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Example of A Realtor-Photographer Using YouTube Video

Published: 07/07/2010
By: larry

As a result of the recent post I did about creating YouTube videos with a mixture of video and stills and music, John Nilsson of Vail, Colorado showed me one of his recent YouTube videos that he put together. John shoots his own listings and shoots for other agents in the Vail area. You don't see many Realtors like John who is are both accomplished brokers and accomplished photographers. I love it when I meet a broker like John that appreciates the importance of great photography and can put it to work for his clients and associates.

John uses a 5DMkII and combines the stills, video  and sound track with iMovie on the Mac. He is in the process of getting a voice-over sound track done for this. This particular version is not in HD because John was having trouble getting iMovie to upload in 720p. While 720p would be a little crisper than this 480p version this version will probably be faster loading for people that don't have a really high bandwidth Internet connection.

I think John's combination of video and stills with background music is a great example of what you can do to market a property with just the simple basics. Notice that much of the video is selling the neighborhood and area as much as the particular property. Also, video is used sparingly and just where there is some movement to capture.

Thanks John for letting me share your video!

16 comments on “Example of A Realtor-Photographer Using YouTube Video”

  1. @Jim- Yes, the Ken Burns panning is done with iMovie. On the PC you could create this same kind of movie with Windows Movie Maker or ProShow Gold.

  2. The addition of a few lifestyle video clips to what is essentially just a typical panning slideshow seems to me to be extra effort for no real gain. Those video portions just seem gratuitous to me.

    I would really like to see some very polished examples of how to combine stills and video. I think perhaps that is a way to get the best of both worlds, since lighting homes for real estate videos is not normally in the budget.

  3. Realtors need to become far more sensitive to just how badly irritated consumers are by these slide shows with music.

    The typical consumer feels bait-and-switched when viewing these pseudo-videos and quickly abandons them.

    This isn't video and shouldn't be praised as such. It does nothing but harm a Realtor's marketing efforts and annoy consumers.

  4. I wonder if the irritation that Mr. Zekias describes is often the result of badly done videos and slideshows and not sound tracks per se. For real estate marketing, there are a lot of people doing low budget visuals (stills and video), and these people often lack the skills or the good taste to assemble a high-quality professional presentation. I agree that badly done videos and soundtracks (for videos or stills) are off-putting, but I have seen presentations with soundtracks that I thought worked well, and which I thought would appeal to a majority of viewers. In fact, I would say that a really well done soundtrack is a real advantage that helps keep the viewer involved over several minutes of viewing, and might even help liven up an otherwise boring video. Anyway, that is my personal experience. However, there is always the matter of musical tastes, and there will always be some percentage of people who just don't a like a particular kind of music. Nevertheless, many high-quality professional marketing and documentary videos (including advertisements) make use of music in their soundtracks.

  5. I do think this is a good combination of stills and video, and it is definitely crisp enough for watching on the web. I usually am one to shut off the sound on a tour, but I didn't mind this music as much as most (my realtors always ask me to add the music). I do think a voice over would enhance this movie and give the viewer who may come across this video through youtube and not the realtor's website, a better understanding of the purpose of the video.

  6. Wow, Joe - if you are really that irritated by slideshows just. say. no. Don't press play.
    I think the combo of stills & video are a great tool
    and help some people 'feel' their way through the home and, in this case, the surrounding community. I would be more inclined
    to view shorter videos, but overall, if I were in the market, I would love to view this before putting it on my tour list.

  7. Michael -

    I think Joe's comment went right over your head bud.......he is basically saying that a slideshow of photos put to music is NOT VIDEO and should never be described as such.

    To many multimedia companies are using terms that are basically lies when describing their products.

    An example is Tour Factory, calling their slideshows "virtual Tours" which to most means a 360 user controlled panorama, not a simple slideshow of photos set to music. They also call another product a "video Tour" which a set of those same photos put together in a video format with simple panning and kens burn type effects, but in NOT WAY is actual video that is taken using a "VIDEO CAMERA" that most people think they are actually getting.

    Its a joke to say the least and I can imagine how many buyers click on these links thinking they are about to watch one thing and are totally disappointed when they realize that all it is is a basic slideshow that a 10 grader can put togerther using a $40 program like slideshow pro.

  8. When I'm watching a documentary showing stills mixed with footage,
    set to music, I call it a film or video, not a slideshow. I don't really
    believe the 'typical' buyer cares whether it is called a virtual tour or video
    slideshow. Buyers who are also pro photographers or filmmakers - that's
    another story... not your typical viewer.

  9. Kudos to John for throwing this out there.

    Let me say that I think the shots here are great -- video and still. But I see lots of challenges here, and I am going to respectfully disagree with the thought that this is a "great example of what you can do to market a property".

    I think there is a real composition issue here -- is the sense that the whole video is the composition. Videos have a linear quality to them that is missing from a single still image -- the story isn't in the picture, but in the way many pictures go together. In that respect, this video is falling short for me.

    First, the establishing shots are all about Vail. Thats great, but if I'm ready to drop some coin on real estate IN VAIL, rest assured I already know that Vail is a great place to be. So the first 24 seconds of the video have nothing obvious to do with the property for sale, and are likely wasted on a potential buyer. We have 5 lifestyle cuts, then a cut of some people walking in ski park area, then a living room. Bottom line, that is WAY TOO LONG to get to the property.

