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How Can Real Estate Photographers Create Short Teaser Videos?

Published: 19/04/2018
By: larry

Ashley in South Carolina asks:

I am looking for a new way to do what our Realtors call "teaser" videos. Very short, fast moving, less than 30-second videos to generate interest in a property. I would like a program that will generate different looking videos if possible.

I assume you are referring to short videos like this. Although you say you are looking for software to do it, it sounds like you are wanting to do it from a series of stills. While there is software like Animoto, Magisto, Smilebox, and many others that do this, I think it would be much more effective to just create your own with a series of video clips from the shoot. To me, these days, shooting and editing video is so quick easy, it's always a big turnoff when I see video constructed from a series of stills.

7 comments on “How Can Real Estate Photographers Create Short Teaser Videos?”

  1. I recently stumbled upon a great tool for this. Due to issues Zillow had last year regarding their walkthrough videos, the videos themselves are now readily available after you have shot them. Once the video is shot, it actually saves the video to your phone. Yes, it's up to 2 minutes, but you can easily trim it down using a number of phone apps. The video is already stitched together just as it would appear on Zillow.

  2. I have started offering what I also call "teaser" videos, you could also call them "Trailers" like used in the movies. I have started doing this since I have read studies that show that social media viewers are spending less and less time watching videos while at the same time those making the videos are making them longer. The problem with this study is that it deals with all the videos and all the viewers on social media and has nothing to do with any specific markets such as RE. But assuming that when people come to an RE video on YouTube, Vimeo, and other social media sites, they are arriving cold. I mean by that, they have had not previous interest in the property being shown. So in that case, for clients who actually put their videos on the social media sites, I am offering a 30-45 second version of the full length video I do for clients.

    So what about the full video? I make one that won't put people asleep, but aimed at viewers who are already interested in the property since they have viewed the property either from that "teaser", from a property site linked in with MLS, from a realtor's web site or a realtors eBlast. So have seen stills and hopefully read about the property and at this point want to see more. Lets face it, we have to respect the value of people's time. Both in watching videos and stills as well as then picking up the phone and calling the realtor. But we want, or I want, them to be as sure as they can be that if they invest time and money in traveling to see a property, they will feel confident from the stills and the video that they time will be worth spending. This on behalf of my clients.

    I am also using the "teaser" as the first "image" to show on TourBuzz's "Crisp" tours. I have 8 images that show on the first intro slide show and the short video can come first. So people who get to the TourBuzz property site will know right away if they have seen a property they want to investigate further. So in addition to the rest of the stills, they can click on the Video button in the nav bar and see the full video that shows them the whole property.

    So yes, for properties that are of a high enough commission basis to cover the extra hour it takes me to cut down my full video to a 40 second "teaser", save it and send it to my clients, I am doing this now. And I don't use any software to do this, I just cut down the full video using Final Cut ProX that I use for the full sized one, delete the dissolves, shorten clips and do away with most of them retaining just those that give enough of a glimpse to wet the appetite of someone who likes the look and feel of the property. Sort of like those people in supermarkets who give you a taste of a product so if you like it you will buy it from the shelves.

    Now I just have to convince my regular clients to use social media, only a few do. That's another story. But here is the link to my latest TourBuzz for a house, a modest house, using this method:

  3. Andrew. Thank you. I've been practicing for about a year now and happily being paid for it. I use a Phantom 4 Pro (and yes I managed to my own surprise to pass the 107 Remote Pilot's exam. I just don't have a technical mind so memorizing facts and figures that have little meaning for flying what is essentially a very sophisticated toy helicopter is a real stretch. But if I write down the questions and then look at them over and over again and commit the page to visual memory, for the short term, I can manage. But plowing through the Sectional Charts and short hand weather reports almost melted down my grey cells, those that have survived so far) and for this shoot, since this is my budget video, I shot the ground level video with my GoPro 5 Black on an EVO stabilizer mounted on my mono-pod to speed up the shoot. Dragging around my slider on its own tripod takes a lot more time. With the GoPro on the mono-pod I can just slip it into a belt mono-pod holster and shoot the video right after I shoot the stills. It speeds up the video part of the shoot and the lighting (like sun shining into the house) is the same for the stills and the video. I like to retain that visual consistency. I have worked out how to simulate the slider moves but the mono-pod allows me to add some moves like the lifting up in what I think is called a "crane" move as well as a bit of walk through movement. But with my creaky joints I cannot do a smooth walkthrough style no matter how often I try.

