Photography For Real Estate

Tips and techniques for real estate photography

The Future of Video in Real Estate Marketing?

Posted by larrylohrman on May 18, 2007


Recently I took a car trip and was catching up on my Podcasts. I listened to an episode of the Inside Digital Photo Podcast that interviewed Dirck Halstead. Halstead is the famous Photojournalist that covered the Guatemalan Civil War at age 17 and was awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his coverage of the fall of Saigon. After spending all of his entire career shooting for print media (newspapers and magazines) Dirck is now preaching that all photojournalists should be trained in video. His argument is that most newspapers are “hanging by a thread” and are not going to be a significant force in the future because the web is going to become the dominant media for journalism. And video will be the most effective medium for the web. He claims that many newspaper still shots are now “grab” shots from video because young photojournalists are using HD video cameras. He sited The Dallas Morning News and The San Francisco Chronicle.

I was struck by the parallels I’ve seen in Real Estate marketing in the last several years. The web has become the dominant media with in the last few years. When I started working full in real estate in 1999 we ran a weekly ad in the local Issaquah Press and actually got calls from the homes we ran in the ad. We also advertised in the Sunday Seattle Times. This last year we stopped running our weekly ad in the local paper because it was no longer effective and get very few calls from ads we run in Seattle Times. Between 1999 and 2007 print media advertising in real estate has completely been overtaken by the web.

What does the rise of importance of the web have to do with video? Video is a natural media for the web. Over the last couple of years it’s getting easier and easier to use video on the web. The great training videos on Lynda.com are an example of the new innovative use of video. Will something like this happen in real estate marketing?

I know some think it will but I haven’t seen compelling use of video in real estate marketing. Sharon Nymann in Key Largo showed me this spot ad she had made over a year ago. But this is not shot with a video camera; it’s made from a series of stills that Sharon shot herself. You can create video sequences like this with programs like Imagematics.

Perhaps I have bias for still photography. For now I love making little video clips of my grandson but I just can’t get into using it for real estate marketing.

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16 Responses to “The Future of Video in Real Estate Marketing?”

  1. Anonymous said

    Yeah, because your grandson is a moving subject. For real estate still subjects, I prefer still images than video for marketing.

    From a receiver POV, photos are better because they can be seen at your rhythm – you could flip through 100s of them in minutes or stare at only one a long time. If technically it’s easy now to see videos on the web, their quality is still crappy : I prefer a clean 800*600 image than a 300*200 blurry blob. And if it’s OK on a PC now, a majority of users will access the web via a cell phone in the years to come.

    From an emitter POV, the time needed for a clean result would be really long. The gear and technical competency could already be huge with photography. For videos, you can multiply it by 3 to have the same quality. 3 times the price. 2 assistants. 3 times the duration. And it doesn’t seem worth it to me.

  2. that was me, the anonymous

  3. aaronleitz said

    +1 what Marc said

  4. Fred Light said

    Well, I’ve done about 200+ real estate videos over the past year and a half. Realtors love them, buyers love them even more. With gas prices and inventory at an all time high, and open houses at an all time low, buyers are sitting at home browsing properties – and gives you a feel for the property as an online video does. REAL video – not what most realtors are passing off as video, which is a glorified slide show set to music. Those are just PICTURES people. It’s NOT video.

  5. Glad to have someone in this business here. I’m certainly not defending fake videos with a view moving in a static image. I prefer the static image itself. but people are attracted to blinking lights, that’s sure.

    Our point to put good information online is the same. What is not the better way for me in videos is that the viewer isn’t in control. It’s harder to stop one one thing, or to accelerate on one other, and everybody wouldn’t agree on your music choice.

    I do think the quality should be at least equivalent to photos here, so that mean a steadicam, a pro camera with interchangeable lenses and an expensive wide angle retaining a linear perspective, not a hand camcorder and a clip-on wide converter with 20% barrel distortion.

  6. To get a good representation of an home, it should be great to have a floorplan with links to views of each room.

  7. I’m trying to remain objective and certainly welcome any new technology onto the playing field. I’ve often felt that online marketing should be a real estate professional’s marketing flagship (or maybe it’s just that I like the way that sounds lol).. and that marketing is not the best place to practice hobbies (photography).

