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This Week In Real Estate Video #92 – Music Is A Huge Factor

Published: 11/01/2014
By: larry

SQRmediaWorksI got an e-mail a couple of days ago from Jon Stewart. No not that Jon Stewart, that's what I thought at first too. The e-mail was from Jon Stewart of SRQ Mediaworks in Sarasota, FL.

Jon sent me this video that he and his partners Sage and Grady did recently that helped a property sell that had been on the market for several year.

I love the simple elegance of this little lifestyle video that tells a clear and compelling story of a day living at this address. Not a word of narration in it, just some delightfully crafted music that Grady composed expressly for this video.

Here is a description of SRQ Mediaworks in Jon's words:

I am 15 year experienced real estate photographer in the Sarasota FL Market. I also have worked in the music industry for years, and I can compose music.

I teamed up with Sage and Grady. They came here via Hollywood. Sage is a story teller and video editing expert. Grady is great on the set shooting and has expertise in time-lapse photography. Grady also is a music composer. In fact he composed the music that goes with this particular video.

The joining of somebody that knows how to show real estate and somebody that knows how to tell a story through film and another person that knows how to put that to music has been a game changing combo for all three of us.

The Sarasota market has always been a hot market for real estate photography because of the large amounts of high priced property being sold and the high number of out of state and out of country buyers. Without a good virtual tour presence in this market and you are doomed.

Print is dying pretty fast here, and social media and other forms of marketing are really starting to gain momentum. Video is a perfect way to tell a story of a lifestyle or a property which is what we are here for. Video is really proving to be a key piece in marketing plans in this market, and I am sure it will be spreading over to others.

By composing our own music we can raise and lower and control the energy throughout the videos. You will notice that the edits go along with the music as the story is being told. This is a craft that all three of us learned from former media jobs we have all had. In this market is is hard for the competition that is trying to make the jump from stills to video to put together a story like the three of us can. Its also hard for a videographer with no experience selling real estate to come in and give the selling agents what they really need.

Looks like these guys are a great team! Look out Sarasota and the greater FL market.

44 comments on “This Week In Real Estate Video #92 – Music Is A Huge Factor”

  1. one of the best property videos I have seen - the main aim of any RE Marketing photo, video or the written blurb is to not only display the property but also, and more difficult to achieve, giving feeling of the house and property.

    This video does both beautifully

    well done - i have learnt a lot

    what would you charge for this ??

  2. Nice sound track, it matches the architecture well. The length is perfect and the shot choice is great. The video gives a sense of the house and a lifestyle. Some of the jump cuts are a bit disturbing due to a big change in luminance. A fast dissolve might have been a better choice.

    I'd be more inclined to ask how much time it took to script, shoot and edit this video. Also, what equipment was used and why? I'd charge all the market will bear, but I need to know what it is likely to cost me to do it first. Any hints on the sales pitch? Were the sellers happy with the presentation when they first screened it?

    Sounds like the video was worth every dollar if it helped to move a house that's been listed for years.

  3. I really like this video and I guess that is the reaction you want buyers to have. Sound is so important and I think you did a great job of mixing environmental with music.

    I always wonder which is the most effective style of video. I've seen ones like this that give you a feeling of living there so I'll call it; Life Style. There is the voice over type describing the home and it's attributes so I'll call it; Descriptive. You have the owner interview where they tell you why they love it and why they have to let it go, I'll call this; Interview. Lastly there is the Hollywood block buster and I think most of you will remember "I Love My Villa" this shall be known as; Hollywood. Now I know there are sub categories of each of these and I may not have named them to industry standards. I suspect the Hollywood approach is out for most people due to budget although there are some real creative individuals out there.

    So which do you find the most effective:
    1/ Life Style
    2/ Descriptive
    3/ Interview
    4/ Hollywood

    Please add other categories to this if you feel they are needed, but I would like to hear your experiences.

