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Where Does Video Fit in Real Estate Photography?

Published: 24/09/2008
By: larry

It's getting harder and harder to avoid the subject of video in real estate photography these days. Unless you've been under a rock you'll notice that the subject of web based video keeps popping up all over:

  • New DSLRs with HD video capability.
  • The central role of  video editing in Adobe's CS4 release event. Adobe says, "end users want a media rich web experience". I believe it; it applies to me and others I see using the Internet.

Douglas Heddings, a senior vice president with Prudential Douglas Elliman and founder of, is a successful NYC Realtor and is a very strong advocate of using video.  He has been using video to set apart his listings in the marketplace with great success. In the Inman video above he makes a great argument for using video to market listings.

Several readers have asked some great questions on the subject of video. Here is one:

"I have read about tours turning to videos with great interest on your site. I am curious if you have any insight what types of video will be made by RE Photographers and by Realtors who do them themselves. Are people going to be narrating, cutting to different scenes, just panning with video cameras, etc... I would like to be ready, but I am concerned with what I would need to know in terms of editing and flow of the video to sell a property professionally."

I don't have that much experience with video production, other than doing a video blog of my grandson, but a PFRE reader, Fred Light of, has been successfully producing real estate videos for some time. Fred has a 24 page book and 40 minute DVD that teaches you how to "make money producing real estate videos." I am anxiously awaiting my copy. This is a good place to start if you are interested in getting into video.

One thing that is clear to me from Doug Heddings interview above and my limited video experience, there are very few Realtors that are going have time or skills to edit and produce their own quality video. There will be Realtors that will shoot and post video with their cell phone but the serious, successful Realtors will want quality video with quality editing. I think this is an emerging opportunity that will get bigger.

8 comments on “Where Does Video Fit in Real Estate Photography?”

  1. I received my Texas REALTOR magazine today which had an article subtitled, "Use online video to market properties and yourself." It didn't stop at marketing properties with video, but suggested an agnet should offer current market conditions on an agent's website via a video blog or webcast. RE Photography may be expanding beyond shooting buildings into shooting people too.

  2. I've been interested in video for a while.
    Fred Light does outstanding video tours! Some of best I've seen actually. But what I don't like is that you have to sit and watch the whole thing. I am an impatient person, and I want to be able to pick which rooms are important to me and go to those ones.
    I did see a video tour a few months ago that was broken up into the various rooms of the house and you could pick and choose what you looked at.
    If only I knew how to go about doing that .... I'd give it a go!

  3. I have seen many videos and the lighting needs work maybe you could offer some lighting techniques on line.
    Also who would pay for a video if the agent is using it to sell himself, not the vendor.
    I think there is room for video and photography and I am excited by the new 5D mark11.

  4. Larry,
    Video is a whole different animal. Most often, different camera, lighting, software editing programs, etc. This subject seems beyond the scope of this blog.
    FYI. is available.

  5. Linda:

    Thanks for the kind words! The chaptering concept you're thinking of is available using, a free (at this moment anyway) site for uploading your videos. You can set up chapters so they skip right to a particular scene.

    As for "not wanting to sit through the entire video"...

    When buyers are shopping for homes online, there are three elimination steps:
    1) They search based on #beds, #baths, price, location, etc.

    2) They read the description, attempt to translate the archaic, made up abbreviations for common words, and look quickly at the photos.

    THEN.... if they are still interested..... and only then... will they take the time to download the video tour, which give them about as realistic a tour of the home as can be done virtually. It's transparency at it's best - you get to see everything, not just nicely lit, staged rooms that were set up for the photo shoot. You can see how rooms relate to one another, see a realistic view out the window (include the rusty Camaro on the front lawn across the street... if it's there!).

    At this point, there are SERIOUSLY interested in this house. Not only do they tend to watch the entire video from beginning to end, they SCRUTINIZE each and every turn. Oftentimes, people say they watch the video several times, looking for different things each time.

    If people are seriously interested in a home, they WILL watch a video from beginning to end. However, if they're just casually glancing through properties, video is NOT what they're looking at. They're looking at PHOTOS. I look at a LOT of real estate videos, and I am pretty bored by most. The difference is... I am not interested in the house! If I was, I would be looking at the video from an entirely different perspective.

    With video you have an opportunity to tell a STORY, and that's a big part of what makes it so compelling. Oftentimes I include the homeowner in part of the narration, telling why they loved living in the home, personal experiences, etc.

    Buyers LOVE IT. Sellers LOVE IT. It's the realtors, in general, that don't get it. LOL

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