    Once we get in the property, I didn't feel initially like I was moving through the home. I need to feel like I came in -- instead, the first shot is of the door itself. We then move through some very nice photos of the kitchen, living area, and.....

    BATHROOM? (lose THAT bathroom -- but keep the master. Sweet shower!). Seriously, the first bathroom interrupts the flow (?!) of the presentation. In my opinion, its the videos job to make me want to see the property. In that respect, its okay to leave out the less than sensational parts of the home.

    Then we move through the rest of the property in an orderly manner.

    But at 1:07, we go back to "town". I never see the home again. And by the time I get to the end of the video, I honestly forgot the home I just saw.

    I think still photographers, present company included, need to be honest with themselves -- we are not automatically videographers. My customers are requesting video all the time, but they want to know that it is VIDEO -- they want fireplaces flickering, ceiling fans spinning, pans across multiple axises. And its hard, much harder than a still, to get good images. Lighting is a b***buster, colors are random, shutter speeds only go so slow, and most of our post tools are unavailable to us for image correction, unless with have $1000 + software running on $5000 computers.

    With that said, we cannot run from the challenge, but I agree with several folks above -- a "multimedia" product such as a video is a powerful tool, but it has to be more video than slideshow. Otherwise, we aren't bringing anything to the table that we weren't already doing five years ago.

  10. Have to agree with Ty, there is a big difference between a still photographer and a videographers. As a still photographer who is playing with video I'm in the early early learning stages and the product I'm producing isn't up to snuff, even though I do have them on my website and sell them. But, just because I can do stills doesn't make me good at video. Like everything it is a learning curve.

    The other thing us photographers are doing is getting caught up in words, video, multimedia, slideshow, virtual tours. No one but us cares right now.

    John's video when compared to a ton of other videos on you tube is pretty good. The problems with his video are all noted in previous posts but the main thing is he is trying to connect/market to his clients may find interesting. Isn't that all of our jobs? If your a photographer, realtor, or doing video, isn't it all about getting people to look at the property and perhaps be interested enough to come and take a look in person? In time the terms video, virtual tour, etc. will mean specific forms of media but right now the terms are loosely used to describe something besides still photographs you click on. It is just a matter of time.

    If it's call video, multimedia, or a slideshow doesn't matter it is all marketing and as I see it marketing is our job.

  11. I was, folks, relaying the reactions I hear repeatedly from actual readers and buyers, to most of what is palmed off these days as real estate "video."

    We have nearly 2,000 videos online on YouTube on various channels, and have been doing real estate video for nearly 4 years now. Our main channel is

    Virtually everything we do wouldn't pass muster, I suspect, with the photographic professionals here. But consumers like it, as evidenced by the number of views our videos draw, and agents and builders we work with report very positive response from consumers.

    I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy and think that marketing success is determined by consumers, not by the people doing the marketing. My twenty-three years of running consumer-oriented publications and Web sites reinforce that approach.

    Consumers don't care about the quality issues that dominate the discussions here. They want to learn something from the video that they aren't getting from the more top-down marketing efforts that Realtors obsess over. Just talk to buyers about what they're interested in and they respond very positively.

  12. I absolutely agree with Joe Zekas. Listen to buyers.... (or in my case, I hear sellers complaining ... who are also buying... as I'm shooting their homes). They despise these zooming slideshows and absolutely feel it is "bait and switch". Many don't even bother to look at them because they know what's on the other end. NOTHING.

    When buyers are searching for properties, the first thing they do is drill down based on their criteria (#beds, baths, location, price, etc). THEN they quickly look through the photos. THEN, if they're still interested, they take the time (and for some consumers, it DOES take time as not everyone has a fiber optic connection!) and download the "virtual tour" - whatever it may be.

    They assumption by consumers is that this tour will offer them MORE information than they already have on the property. They've already SEEN the photos, so taking those same photos and randomly zooming in and out on chair arms and doorknobs and putting some bad music behind it is NOT offering anything new. If you put lipstick on a pig ... it's STILL a pig!

    A good tour (i.e. helpful to the consumer) offers something additional. This could be:

    1) Larger photos than what the MLS allows
    2) Additional photos not viewed in the MLS
    3) Additional angles of the same rooms that weren't available on the MLS
    4) Architectural details with closeups
    5) Photos of the neighborhood, the street, the park down the road, the stores nearby
    6) Audio with embellished descriptions of the home, neighborhood and community
    7) Audio with the homeowner or builder commenting on their home... why they love it... why they built it....

    There are a million different ways to change up your tours to make them effective - either with stills, video or a combination.

    Remember, if people get to the point of downloading a tour, they're VERY interested in that specific home. They WILL watch that tour, with great interest. Possibly more than once. I

    The important issue is that it must be something MORE.... not just the same (usually bad) MLS pictures repackaged in another format that offers nothing additional.

  13. At great risk of insult and attacks on my character, I post this link to a listing I have in Houston. I made the "tour" on iMovie. In the past, I have used a combination of DV and stills when making these, but it is very time-consuming and difficult to get the two to match up well (lighting and image quality). I also don't have wide-enough angle lens for my Panasonic DVC30 to get good shooting angles inside (and that was a $3000 camera when I bought it!).

    I post this because the seller loved it, and around 100 potential buyers clicked on it from a link provided by the Houston MLS. If the sellers dig it, they'll tell their seller friends, and more listings for me, right?

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