  4. No doubt one of the best videos I have seen in the RE marketplace. An unusual conflagration of talents, production skills, professional video equipment, music composition and more. It no doubt took days of planning and on site work as well as post processing. Something that was worth it to sell this property.

    One thing to take away from this is "ain't nobody got time for that" and "ain't nobody got the money for that" That is unless you wish to share the magic of how to do this for a cost and production time that is useful to 99.99% of the market.

    Now with that out of the way there is still much to be learned from the style, the timing, the planning and the production techniques. Those lessons can be applied to lower cost one man shows like 99% of the audience here is.

    kudos and well done and thanks for sharing. There are lessons to be learned here.

  5. Thank you for the kind remarks and the constructuve criticism - The price for a package like this is $1500. Tis includes still photography day and dusk with still aerial, video day and dusk with aerial video included. Custom music designed to go with property. Hosting a virtual tour that includes stills and video.

    This shoot took us 1 day. We try and tell a story based off the feeling we get from the home. there is no script writing etc.

    It took 48 hours to shoot write music and edit. All three of us have specific tasks that we do post that makes things run smoothly and go quicky.

    Video tours for us start at $750 - this gets you all the same things except it is either day or evening so we only spend a few hours on it. I think the big advantage we have is over 3 decades total of experience working with multimedia and we can streamline.

    equiptment = 3 canon DSLRs and 2 Canon Video cams / a crane and a sider

  6. I agree that this is one of the best RE videos that I have seen, and I believe that the music composition was perfectly crafted to fit the images. It definately evoked an emotional response while I was watching it, which i find is the hardest thing to do when making a video about a house. Well done.

  7. Does anyone have a particularly good source for appropriate music? Its a fine line between finding something that helps maintain and increase the interest of the audience and something that distracts from the subject matter -which is the property, not the music. I've been going through sound tracks and its like looking for a needle in a haystack. Kind of like bashing your head against a feels so good when it stops. Maybe I'm just too picky.

  8. This is why we started writing out own - it can be really frustrating trying to find license free music that works for a specific purpose - Sage told me the other day people will sit through a bad video with good audio more so than a great video with bad audio - so make your music choices wisely

  9. @Ruthmarie you right, it's a needle in the haystack out there when it comes to good quality music sites and the wrong music choice can make and break a perfectly shot video, hence the saying that video is 50% audio which not only includes music but foley and narrative. It's amazing really, video is the only creative medium which can employ and bring together all the arts and crafts. Been a musician myself finding the time to right a score is a challenge but I consistently like using I seem to find the track that inspires me to begin the edit process on this site. Another one to check out is!/ These are both paying sites, but the quality of the music and artists just seems to be consistently greater.

    @Jon Stewart. Really great video, the colour is superb, inspiring work.

  10. Beautifully shot video guys!

    I do have to comment on the price you charged for this video. You say you charged $1,500 for the video and it took 48 hours to shoot, write and edit. Is that 48 hours total between 3 people or 48 hours x 3 people. Even if it's 48 hours for one person that works out to $31.25 per hour gross wages and if it's 48 hours each well you're at a whopping $10.42 per hour each which doesn't sound like a viable business model. I'm sorry but that does not sound very streamlined or quick to me especially when boasting 30 years of combined experience? Also your website says video tours start at $150 and you said $750 above? All just a tad confusing, maybe you could clarify these points to give people a better idea? Thanks guys!

  11. The website is under construction - the old "video tours" where a movie of the slide show.

    Also we aren't all 3 working for 48 hours - that is the time from start to finish - during this 48 hour period we also shot and edited and finished 8 other still only properties

  12. Really great video and I love the fact that you composed the music yourself. I agree that the combo of great imagery, skillful editing and custom music is a slam dunk!

    In a perfect world I would be playing music all day long. I was actually going to school for a Jazz performance degree and both taught and played music professionally for most of my early adulthood. Alas, making enough money to support a family playing music is difficult.

