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Here Is What Real Estate Video Should Look Like

Published: 04/08/2018
By: larry

KristineLemannBack in 2007, when was starting to expand into the US, I had lunch with the head of Open2View and he pointed out this video and told me about Brett Clements who shot the video and won the Australian award for best property video in 2008.

As long time readers know, over the years, I've followed Brett, his work, and his company A long time ago, I came to the conclusion that this is the best property video I've seen. After 10 years, I haven't changed my mind. This is Hollywood level equipment, production, and editing quality (Brett worked in Hollywood for a number of years). This video cost roughly $8,800 to produce. Not in your average Realtor's advertising budget but hey, we are not talking your average starter home here. This is being used to market the whole building; not just the penthouse in this video so a few thousand dollars for a knock-out video is not that unreasonable.

The other amazing thing about this video is the lady in it! She is not a professional model; she is Kristine Lehmann, whom at the time, was the listing agent for Reflection Tower Two at Coolangatta, QLD. Is this lady talented or what!? Kristine is not your average listing agent when it comes to being on camera and talking about the property!

Since I first posted this video back in 2008, an amazing number of readers who shoot video have told me that Brett's work and this video in particular have been a major inspiration for their work.

10 comments on “Here Is What Real Estate Video Should Look Like”

  1. Thanks I agree this is the among the best I've seen. We could gather about 10 more of these today costing maybe $10-15k. We would be astounded and entertained and wished we had the clients willing to pay $15k and the talent and equipment and crew to produce a video like these.

    Soooo... while I am entertained this has no relevance to the average great RE video that clients are willing to pay for.

    Back to reality here with some examples of product for the real market that exists for let's say 80% of us. Now don't get me wrong It's great to present the launch of a space shuttle or one of the US Moon shots to a model rocket club. Then we go home to our Estes and put a match to one of our cardboard tubes and watch it soar to about 500 feet.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not being a jerk about this. We all need to strive to be the best and improve our techniques. But we all must be business people first and artists second. Especially when it comes to part of our business that produces maybe 20% or more of our revenue. Watching these high end productions do inspire me to improve my techniques and shoot for the stars. But back to business and the real world.

    I'd be very interested to see the best videos produced from this group that they typically sell for $50 (Zillow walk through) $150 (Zillow premier agent video) and maybe $250 and then the $500 video (my guess maybe 1% of the agents would regularly pay this for higher end properties). That's the market we live in even in the Big City (maybe not on the Cali coast though they would pay more). By doing that, providing great examples of videos marketable to 80% of the agents, we set achievable goals and standards that help us set pricing and develop superior product that fits into those slots that actually exist in our markets and we can make money on.

    As for me I've been struggling for the past year to improve my technique and my workflow to make a min of $50 an hour doing video including all on and off site time (I know that's low) that I'm not embarrassed by. I think I've finally reached that point but who knows. Please someone give me direction and examples that make business sense to the average RE photographer. I really like video. If we don't get good at it we leave a lot on the table.

  2. I'm with Frank on this. One of the first things I tell a client is if you're looking to have a 300,000 dollar car commercial they lets part ways now. If you're looking for a very cost effective way to push your listings to the top of Zillow I can help with that. I too like Frank have been working to improve the quality of my photos and video. I made a big jump yesterday, the new A7iii with 28-70 and 16-35 arrived. Also a new Sekonic meter. Who know's maybe it's time to buy Scott's course. I will close by saying the majority of those on the site are always helpful in helping me grow as a real estate photographer.

  3. As much as I've enjoyed Platinum's work over the years, I'm going to go counterpoint on this. Just as a photograph's power must stand on it's own (without words to explain it), the power of video imagery has to be equally powerful in the absence of sound and dialog. If you watch this particular video with the sound "off", it doesn't hold up on the strength of the property it's advertising, and instead has the woman as the main feature. The video essentially relies on the sound to prop it up.

    If you contrast that with our current contest winner, his video doesn't require any sound to make it compelling, and the sound he added compliments his powerful moving imagery of a property. I think both videos might be equal if the one posted above didn't rely on the woman in it. They both have great camera work, they both include beautiful properties.

    Did I mention I got fatigue by the redundant use of that woman? hahaha 🙂 Dont get me wrong, I love women, but I'm no longer infatuated by using them as props. Well, mostly. Some of the time.

  4. I agree with a bit of what Larry and everyone else has said. I do think this is a fabulous mini-movie video. Unlike one I saw recently where the two unshaven men took over the video leaving me wanting to see the penthouse apartment instead of a self love fest, I enjoyed this spokeswoman since I was getting a lot of visual information at the same time. So much for my clients who want a video that is 1 minute or less long for social media. While I agree, just getting my clients to fork out $350+ for a full video + teaser, watching really high end videos is not only inspiring but a wealth of techniques and videography approaches that I can apply to my far lower market versions. For my level of video, I still find the best realistic inspiration is Grant Johnston from NZ. If I could shoot like him I would be in heaven (his ad it top right and well worth the price for the tutorial. And no I am not paid.)