    I have messed around with YouTube but I can’t get past the feeling that I had better not take a breath or I’ll drown lol .. (or that I’m in a mirage) well, you get the picture.

    Dawn Shaffer, http://www.allaboutvirtualtours.com

    Dawn Shaffer

  8. Hi,
    I have been looking at adding video walk through to my service range for some time now. After looking at some other real estate photographers that offer this service and looking at some agents sites that have this. I am convinced that it is a great service and its time to add it to my range.

    We very rarely get asked about 360degree tours here in Australia and more agents are starting to ask about video, I suppose because video is compatible with any browser its a sure fire way to ensure people can view the home. While I like 360degree views I find that many of them don’t work properly with my browser.

    In regards to video, does anyone have any ideas on an ideal camera to use, perhaps something second hand on ebay? Also in regards to workflow I imagine in would be better to go with a DV camera so it can be downloaded directly to a computer without a capture card. In regards to software, what do others use?

    What other equipment would I need?

    I think a service like this is a premium service so I imagine I would be charging around $300-$400AU per video.

    A post on how to go about it would be very useful. Video is just another medium; it will never take business away from high quality stills photography.

  9. I would research three features:
    * solid state recording, like a Sanyo Xacti, given that 1GB SDcard costs 8EUR/10USD and gave 1 hour of video, the import will be fast without conversions
    * a good wide angle : at low prices, beware of low quality converters, losing sharpness and adding vignetting and barrel distortion. They seem to all be made by Kenko: http://www.thkphoto.com/products/kenko/kenko-04.html but the camera brand one should have been tested to be a sufficient match
    * a stabilized rig for good pans : a monopod with a counterweight, or some cheap dedicated steadicam-like contraptions for light cameras : http://search.ebay.com/steadycam Beware that not all Xacti come with a tripod mount.

    The browser compatibility poses the same problems than 360°: different plugins with different adoption rates. The only universal is flash, and is used by youtube and others.

  10. What do you think of the canon XL1 or XL2 for real estate video,
    There about $2000AU on ebay here in Australia.
    They definalty look that part and most come witha 16X lens and a wide lens.

    thanks for all your info, I feel much better about geting into video touts.

  11. Forgot to ask you. Do you use the Sanyo camera? Or another type?

    Thanks
    Vince

  12. Hi Larry,

    Re: Videos of Properties

    I noticed you recently mentioned my Spot Runner TV ads. I thought your readers might be interested in an experiment I participated in with Spot Runner. They contacted me because they had had several agents inquire if it was possible for them to do video TV ads of properties instead of ads using still photos only. Spot Runner was willing to provide a videographer, at no expense to me, if I would critique the result. If I liked the video, they said I could use it for one of my TV spots. Here is my experience:

    I live in Key Largo, FL. There are no local videographers so Spot Runner had to locate someone in Miami. After several canceled appointments due to travel time, weather, etc., we finally shot the video. Then it had to be processed and sent to Spot Runner. In my opinion it took too long compared to taking the photos myself or using a local photographer. In the city it probably would not have taken so long.

    Even though the videographer was a well known professional, when it was all done, everyone at Spot Runner agreed with me that my photos worked better. It was sort of nice to have a boat going by on the water, but houses don’t have motion. We all concluded there was no real benefit to using video.

    Most agents are not good at photos or virtual tours so I can imagine all of the bad, jerky video if it is offered on realtor.com. I am sure sellers will want it and many agents will do it themselves instead of paying a professional like Fred Light.

  13. Dave Lyons said

    I produce Web video commercials for Real Estate. We don’t just showcase the house for sale, but we help the Realtor sell themselves, sell their company and services, sell their communities and market their listings.

    Video is truly the future of not only Real Estate but of the Web itself.

    Showing and explaining what the viewer is viewing is what helps successfully market real estate and get potential buyers in the door. Selling the real estate is still a one-on-one relationship proposition. You can’t negotiate with a video, a photo or a nice ad….

  14. Not _the_ future. Just one new possibility offered by technical progress, but I think it will stay marginal. I don’t believe in videos-full listings.

  15. neither in vieos-full web. reading is faster and freer.

  16. Dave, thats a good point you raise, I always so to real estaet agents, That our services will help them win listings. I tell them that if they offer proffesional photography and antother agent doesnt, then its them that is going to shine!

    Agents always tell me, they are short on stock, Our service help them get it.

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