It’s no secret that video marketing has taken over the real estate industry in the past few years. Whether it’s a listing video tour or a brand story video for the firm, everyone is getting in on the action and if you haven’t started utilizing video yet – what are you waiting for? But for those of you who have either started using video, or are interested in learning how to do so correctly, let’s dive into the science behind what makes a great real estate video tour. This is how to make real estate videos that SELL, with our top 5 proven tips based on actual research.
What’s the point in a real estate video tour?
Before we dive into our top 5 proven tips, let's talk about why you actually need real estate video, and why you’ve fallen behind if you haven’t started using it.
Buying a home is a delicate process, and usually the most expensive thing anyone will ever buy in their life, so of course they’re going to be careful and hesitant about it all. A common misconception we hear from agents is that they want to “tease” the property to get more site visits (yeah… they actually say that). This can’t be further from the truth, and actually just having a video on your listing will drive 403% more traffic to the listing itself.
On top of the traffic increase, you’ll get more clients! While only 9% of agents are currently using professionally produced videos for their listings, 73% of homeowners looking to sell say that they’re more likely to list with an agent that will have video content produced.
And if you’re still not convinced that videos are essential to selling your properties faster, think about why video marketing exists in the first place. In the same way that professional copywriters can sell products better with optimized descriptions, professional video production companies can create videos that are compelling and made to sell especially when they have experience in creating commercial content for other industries and advertisers. From the choice of sound design, to pacing, to cinematography, to coloring, everything about the video can be composed together in order to display it in the best possible manner that is not achievable by simple photos or text descriptions.
So… what’s the difference between a good and a great video?
We’re glad you asked! There’s so many things that separate good videos from great videos in the real estate industry, but let’s break down the top 5 that will have the biggest impact on the final product of your video.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) – the cherry on top.
If you don’t know what high dynamic range is, take a look at these photos and see if you can tell the difference. Notice how the bottom row all has different exposure levels that leaves some part of the image too bright or too dark, but the top photo manages to capture everything in perfect exposure. Dynamic range in the simplest terms is the range of highlights and shadows in the image that your camera is able to capture in even focus and lighting. It allows you to see the detail within the shadows of the darkest corners, while also seeing the trees outside of the bright windows.
How is this look achieved? In photography the easiest way to do so is to take multiple photos at different exposures and then blend them together, but in video you have to get a little bit more creative. The first step might seem quite obvious, but it’s to have a camera that naturally has a high dynamic range, meaning that it can shoot in a LOG or RAW format as you may have heard. That’s why if you’ve ever seen footage before the color correction process, everything looks almost a little bit grayed out and desaturated. The camera is trying to capture as much light and shadow as possible. This means that if you’re depending on your phone or a consumer-level DSLR, you’ll probably not have much luck when it comes to getting a good dynamic range. Although, it’s not just up to the camera.
In addition to a HDR camera, you want to have adequate lighting gear to blast the inside of the house with as much light as possible that will help fill out some of the shadows created by the natural and interior lighting. Overexposing the interior of the house will also help it get closer to the exposure of the windows, so when you edit the video they will be at more even levels creating the HDR look. Make sure the lighting is static and placed strategically so it doesn’t look like you're moving around the camera with a flashlight, and especially so you don’t see any light stands in the background or the corner of the frame.
2. Stabilization is KEY
If anything takes the viewer out of the trance of a gorgeous home tour video, it’s shaky footage. One of the crucial aspects to a video that sells is the immersion that the viewer feels, allowing them to fall in love with the beauty of the property. Remember, Perfect Video = Perfect Property, both sides of the equation need to be balanced.
So how do you make sure that your footage is stable, or that the video production company you’re working with is capturing stable footage? There’s a few different ways to do so, but the most common method is to use a gimbal, like the DJI RS 3 Pro. If the camera rig being used for the shoot is very heavy, it’s also common to use a steadicam system.
Using stabilization hardware within your camera kit is necessary and will have the biggest impact on the stability of the final footage, but there’s a few more steps in order to get the buttery smooth look. The next one is actually an in-camera setting.
Make sure to shoot all of the footage at a minimum of 60fps, and you’ll probably never need to go above 120fps. Why is this? It’s so you have the option in post production to make any of those clips slow motion (since most internet videos are exported at 30fps), therefore giving you the option to smooth it out even further since the movement will be happening 2-4x as slowly. This also helps with the next step of the process, which is digital stabilization in the editing process.
The final step to getting perfectly smooth footage is to digitally stabilize it in the editing process, with whatever preferred method. If you shoot the footage in a higher frame rate, the software will have more information about the movement and will be able to do a better job at stabilizing the footage. Other important factors to consider are using lenses and cameras that have internal image stabilization.
3. Shoot in a wide focal length, like really wide.
Real estate video tours are one of the few times in commercial video production where it’s okay to go super wide in your footage since you are trying to capture the entirety of the space. Not only does wide angle allow you to get more square footage in each shot, but it actually makes the space itself look much bigger since most videos aren’t shot at super wide angles so magnification of the lens makes the rooms look humongous.
We’ve found that the golden range is between 10mm and 16mm. Anything below 10mm causes too much warping in the corners of the frame, and anything above 16mm won’t be wide enough to achieve the “wide angle” look. Although, there are times in the video where you want to use a tighter focal length when capturing details, textures, etc.
4. Focus on the selling points, not the boring details
While this might sound like an obvious tip, you’d be surprised how many videos we see where every bedroom, closet, bathroom, cabinet, and shelf is shown.
While it’s important to acknowledge all of the features of the home, you can save it for the description and photos. Think about it like this, anyone who wants to buy the home will obviously be looking at those details in the house specifications, but they watch the video to imagine life in that home.
For example, if a home has 5 bedrooms, it’s probably only necessary to focus on the master suite and one of the bedrooms since the rest are all just variations of the same room with no other unique qualities. Try focusing on spaces like the basement theater, kitchen, or office space. If all of the rooms are unique in their own ways and design, then by all means capture everything. The point is that you should only be focusing on the defining features of the home to showcase its beauty, and not filming a 10 minute documentary of every last detail.
5. Pacing, rhythm, and interest!
In a world of highly stimulating content in every corner of the digital space, you need to make sure that your video keeps the viewer interested and engaged throughout.
While pacing and rhythm in video editing is not a new concept by any means, it is definitely overlooked in most real estate video tours. Of course the pacing of the video can be done differently based on the property, so take a moment to understand the property you are filming, and decide how that should dictate the pacing.
For example, a colonial mansion on the hillside would be complemented very well with classical orchestral music and slow motion clips cutting on every 4th beat of the violins. On the other hand, a modern high-rise apartment in the city could have speed ramped cuts with an electronic hip-hop beat as the music.
You should also consider what is being shown, and what the viewer wants to see. A common mistake is making a video that’s too much like an actual “walkthrough” and showing the rooms of the house in order. The best way to keep the video engaging is to feed some of the most beautiful exterior and front entrance clips at the beginning, and then spread the rest of the interesting rooms and amenities throughout the video while separating them with more “standard” footage so every 5-10 seconds the viewer sees something interesting.
6. Bonus Tips!
Use music that compliments the design of the property
Color grade naturally
Film in the daytime, nighttime, and at sunrise/sunset
Don’t be afraid to incorporate models into the video using the living spaces
Show off the neighborhood, community, location, etc.
If you make sure to incorporate all of these elements into your next real estate video tour, you will instantly be ahead of 99% of realtors that already are using real estate video, much less the realtors that aren’t. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help bring your properties to life, click here. Happy selling!