    Now that video is back on my plate, Im looking forward to seeing what I can do while wearing those three hats!

  13. @Matt - I see why it is confusing. I was answering another question about turnaround time when I said it took 48 hours. 48 hours = turnaround time. Actual time working was maybe 10 hours between3 people and it was only that many because we got carried away making art and shot a lot more than we really needed to. So this job was $150 per hour which is not a bad business model.

    This isn't the normal shoot either. Because this is by far the best thing being done in my market, our companies name is on the lips of every agent that is looking at high end Virtual Tours. We have already received calls from agents that were using our competition for still photography.

  14. @Jon - thanks for clearing that up and $150/hr is a very good business model. When I first started doing the videos I was guessing at time lines for each video but then started running a stop watch to include travel time to and from the shoot, shooting time, editing time and final upload and completion with invoice sent and it's surprising how much more time I actually spent than I was guesstimating. This has helped me to understand better where I can cut down on time wasted and to know exactly what I'm making on each shoot. Some food for thought anyways. Cheers

  15. @Ruthmarie - My suggestion for finding music is to pick 3-4 genres and listen to a few tracks of each on the music sites listed in the other article when you are in the mood. Don't spend too much time at one sitting or you will burn out. It might even help to have pictures of the common homes in the area to see if any music seems to click. Once you have found something, make notes so you can go back and dig it out later.

    @Jon - Thanks for the followup. $1500 is pretty cheap compared to what a 2.5 minute commercial video would run. It's a great deal for the homeowner and agent since they finally sold the property.

    @Iran - I spent 11 years as a roadie. Being a drummer, it was hard to find a place that I could practice on a regular basis. If things were different, I might be playing professionally today instead of being a photographer and electronics engineer.

  16. $1500 is for a virtual tour. if we use actors actresses, vocal talent etc we consider that a lifestyle shoot which start at $2500 each. Brand stories which we are going to start doing for agents start at $2500 as well.

    here is an example of one of our brand stories -

  17. Great video!

    Just curious... I see what I assume to be drone footage. How did you guys deal with the ludicrous FAA rules? Never mind, the home owner probably owns a drone and shot the footage;)

  18. @Matt - there are some good shots there but the video is very long. Study after study has been done to show attention span and video length. the sweet spot is around 1:47 - once you get past that you are really take a chance that the viewer has already clicked off the video/page. I noticed you used 60 cross dissolves in this video. if those are .25 of a second each that is a substantioal amount of time you could shave off the video length right there. Cross disolves were popular back in the 80s with music videos and a few films. Clean edits that make sense save you time and will make your videos look more pro and will also shorten the length to a more viewable length. Cross dissolves are ok to use if you missed a good transition shot while on location. Detail shots and other creative transitions are something to be thinking about while on location so you have these in your arsenol when you get to the editing room. I know that iMovie and other non-pro video editors have "cross dissolve" between shots presets on them but these are more marketed for family vacation videos etc where the people shooting really weren't trying to shoot with story telling in mind.

    I thought the shots and camera movements were great. Keep up the good work

  19. @Jon

    Can you show me any of those "studies" that are specific to real estate video and not just internet video in general? Im pretty sure peoples interest level is far higher when there are making the biggest purchase of their life (300-500K+). If they are still interested in the house after viewing the photos, you can bet your life they will watch the video in full in hopes of getting as much NEW information as possible. If the video is offering little more than the stills, that is when you risk losing them.

    And just curious, you say the "sweet spot" is 1:47, commenting Matt's video is too long. But your video is 2:32...also over the "sweet spot". Is the another "study" that says the acceptable amount to go over the "sweet spot"?

  20. @ Christian - It went a little long for sure. We made sure all the important info was done in the first 1:47 for sure.

    If you look at what seem to be the industry leaders like Brett Clements videos...he is able to tell the stories in that amount of time.