    And Grant too is constantly tinkering and trying new approaches and equipment that have helped me choose and buy my cameras, lenses, tripods, sliders and now my stabilizer/gimbal. But we all need inspiration, and this video certainly gives me that. Its exciting, jazzy, and I do see enough of the properties to get a very good idea of what I would be buying if I had the millions necessary. Meanwhile, I can just drool over my keyboard. Now I just have to go back to convincing my market that video is even necessary and where the market is going. So get out in front of it.

  5. Kevin, you very much mistaken if you think video imagery is the most important part of a video.

    Actually, it's the opposite.

    People will watch a poorly shot video with great sound but most people will struggle to get all the way through something with poor sound production.

    The importance of these videos is not just getting the agent's brand out there -- it can do just as much for the video production company as well.

    I'm sure Brett's real bread and butter is still the $500-$1000 segment of the market.

    Even you do these kinds of videos at a loss, it helps to establish you in a higher segment of the market.

  6. What Charles said - good audio is key even to poorly shot video. That said, video quality has to have common sense. Nothing drives me up the wall faster than a smartphone video held at vertical (portrait) rather than horizonal (landscape) and creating the moving shadow boxes on either side of the video content.

    Video offers a new dimension, and ignoring costs Brett's are phenomenal and inspirational for developing personal style as you experiment with different approaches, using that to determine which style would be better for the specific property. While the linked video is great, my personal favorite is BallinDowns. Others do great work too. Two primary approaches are walk-through (please, no heavy breathing audio as you run and talk through the house), and lifestyle. While most lifestyle are paid actors, perhaps the most powerful I have seen was using the current owners in a sit down interview style discussing what they like about the house/neighborhood/community, essentially showing them as a cameo with B-roll breaking away to what they are talking about as they continue the audio. For Realtors, this is also a very powerful tool when dealing with the difficult client who insists on interacting with prospects...and invariably says something that trashes a done deal. In a controlled manner, able to get out what the owners want to express...but keep them away from prospects!

    Given all that has been said by others the big gorilla, MLS regulations impacting the final product. Regulations differ within each independent MLS organization so there is no standard. While I think of the local MLS being relatively fair, particularly as they address copyright and licensing and other issue. Theirs are also online with a search field. I searched for the word "video" and zero hits! Virtually all relevant regulations are written for photography and virtual tours. The update regularly with just this week allowing virtual staging utilizing a set procedure/narrative to identify as virtually staged, perhaps the worse they could do is update by adding the words "and video" to the regulations on photography and virtual tours. Those regulations would virtually destroy video as in addition to the branding prohibitions, they also prohibit showing people, naming/identifying the owners, any text on photos other than the MLS watermark, etc. There goes the Storyboard.

  7. As a creator, realtor, and video judge for this beloved website, all too often I’m seeing videos created for the wrong reason. It’s not to showcase the agent, or get viral views, or push the envelope with sexy girls and flashy cars. Creators are there to sell the home and make a video with a specific audience in mind. It’s imperative that creators speak with the real estate agent and possibly the sellers to try to get a sense of who the buyer might be for that specific home. A video for home on the Malibu coast is going to be something completely different than a home for sale in rural Wisconsin. We’d all like to make that cool video of the modern home with a pool cut to hip-hop staring bikini models in the sun. But that’s just not the reality of 99% of content makers on this site.

    We need to provide the vital information and tell a compelling story for all these ubiquitous suburban homes. The tools we have today are vast. Great imagery is key as well a good camera movement and editing. And yes, if you don’t have great audio, you lose everyone. So, invest in a great mic, good music, and present the home in a way that’s going to appeal to a group of buyers of the home you're making a video of. But you’re not going to know who that buyer might be unless you talk with the agent and get a sense of the demographics of the area.

  8. I've been quiet here for many, many years and all the points of concern raised here are all very good points. The reality is there is such an awesome collective pool of knowledge here and across the globe with respect to property video, some have been at a very very longtime and it would be awesome if somehow the collective knowledge could be harnessed here on this great website which has been a great resource of knowledge for me in years past, how to do that or how that would look I don't really know? I think if you are new to video for real estate or even experienced, entering the video contest here is a great place to start, a good way to receive positive feedback for improvement especially from longtime experienced industry guys like Hamish Beetston and others that freely and sincerely give up their time to pass on valuable feedback. For me I haven't stopped learning and not ashamed to put up my hand and say I still don't have all the answers.

  9. Something to consider with regards to audio. Digiday reported in 2016 that up to 85% of videos viewed on facebook were watched without sound. While that number could be disputed, the number of people who consume video on mobile devices, or in public or work environments is extremely high and growing. And a large number of them ARE doing it without sound. High quality audio is an imperative (and not expensive), but video product needs to be prepared to speak to an audience that will never "listen" to what you have to say - at least, not at the point of engagement. Simple lower third titles work, and plugins for FCP and Premiere allow text animation on a simple and cost effective basis.

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