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More Examples of Using Video To Market Real Estate

Published: 09/07/2010
By: larry

Wow, the last post on using video was hugely popular. It got the most traffic of anything I've talked about in several weeks. There was also a lot of great reader insights in the comments of this post. There are many more people shooting video and getting good results than just a year ago.

I can understand why this is such a hot topic, even though almost everyone has video capability in their still camera these days, getting good results with real estate video is far from easy! It's actually VERY difficult and takes skills very different than shooting stills. You have to tell a story with text or audio, you have to get good in focus video that doesn't shake and you have to edit the whole thing together with pleasant transitions and audio for an audience that is used to seeing 10 or more hours a week of professional top quality video.

I want to expand a bit on John Nilsson's example and give a bunch other examples of what Realtors and real estate photographers that are doing with real estate video:

  1. Ty Matthau, Louisville, KY
  2. John Quarles, Birmingham, AL
  3. Fred Light, Nashua, NH
  4. Saint Jean Laurent, Antibes, France
  5. Tony Meier, Redmond, WA
  6. Allan Mackenzie, Brisbane, AU
  7. Stone Home Photo, Toronto, CA
  8. Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO
  9. Brett Clements, Brisbane, AU
  10. Quentin Bacon, San Francisco, CA
  11. Rhett and Link

The bottom line is that even though putting together a strong video is challenging, more and more photographers are learning video skills and applying it to marketing real estate and getting great results. Doing video isn't for everyone but when done well it can be a huge benefit to marketing a home.

20 comments on “More Examples of Using Video To Market Real Estate”

  1. Some great videos there for sure!

    One thing that always amazes me is agents who feel that they need to be in the video blabbing away, often with the "ums" etc. I have been told countless times by home buyers that they find this to be annoying and often their volume is turned down anyway so the agents is really just standing in the scene and having the focal point on them rather than the house itself.

    I find that clean text on the video is so much more effective than voice overs or agents actually in the video, its suttle and gets the point (information) across perfectly and keeps the whole "professional" look to the video. How many times have you heard someone say that the background music on multimedia can be annoying?.....why would someone yapping in the backlground really be any different when you are trying to view a video?

  2. Hi Larry,

    Thanks for the mention in your post! I really enjoyed seeing the variety of video compiled. I also got some great ideas too. I would like to have some of those homes featured as my listings! 🙂

    As a realtor who enjoys photography, I can tell you this videos have caused my services to stand out in the marketplace and it is part of something I do for every home I sell. BTW... The listing you linked to has an accepted offer after 3 days on the market. Not bad at all!

    Tony Meier
    Windermere - Redmond

  3. @Chris...

    You raise some good points, just because we are agents does not make us trained actors! However, it is not just buyers who are looking to buy the particular home that are watching the video. It is buyers, looking for someone they can trust to work with, it sellers who are checking out their competition (and shopping for an agent) and in my case... it is my friends and clients on Facebook who see the videos I post and witness my success in a very tangible way.

    I can state with concrete results that my apperance in these video has brought business in the door and dramatically raised my awareness in the community I serve. Even if the presentation may be viewed as inperfect by some, I will continue to enjoy those benefits even with the occasional "um". 🙂

    Tony Meier
    Windermere – Redmond

  4. Actually, I thought Tony did a nice job for a very modest production. I agree that many realtors should not be doing voiceovers or otherwise making video presentations themselves, because they are just not comfortable with it and it shows in the video. However, I think Tony appears to be very comfortable and I think his presentation works. I think that, from his standpoint, even if the budget allowed hiring professional actor to do the presentation, it is beneficial for prospective clients to see Tony himself in action, and he appears to have the ease of a natural salesman.

    His video as a whole is perfectly competent for the purpose, although the subject and lighting appear to be relatively favorable for this purpose. With a more difficult subject and unfavorable ambient lighting conditions, an unlit video can look pretty miserable. Really, one of the biggest advantages of video is the ability to move the viewpoint around continuously, mainly to show the flow of space, but also sometimes to show off some aesthetic "lifestyle" features. If the ambient lighting is bad, but the realtor is good on camera and with voiceovers, then I would suggest doing a video introduction with the realtor (even light this if necessary), and then do stills with voiceover for the rest.

    I repeat, nothing wrong with video for real estate, or soundtracks, or realtors doing presentations. It is just a matter of the talent and ability for self criticism of the realtor and the videographer.

  5. Hello to all,

    Do I dare to post my first attempt!! constructive criticism is appreciated ..