    Those figures are for marketing which that is what we are doing. Marketing companies have gone over these figures Ad nauseam. You can assume things that you are betting your life on all you want but I choose to do what works for us based on people smarter than me research.

    At the end of the day, I am sure that we have a lot to learn. This is only the 2nd one of these we have tried. We want to learn from each one and keep improving. People asked for our opinions and that is what we gave. Take it with a grain o salt though. We are rookies to video. I enjoy reading other people that have done this a lot longer than us opinions.

  21. @Jon - Again as Christian pointed out this topic is very popular with regards to what the experts say is the proper length to a real estate video. It’s very easy to say “study after study has been done to show attention span and video length” without explaining or offering reference material to what it is “they" the experts say whether it's experts in the field or marketing companies. I’m still particularly interested in the one about the 1:47 sweet spot length.

    @Christian - Thanks for stick up for my video length 🙂 I googled “what is the right length for a real estate video” the first hit I got is a post Larry did and here it is if you haven’t seen it. Quite interesting topic for sure and all I could really find.

    I then dug a little deeper (not much) and googled "movie trailer length studies" and got a page with this excerpt. Page reference:

    "Trailers consist of a series selected shots from the film being advertised. Since the purpose of the trailer is to attract an audience to the film, these excerpts are usually drawn from the most exciting, funny, or otherwise noteworthy parts of the film but in abbreviated form and usually without producing spoilers. For this purpose the scenes are not necessarily in the order in which they appear in the film. A trailer has to achieve that in less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the maximum length allowed by the MPAA"

    So this blows my old 2.5 minute theory. It’s not due to study findings at all, but rather just a controlled length of time or rule applied to movie makers that may or may not have been studied at all?? I do feel that some videos can in fact feel too long and some much too short, but how long is too long and what is it about the video that makes it too long? If it’s all motion still images or repetitive, redundant, uninteresting footage, then it will feel too long and probably lose the viewers attention, but If it’s all interesting and informative material, does it matter if it’s 1 minute or 7 minutes?

    It’s not as simple as saying it has to be a certain length. There are more factors involved and it’s about what the client wants and how it leaves the viewer feeling in the end and in this case the only viewer that matters is the one that’s going to buy the house. We’re not hired to make a video go viral on youtube, to impress hollywood producers or to win awards, we’re here to make a video about the house and I believe, the surrounding lifestyle. The main reason to keep them a little shorter is because a 7 minute video would require much more work and shooting and we're never going to get paid for all that extra work shooting and editing.

    @Jon - With regards to my transitions choice. I appreciate you counting all of them for me so thank you for saving me that time, but I personally don’t follow trends and I loved the 80’s! Can you imagine an acrylic painter telling another artist he shouldn’t use oil paints anymore as that is so 1970? Or a bird photographer telling another “Hey we’re not photographing Bald Eagles anymore didn’t you hear?” I use cross dissolves because I find them to be much less abrasive than hard transitions and it’s my personal taste. Please explain what a “clean edit” is because I have no idea?

    @ Jon - With regards to my software. I don’t personally use iMovie or other non-pro applications although I find nothing wrong with iMovie as it’s a pretty powerful and easy to use “free" program for those getting started (on a mac). I personally use Final Cut Pro and hey, it’s in the name so I’m guessing it's pro? Does this mean if I buy a $10,000 guitar will make me a better player? I realize better tools can make things easier but the tool’s only as good as the one behind it.

    Industry leaders like Brett Clements also offer 30 second videos, not because that’s been studied as a suitable length, but because that’s all the realtors want to pay. If they only want to pay $200 you give them $200 worth of video. Maybe I'm wrong...Brett can you add to this?

  22. @matt - we can agree to disagree I guess. You are more than likely right, as I am a rookie. As long as your clients are happy and mine are happy, who really cares?

  23. @Jon - to me it's not about agreeing or disagreeing, I just like to review facts when studies are quoted so I can read and learn more on the subject and I'm sure others feel the same. We're all just trying to help and learn more on this site. Are you able to share where the study is regarding the 1:47 sweet spot? Also please do explain "clean edits" as I've not heard that term used and the more we can learn, the better. Emails and messages can be subjective and I'm not being facetious.

  24. I feel that the video length is related to the number of pictures conundrum. Every property will have an optimum amount. I like that Jon's video has some "lifestyle" shots and foley in it. Those scenes break up the video and keep it interesting. Without them, I would have probably commented that the video was too long.

    When I go to shoot a home, I walk through and make a list of the shots that I feel are needed to show the home properly. I will also take into account requests from the agent and will wind up with a shot count. If I'm way over what I promise to deliver, I may try to trim a little unless the agent is there and I can get them to consider buying a few more photos (hasn't happened yet, but I'll keep trying). I would take the same approach with video while factoring in minimum (or optimum) clip length. A close up shot can be of shorter duration than a wide angle. Jump cuts work fine for some shoots, but are startling when the luminance between scenes is great which is where cross-disolves are needed. A 30 second video is going to be too short and 10 minutes way too long. Somewhere in between is going to be optimum. I doubt that it will always be 1:47:15 or some other arbitrary number.

  25. @Ken
    Your comment "I feel that the video length is related to the number of pictures conundrum. Every property will have an optimum amount" nails it 100%.

    Every listing is different and every market is also different.

    Again, the Marketing studies you are talking about are not real estate specific. Most research is based on people who are being bombarded with ads on TV or the internet, most of which they dont need. Common sense dictates that of course ads should be shorter and to the point. Companies have to grab your attention through a sea of other ads and convince you to buy their product.

    Real Estate is totally different, they are not being bombarded with useless stuff they probably don't need. Someone will set out to research a potential new home, generally narrowing their MLS search to a few homes based on price and search criteria. After looking at the photos (which always comes #1), if they are still interested they will move on to the video. The only thing that will dictate how long they watch your video is how much ADDITIONAL info you have provided in your video. Again, if the video is offering little more than the photos, it doesnt matter how well you spice it up, they will shut it off once they realize they have seen this all before.

    Oh and great video by the way! (forgot to put that in my previous comment)

  26. There seems to be a lot of opinion being thrown around as fact - i will continue to do what works in my market - thanks for all the feedback

  27. If it works do it and always remember the roots of expert - ex is a thing of the past and a spurt is a drip under pressure 🙂

  28. For me, there's only one measure that counts: If your video choices lead to LOTS of repeat clients, whatever you're doing in YOUR market is working! Regardless of what the "experts" say and the various stats that are thrown around as "facts", and the multitudes of opinions from other photographers and videographers on this forum and others, Realtors are generally not willing to part with substantial amounts of their money that often, and when those who do CONTINUE to do so, day after day, week after week, listing after listing, then I would suspect that THIS is your fact - an agent isn't going to spend $400-$500+ with you over and over and over again unless they're getting the ROI that "they" feel is necessary to justify their expense on a listing, regardless of price.

    I get criticized all the time for my "budget video" style, my video length, etc., yet my video business has been off the charts for many years, and my repeat business is nearly 100%. Literally. Many of my clients have been using me for many years, on homes of many varied styles and price points. They keep coming back because it helps sell their brand, helps get them listings, and helps them sell homes faster. For several brokerages, it helps them in recruiting the best agents.

    They KNOW it works. I've never had one client in 8 years EVER ask me about stats, how long people have watched a video, when they viewers drop off, etc. Not one. Ever. THEY don't need those stats. All it takes is a seller calling them and saying "come list my house, I saw XXXX video down the street" and a buyer saying "we came specifically to make an offer... we just needed to make sure it looks the way it does in the video...." to give them all the ROI they need to justify the expense.