    But the GoPro cannot match the sharpness of the Phantom video. And to shoot in Linear, I have to shoot at 2.7 k and I shoot at 60 fps so I can slow down the video if necessary. Usually I have to speed it up. It also does not do so well in low light. So since I use Final Cut ProX for editing, I use some 3rd party effects to sharpen the clips, adjust the color, contrast, saturation and fine a color picker to get to neutral although I also use a color meter from Minolta that I bought for film 30 years ago. That reads the light color falling into the room and for both video and stills it is really getting me very close to the best color balance which cuts down on time in post.

    So the GoPro is allowing me to cut down on shooting time on site and thus I can charge less to my clients who wring their hands on paying for video at all and watch their commission being reduced by that additional amount. But since the properties sell faster and higher in price, they can rationalize it to themselves. Plus they can then show the property sites on TourBuzz to potential sellers to get their listing. Since few realtors in my market are doing video, this gives them a leg up on the competition.

    Hope this answers your questions. This has been an evolution in thinking especially the two video offering - long and short.

  4. Some backstory first: I regularly turn down video projects based on the quality of certain properties. Knowing intimately how much work goes into producing a good video, I am honest with my clients if I feel the property will show well as a full length (2-3 min video). (Are the visuals here strong enough to make a video ?) In my market, I don't consider the price point of a property to be the deciding factor on if it will make a good video. It's all about visuals. There are plenty of $5M dollar condos here that were last updated in 1991. Great for an agent commission but not a good video subject! I've made the mistake of trying to produce a great video of mediocre properties. It's agonizing to try and make something great when the subject matter is weak to start with. Not to mention the base cost of producing a video for me is pretty much the same whether or not the property is $200k or $25M. So to go through all of that effort and cost to ultimately be under whelmed with the final piece is a disappointment to a client and myself. Of course, you can make average properties look better in video by adding some models, lifestyle sequences, area coverage but of course these elements all increase the cost of production and it may not be worth it.

    I did not want to continue trying to make great with average subject matter BUT I did not like the idea of turning down all of that revenue either. So, about a year ago, I began offering teaser videos (60 seconds max) available only as a companion to a photo shoot. The pitch was that a teaser video will allow clients with lower budgets or listings that don't warrant full videos (average homes or $5M oceanfront condos with worn out pink carpet) to still utilize video in their marketing efforts. For me, it's relatively easy to shoot a 10-12 video clips (sliders, gimbals etc.) of a select number of a property's highlights while I'm there shooting photos. Shooting and editing the teaser is much simpler in terms of creativity and time. So the cost is about 30% of my typical video costs.

    This works well for me and there are rules to make it cost effective for all.
    1. I only offer Teaser Videos as a companion piece to my photography services. Any add-ons to the photography will also have a corresponding video clip included. (i.e. Aerial, Twilight) My full length property films are a stand alone service that does not require a photo shoot.
    2. The video is limited to 60 seconds max. This includes any client branding so it really about 50 seconds of content. This will keep the video Instagram friendly.
    3. Keep it simple and make sure your client understands what to expect and THEIR client knows what to expect as well. ( Why didn't we see all the bedrooms?...No voice overs, limited if any titling, simple music track)

    The challenges I've seen so far are that many clients don't really know what to do with it and you may end up holding their hand in the distribution of the video. This negates the simple, lower cost production if you're stuck on the phone explaining how Youtube or Instagram works. It's really aimed at more marketing savvy clients. In fact, most of most of my regular video clients will sometimes opt for a simple teaser on certain properties because they have a specific marketing strategy in mind. Sometimes they want a full video and teaser reel too. In addition, it has made my services accessible to more clients with smaller marketing budgets. It think it has been a success but not a game changer. Just another offering that is consistent with my business.

    Like many of us here in the RE world, I constantly work to improve my work in preparation for bigger jobs, I've recently started offering Teaser videos to my Interior Design / Architectural photography clients too and it's paid off. I call them Project Spotlights. Same production parameters. These certainly pay more AND all the projects look great too making them fun to shoot! The RE projects were a good testing ground to be able to offer something like this to a client outside of the RE world.

    I'm not sure that this answers the original question about an easy way to produce these, but that's my experience as video producer.

  5. @Travis - I definitely agree with you on the challenges you've seen regarding video and the fact most clients don't really know what to do with it. We encountered this seven yrs ago when we started offering property video to our clients. Only a few had a specific marketing strategy in mind however, most didn't know what to do with it. Those who did were more aggressive in their marketing techniques.

    Currently, we do not offer property videos.

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