Ah, video. It’s the sexiest new trend in real estate presentation and is, by far, one of the most difficult skills to build up while juggling every other task an agent has resting on their shoulders. Although there will definitely be a learning curve when you start doing video I can assure you the payoff will be more than worth it.
To help save you a ton of time and frustration I’ve outlined ten tips I learned on the path to my first real estate listing video shoot below. I also included my first listing video at the bottom of the post for you to critique. It’s not perfect but check it out anyway! 😉
1. Create a list of the video shots you want/need. – I picked up this cool tip from the photography blog of Scott Hargis. It’s so easy to get caught up in the craziness of taking pictures and video of a home that you forget what you wanted to shoot.
Make a list of what video angles you want for your video (a storyboard is a great way to summarize this) so you can remember to focus on those before getting other shots.
2. Make sure you’re using the right equipment. – Okay, confession time. I attempted the video you see below once before but scrapped all of the video because I used the wrong equipment. I thought it would be okay to use my photo tripod for video but that’s not the case. Get a smooth panning video tripod like the Slik U9000 so your video doesn’t come out jerky or jittery.
3. Find your style. – I watched hours of real estate videos including videos by Ian Watt, Mike Lefebvre and stuff I found on WellcomeMat before planning my first video shoot. I didn’t get to capture everything I wanted because I rushed the video on this project (violating tip #6 below).
In the end, I still feel like the final result encompasses some of my style by being fast paced and upbeat. My goal was to create a fast, fun video that didn’t oversell the home and didn’t feel like it was dying of the generic feel many real estate videos have.
4. Set the stage for your video shoot. – This tip is a twofer. Not only should your property be set to stun when you’re filming but it should be absent of any homeowners, kids, pets, aliens and other assorted types that could pop up in the video.
Remember, video is the one medium where you can’t easily edit out stray elements. If you’ve got a kid staring at you from outside the window your video is wrecked and needs to be redone.
5. Practice! Practice! Practice! – Just like an athlete needs to train before a marathon, you should practice using your tools (tripod, video camera etc.) before game day. I didn’t practice panning on my new tripod as much as I should have and it shows in the video. Because it’s my first video I was a little bit more lenient with the quality but you can guess who is getting double time training before the next shoot.
6. Be patient and make sure you have plenty of time to shoot. – This is the most important tip, ever. Shooting video takes a good amount of time, especially when you’re new at it, and its not something you should try doing in a pinch. You should be well rested and have a few hours blocked out for filming until you get your own filming routine down.
7. Shoot in the late morning/afternoon only. – Ready for my biggest pet peeve? I hate shooting video in the late afternoon/early evening because the outside lighting change is so obvious. In my video I neglected to follow this tip but next time I’ll start filming around 11:00 am instead of 2:00 pm.
Also, don’t record video at night if you can help it. For one, the windows turn into mirrors making filming much more difficult than it needs to be. Blacked out windows don’t look great on video either.
8. Record the same scene multiple times. – The saving grace for my video was the fact that I filmed the same scenes 3-4 times. Some of the clips were downright shake ‘n bake awful while other first cuts ended up better than my later attempts. You can NEVER have too much video.
9. Know your post-editing requirements and process. – How much hard drive space do you need to download one hour of 1080i HD video? I didn’t measure my HD video download because I have a 1.5TB external drive but a quick Google search indicate one hour of HD video will consume 4GB of hard drive space. Grabbing an inexpensive external drive will save you time later.
Another bottleneck common in video editing is an older computer that doesn’t comfortably process video editing. My aging Macbook Pro collapses under the pressure of video editing + multi-tasking so I picked up a refurbed iMac to handle video editing.
10. Choose a video host wisely. – With all this talk of videography there is one important point that we almost overlooked. Did you know that Vimeo explicitly forbids real estate video walkthroughs? They’ll delete those suckers on ya, even if you’re a paid member.
Brightcove (used by the Better Homes and Garden Real Estate Blog) is similarly priced at $99/month.
You could always go the YouTube route which I did for the time being but I’ll probably pick up a Viddler subscription when I’m ready to host these videos on my sites. YouTube is okay but it has a chintzy Walmart feel to it (in my opinion) because of the diverse subject matter the site is known for. Your video host reflects on your business so keep that in mind while shopping video hosts.
Without further ado, here is my very first listing video: