home. If populated and unpopulated videos are opposite ends of a spectrum, I do like to see some human elements.

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