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A Stunning Example of How to Use Stills and Video to Market a Home

Published: 30/06/2011
By: larry

Quentin Bacon and Scott Hargis teamed up to shoot a stunning classic mid-century modern home designed by Don Sandy in Orinda, CA. Quentin and Scott's client is Michael Thompson of Sotheby’s International.

The finished official marketing site for this home is This site is a great example of how to market upper-end home. Plenty of great still images that can be displayed full screen if you choose. Note how all you have to do is click "Photography" and the images show themselves in brisk succession. The viewer doesn't have to figure out navigation, but can take control of the slideshow if they choose.

I like the way Quentin has used time-lapse in the video on sunsets, exteriors, and even interiors. It's never occurred to me that time-lapse sequences would be interesting way to show how the interior light changes over time. The other thing I like about the video is that the camera moves seem unusual and not just the standard slider moves you normally see in a property video. These moves are different and unusual and it tends to hold viewer attention more because they are unusual.

Scott and Quentin both have a bunch of stills on their blogs here and here. Many show behind the scenes view of the shoot.

Awesome job guys!

16 comments on “A Stunning Example of How to Use Stills and Video to Market a Home”

  1. It's this kind of inspirational material that get me excited and motivated. It's like the cliff notes to an exciting novel. Brief, captivating, stimulating, and one big tease. And the use of people and a crowd makes me want to say "hey, I want that home, get away from there". Emotions. That's what sells real estate. And this video bring it out.

    I touched on emotions in a past blog below. If you can get buyers emotionally attached and involved in a property, you've done your job.


  2. That was above average 😉 Wow!

    Sure make's me wish I had the web skills to be able to put up a good looking site like that.

  3. Just gorgeous--the property site, stills, video, everything! Wondering what the resource input and charge to the client were to make it profitable for Quentin & team?

  4. Excellant video and photos, I thought the speed of the photos was a little too quick and it seemed odd with the great lifestyle shots versus the poorly staged home IMHO. A fire in the FP would have added a little more to some of the pics. BUT fantastic job of pulling it all together.

  5. Wonderfully produced. Pulled out all the tools. Underwater, under car, in tree...
    I also would like to know what the client was charged. I think we would all like to be doing at least some really creative work like this. I am certainly curious to see what some agents are willing to pay for this type of production.

  6. Hmmm. I must not be seeing it. The techniques are fantastic. However, this video is a bit confusing for me. I get the beginning sequence showing the valet parking and the long winding road to the property. The sign tells me it is a community. Is the valet parking only for an event or is it available all the time? I don't get the going back and forth between the pool and driving? Is the pool not at the house? It made me feel the pool and water feature was at a community house you can use. Because now we are back in the car I'm thinking driving to the main house. However, the house looks like the community building. Between the 2:20 and 2:45 time I'm totally confused, interior walls and windows and now people standing around the fire. Am I back at the community house? There's the pool again, something I didn't see out the windows. Hmmmm..

    Probably just me but I just couldn't follow what was going on. But, the video production was fantastic.

  7. what equipment did the videographer have ? dolly etc - some great moving-elevated shots

  8. Usually photos are much more appealing than video... but when they're as well done as this one, the photos pale in comparison. Great Use of the GoPro camera on the car. The GoPro is remarkable stable and smooth when attached to moving objects. It's the rare property however, that can make good use of a nice drive.

  9. Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Projects like these are rare in the RE world, but awfully fun to work on!
    I can't speak directly to the budget, but I can say that I was compensated fairly and on par with my commercial photography rates.

    I'm sure Quentin will chime in at some point, but he used a Canon 5dMii, 24 TSE, a slider, jib, and glidecam for his shots. The time-lapse was done with specialized sliders and step-motors to give the camera motion. Super cool stuff.

    We shot way more stuff than could ever be used, but you're seeing most of the best of it....the last thing in the world that we (sellers, Sotheby's, Q & I) wanted to produce was a linear, traditional, walk-through or "tour". We wanted something that showcased the house and it's potential as a serious entertaining venue. This place is located about 40 minutes from downtown San Francisco, and there's little question who will buy it -- it'll be a captain of industry who needs a good trophy home where he (she) can throw lavish parties. The inside is nice enough, but it's also endlessly beige (very suburban) and the staging didn't really add a lot of color either. So we tried to show enough of it to give a sense of the features (vaulted ceilings, glass, stone floors) but focussed most of the attention on the lifestyle.

    It's not a community - I looked for the sign you mentioned, Frank, but couldn't find it. Everything you see in the video is "the house" and the land it's on. Remember: the rich are very different!

  10. Hey Scott,

    If you look at the 0:25 mark you will see a sign that says "residents and guests only". Private property usually says "private drive", "private property" or something along those lines. Next you see a sign for valet parking. Here in SoCal having full time valet service isn't unusual for residents of middle to upper priced multi-unit properties. It makes it seem like it was multi-family entrance.

    This is not a comment on the video or stills - between the staging, the paint, and the lack of architectural details this property doesn't feel like a high end estate. Maybe it does say something about the video and stills - the work is done so well I see the generic counter tops and what looks like consumer grade appliances. Really, who would go for that stove top in a high end house? Everything about the place screams generic, the stone around the pool, the carpeting, plain woodword. For a high end property this seems to have a lot of things the new owners would NEED to change before moving in. The house, not the video/photos, has a feeling of a nice middle class condo. Perhaps pushed to upper-middle because of the size. Down here this place would have a hard time but, maybe in the Northern California market this stuff isn't a problem.

  11. I am seeing jerky motion during most pans. Im not sure if I am more sensitive to it because I have trouble with the same issue or if it is negligible. I think it is something similar to the "jello effect", a cmos limitation. Nobody has mentioned it, is it just my computer or do others see it to? Stunning clips though...

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