With a deep green-and-blue color palette, a driving soundtrack and crisp drone footage, new luxury marketing firm Vantage won Inman’s #toplistingvids’ drone-focused contest.

Vantage founder and CEO Cole Boyer, 23, produced the winning video for one of his mom’s listings in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Readers voted for it ahead of a video featuring sweeping views of a New York home along the Hudson River.

Boyer’s mom, Kimber Boyer, a broker with Coldwell Banker Real Estate, pitched her son’s services in the listing presentation for the home and won the listing.

Vantage’s winning listing video

Based in Los Angeles, Vantage launched as a full-service marketing firm earlier this year. In addition to producing videos with heavy doses of drone footage, it also builds single-property websites featuring 3-D virtual tours with Matterport technology, plus floor plans and photos for many of the homes it helps market.

With Vantage’s per-listing price starting at $3,500, Boyer is positioning his firm as an affordable option for real estate brokers and agents to market their higher-end listings.

That price point distinguishes it from other luxury marketing firms — like the winner of the first #toplistingvids contest, Ruhm, which takes real estate marketing to Hollywood heights with elaborate short films and highly customized websites.

A streamlined process helps Vantage keep costs low, Boyer said. It also offers bulk discounts to brokers and agents who want to use the firm’s high-tech marketing services for more than one listing.

But it’s not all cookie-cutter. Listing agents have a say in how the websites are branded, Boyer said. See a website Vantage built for a listing here. (The firm built one for the winning listing video, but the home has sold and now just the video is live on the site.)

Most of the 50 properties Vantage has marketed so far have been in Southern California and England, but Boyer’s looking to expand operations to the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City soon.

Rise of the drones

Despite the legal uncertainties surrounding drone use for commercial purposes, drone footage has become a listing video standard.

Until the Federal Aviation Administration finalizes rules for commercial drone operators, it maintains that real estate agents and other for-profit drone operators must petition for exemptions under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

The FAA has issued a limited number of real estate-related exemptions to operate drones for commercial purposes, and those mandate that operators be licensed to fly actual airplanes.

Given that the FAA has already approved some real estate commercial uses, Boyer said he feels comfortable pushing forward with drones in his business despite the legal gray area.

Cole Boyer

Cole Boyer

Producing a great drone-aided listing video

Boyer shared some of what went into producing the winning listing video in a Q&A with Inman.

Where’d the idea for the video come from?

The tone of the day was sort of gray, and I just liked the understated vibe of the area. The white house was really popping against the green, and the drone work just turned out really well. All told, it came out with a really cool vibe.

How much did the whole marketing package cost? Just the video?

Each project is bid individually, with price breaks for packages of several properties. As my client for this property was my mom, she got a pretty good price.

The music is perfect for this video. How did you choose it?

Music is a big part of the editing process; in this case, I felt the chilled guitar over a rhythmic beat lent itself nicely to the clean, modern vibe of the home.

Did you consider hiring actors or putting in a voice-over?

No, I don’t put much stock in the “lifestyle videos” that have become so popular as of late. While subtle use of the human element can work really well, our videos are designed to showcase the property, simply and in its best light.

How has it been marketed? Do you know?

The URL 125glenridge.com has been included on several print marketing pieces, as well as being featured in an e-newsletter. Our analytics setup allows us to closely track the traffic we see come through the site, as well as the origin source of some hits, so we can see the spikes when these types of marketing pieces go out.

Describe the shoot.

It was a rainy day, which always complicates using the drone; there’s the ever-present risk of taking off into a cloudburst and frying the thing. The pond in the backyard was very tricky — no smooth place to take off or land, which meant I had to catch the drone by hand when I was done flying those sections.

Any interesting stories from the shoot?

The owner was around all day with two very friendly dogs. That always makes these shoots a bit more complex! More than a few shots were ruined by an unruly puppy, but in the end we got everything we needed without too much trouble.

Do you have any tips specifically for shooting with drones?

Practice, practice, practice. I estimate I have about 70 hours of flight time under my belt. Flying around houses is very risky, so be conservative; always fly within sight.

How’d you get some of the drone shots for the winning video?

I like to plan my aerial shots on the ground, trace them in the air with my finger, and then fly the preplanned routes. After that, I just shoot what I feel until the battery gets low.

What drones do you shoot with?

At Vantage, we use the DJI Inspire 1, an excellent “prosumer” drone.

Email Paul Hagey.

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