  29. I've seen some videos that were 1:30 that felt five minutes long, others that had a TRT of 5 minutes felt like they were only a couple of minutes. Any study that claims the optimal length of any kind of video is some intellectual twat trying to make money or a name for themselves.

    @Jon, at about :19 it looks like you come to the of the slider before you take the edit. Nothing slows down the pacing of a video more than mistakes.

  30. In my part of the world 30 second video is the product that's booked the most, I actually have 14 booked over the next few weeks. Creatively, at times depending on the size of the property, it's hard to cull great shots that no one will get to see. But after doing this gig for almost a decade I have learnt those are the sacrifices the producer has to make when prioritising the right and logical edit choices for a 30 second video. As someone said earlier in the thread, the best shots go up front first or the key features of the listing as feedback from my agents is most won't watch past 30 seconds online accept for those who are the potential buyers or bidders. But I also find the homeowner who at times can be emotional more often or not about the family home for sale (It's where the kids have grown up and memorable moments have been made) will be the one that comes back or request a longer video to capture all aspects of the home as they like to watch, relieve the memories and the nostalgia, especially if it's been a positive experience in their home. Again, this is the feedback I receive and I have no statistical facts of this... But based on the circumstantial activity of consistently producing 30 second real estate videos during my career, I can only assume the feedback has some merit. This is a 30 second I've done recently on a waterfront home, well actually turned out to be 45 sec's with supers -

  31. The debate on the 'correct' length of a video rages on!!!

    We recently produced a video for a property that is 6.53 minutes long.

    We identified the key features of the property and the type of buyer we thought this home may suit and highlighted them in the video.

    On the morning the video appeared my phone started ringing with inquiries at 8.30am.

    By 11.00am I had five interested groups booked in for a viewing at the same time for 2.30pm.

    The property was listed with a 'price range' and by 4.30pm that afternoon we had a signed offer and acceptance for the property within 5K of the top end of the price range. The price we achieved for our sellers was a street record for this type of property.

    The buyer and seller were ecstatic.

    The buyer commented that he had watched the video a number of times that day (and had shared it with his friends for their opinions) and simply needed to view the property to confirm what he had seen in the video.

    In the short time we have been using video to sell real estate I have not had one buyer complain that the video was too long or too short, we used the wrong type of transitions, the lighting is not good enough, your graphics aren't fancy enough, you should be using a voice over etc etc etc.

    On the contrary.

    Even from our first humble production using a simple handycam we realised that BUYERS LOVE VIDEO.

    Our production standards are nowhere near the quality we see on this site from time to time but we are getting there. We are so excited about what we will be able to do with video in 6 months, a year, 2 years...

    Yes, if you're not a home buyer you may be bored after the first 30 seconds or 1.47 minutes.

    Much like I might get bored watching your daughters wedding video.

    But if you're in the home buying mood and the property video you're watching possibly suits what you're looking for, you'll watch every second.

  32. the length of 1:47 that was being referred to is a video only (no person walking around talking) the art is in the story telling with video. this is more of a "brand story" and will take longer to show because of the dialog. This is comparing apples to oranges....2 different things

  33. @Jon Stewart
    Hi Jon, I hope my comment wasn't taken out of context and my intention certainly wasn't to offend 🙂

    The aim of using video to market real estate should always be to help our sellers achieve the best possible result.

    As long as we are achieving that aim and getting results, our individual style and semantics don't really matter.

    Real estate is a very personal business and what works for one person may not suit someone else or their market.

    Getting back to original intent of this thread, I think your video is beautiful.

    You and your partners are obviously very talented and if this is the quality you can produce in what I believe you said was only your second real estate video, you should be set for a long and successful career in this field.

    I look forward to seeing more examples of your work in the future and wish you all the very best with your business.

  34. Thanks - we are doing some longer videos like this - as a matter of fact we have some big Sotheby's video projects coming up. I do see a very common theme in these high end videos here stateside - "Sotheby's". They are for sure pushing this to their agents.