  6. The time is right for real estate video tours to enter the marketplace. Photos are good for the MLS but even photos need a boost when it comes to marketing properties which is why I've incorporated Photo Tour movies into our site. Thanks to youtube for providing a platform, this is without a doubt the most creative and entertaining way to view a property. Taken one step further it becomes even more exciting with the endless possibilities of video!

  7. Sami... I watched your two movies and my criticisms would be the music and the lack of interesting transitions. Something I try to avoid when editing RE movies is elevator or church music... anything too melancholy that creates a sullen mood or puts the viewer to sleep is a no-no. I try to keep the viewer entertained with a music clip that is upbeat and often recognizable so that they enjoy the tour even if they're not crazy about the property. I also try to transition the clips in time to the beat so the movie moves along nicely... they can always view it again if they missed something. Transitions between photo clips should also create some interest because still photos are too stationary. Easing in and out or panning of photos to give them a sense of movement is also good.

    I hope these suggestions are helpful to you... good luck!


  8. I am looking at incorporating videography into my database of listings as well, but I absolutely will not do it unless it is done right, which will take some time. I like the look of some of these videos, but I am wondering how long they take to create, as I have no experience with the software one has to become familiar with. At present, I get my images to the client agent within 12 hours and video may create some timeline issues. I am also curious about the lighting equipment that one takes in with them, as well as camera stabilizing equipment. Any thoughts?

    Unless I have the knowledge to do a bang up job, I won't be offering video, although I really really want to.

    I hope the Nikon D400 has 1080p capture for as long as storage capacity allows.

  9. Daniel,

    As a former producer/editor of video for broadcast I'll try to answer some of your concerns. We started out with virtually no knowledge of video production but after only a month of experimenting we were able to produce a short commercial and after 6 months produced our first feature-length documentary which aired on public TV and received honors at film festivals here and abroad. I guess what I'm trying to say is.. you don't have to be a veteran film maker to produce good short videos. In fact, anyone who can afford a camcorder or still camera that also shoots video can string together a great movie in Windows Movie Maker complete with music, transitions, effects and captioning.
    As for shooting video on location, experience does go a long way but I will tell you that if you are going to do a real estate shoot definitely use a tripod and pan your shots or shoot stationary as that will eliminate the use of a steady cam. You can also create movement in your editor if necessary. Creativity is a big plus... make use of your focus control to create interesting effects and employ unique angles. Always shoot plenty of area footage for cut-ins... One of the biggest problems we had was lack of good cut-ins. Shoot lots of local scenic footage because when it comes to the editing you never have enough. As documentarians, we filmed lots of interviews and these can be incorporated into your video as well. Allow your listing agent to talk about the property to add interest. There are many ways to accomplish this and the safest way is to set it up in advance. In filmwork the camera shoots over the shoulder of interviewer so that the subject is not looking directly into the camera. This works very well for stationary commentary but you can also incorporate movement as long as the panning is smooth. Lighting set-ups can be very elaborate and usually are so unless you have professional lighting equipment it would be best to avoid bad lighting situations or shoot around them as best you can.
    As for delivery of real estate videos I would discuss this with your agents as they do take longer to film and process.

  10. Hi!
    I'm interested in your e-books. In one it said that
    you make 360 visual tours. My question is do you tell about Hot spots also? How to get the software?
    To make 360 visual tours and put in hot spots is
    what I want to do. Any thing that you can tell me would be appreciated. I've got the equipment.
    Thanks for your attention.

  11. Thanks a lot Jo, I really appreciate your feedback. Definately an area I will be exploring further. Now if only Adobe and Apple would start getting along, the world would be a much better place!

  12. Jo thanks for the feedback some interesting points you made about the transitions. The software will allow it but I was afraid of overusing it, it takes time and experimentation to get it right. I will definitely look for different music for the background and add more transitions. Best regard

  13. Daniel and Sami.. you're very welcome, I'm always happy to help. The more you explore and experiment the better you will get at this.
    I just uploaded a new Real Estate Photo Tour promo to youtube:
    The next step is video and our main concern is equipment compatibility.. Mac used to be our primary platform but now we're working on PCs so this should prove interesting. The Canon EOS 500D/Rebel T1 appears to be the best way to go to achieve high definition video. Things sure have changed since we were shooting w/the Canon XL1 ten years ago.. anyone want to buy Final Cut Pro4 software?

  14. Peter - your "dolly" style is very cinematic and is quite a brilliant way to separate you from the crowd. At first, I was thinking these might be too short in length. But the task at hand is to interest the attention span of a potential buyer. Very hypnotizing - love the up beat music tracks, too.

    Love your work, and will continuous play your YouTube channel on the big screen tonight. May have to trade my glidecam for a dolly!

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