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Real Estate Video: The Good Bad and The Ugly

Published: 21/10/2007
By: larry

I found these 3 videos thanks to Base10 blog. I know this is going to be controversial but I think it needs saying. Video of this size just doesn't do a good job of showing off a home. There's nothing in homes that moves so why bother with video? People are using video just because they can not because it's effective marketing.

The Good: Here's a good use for video... a Realtor explaining what he can do for clients. This is effective use of video there's just no better way to do a Realtor chat!


The Bad: These are stills turned into video with panning and video effects. This would look better if done in a 800x600 slide show with an audio sound track. There was no video camera involved in creating this video... just video production software. This technique takes some great looking stills and makes them small and fuzzy.


The Ugly: The sound track of the lady explaining her home is OK but the images are awful! The video camera moves up and down, changes aperture to adjust to different lighting in different rooms and has an awful case of barrel distortion. You could put this sound track on a monoslideshow of large still photos and have a good presentation but in video form this is just not effective! I can barely stand to watch the whole thing.


OK, I can handle it. Go ahead and beat me up!

8 comments on “Real Estate Video: The Good Bad and The Ugly”

  1. I agree that these videos inparticular are not that effective in marketing homes, at least they are no substitution for the great still photography that has set the standard in these circles. However, these videos are far from some of the better examples of effective real estate video I've have seen. I hope you don't mind me linking what I consider some better examples of what is possible:

    Now as far as the objections go, let's start with your Larry. "There’s nothing in homes that moves so why bother with video?" Well, actually there are things that move, most importantly people. Showing the flow of the space with a walk-through type tour puts the home in a much better human scale than stills can, in many cases. Being able to move both forward and backward as well as side to side creates interesting perspective changes that are next to impossible with stills. Granted you can pan and zoom around a still but you still can't mimick the movement of both the body moving forward and the eye moving in a different direction. I have also heard the same line of reasoning behind using anything but ambient light. "The houses don't always look that bright so why show pictures where the photographer used 4 strobes, etc., etc...?"

    Every other objection I have heard comes down to two things: It's too expensive or it's too hard to get good results doing it myself. Granted if you are broke, real estate is going to be a challenge. You have to spend money to make money in real estate and doing just the "free" stuff isn't exactly the best way to convince the Seller of that $500K home that you are better than the other listing agents. As far as video being to difficult to get good results doing it yourself, well I can actually sympathize with this statement however it's still not a legit objection. There a plenty of people out there doing good, effective video marketing that are 'giving it away'! These guys in my examples are doing that work for $130-$300 a tour, that includes stills as well. They may not be the best stills, but think about it for a minute. You are a Seller that knows nothing of photography, no knowledge of converging verticals, correct-exposure and white-balance, none of that... (your typical homeowner) and someone approaches with a marketing plan that includes pictures and video and the other person offers just stills. Assuming they were the same price, $150, which proposition sounds better on the surface? What can a photographer give a client for $150? Don't get me wrong, stills will always have their place, it's just I know how Seller's think and believe when I say they will fall for a gimmick...

    Sure video has a ways to go before the average person can produce something that meets our standards. It is getting better, however. I've seen great results geling windows with CTO ND film, it all but eliminates the eradicate auto-exposure issues. A good steadicam operator can make a world of difference as well. So they will get better (although at the cost of the cheap price tag I suspect...).

    Here are some other things that can be done with video that is not as easy accomplished with stills:
    - Realtor profiles
    - Capturing the sound and movement of a special feature (i.e. waterfeature)
    - Educational videos (1st time homebuyer tips)
    - Community activities (children playing on playground, splashing in a pool, golfer swinging club, etc.)
    - Drive through the neighborhood
    - Penetration of DVD media (although you can do this with pics, a 'digital business card' that can be popped into the DVD player is easier for most than operating a computer)

  2. Lee,

    All the videos on Fred's site (the second link above) keep stopping every few seconds and I have to keep pressing the play button to get them to keep going. This happens both on my Window XP machine and on my MacBook Pro. This problem is not a internet access speed problem because if I test my internet speed with I consistently get over 4 megabits/second.

    I can view the videos with the other two links just fine.

  3. I didn't have a problem viewing any of the videos - but I have cable access. You have to have broadband and wait a few seconds for the thing to download enough ahead of what you're viewing - but they were fine.

  4. I've been playing with video for over 5 years now and have come to the conclusion that it only works well with 2 people walking around a property with one explaining all the features and benefits and someone filming it (use of cut-away shots and room pans over some of the talking). I think trying to replicate the photography doesn't work and will never be as good so you have to look at what cideo can do that photography cannot.

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