If properly utilized, video is a powerful and effective tool for real estate agents. It used to be that we hired a videographer, shot a guided tour of the space, then read a listing description into a microphone and it was all tied together via editing.
Nobody really watched it, but sellers loved the idea that a video of their space was made, and the broker looked good for going the extra mile.
Those days are over. If done properly, videos today are like 60-second commercials. My latest property video for a cool SoHo Loft used a Bob Dylan song that the videographer had to pay a licensing fee for.
My business is in Manhattan. Like every other market in the country, the competition is fierce, and having the best video team is a definite advantage. I am fortunate to be working with the best in the business.
Some of my insights have come through learning the hard way while working with subpar videographers. Surprisingly, I didn’t realize what I was not getting until I started working with a videographer who approached the process like a collaboration and essentially taught me the process, what questions to ask and what information they need to deliver a great product.
Let’s face it, staging for video is a lot of work, and it can be chaotic at times, so going in with a plan and making sure the video team is on the same page is key to getting a great video made for your listings.
To get the best outcome and have video that showcases a property in all its glory, there are five things your video team needs to know.
1. The budget
If you are planning to do a video that is outside of the parameters of the flat rate fee, discuss this ahead of time so that they have the same expectation as you.
They might need to bring an extra cameraperson, come back at different times of the day to get the best light or travel to different locations to get neighborhood footage if you are planning to include that in your video.
2. The angle
Your video team needs to know what you are going for in the video. What’s the angle? Is this going to be a no-nonsense cookie-cutter video, or are you going for edgy, funny or dramatic?
Movies are made, but the success or failure is often determined by what happens in the editing room. Your team needs to know the plan so they can get the footage to make it possible to have it all come together in the editing room.
3. The storyboard
Now that they know the angle you are going for, they need you to lay out what is important to capture in their lens, and they need to know the order in which you want it presented in the video.
Mikey Pozarik at MP Video told me something I will never forget: “The broker is intimate with the space and knows it better than the videographer who has seen photos but is essentially walking into the space cold. So when a broker has certain shots in mind or areas that shouldn’t be within a shot, make that clear.”
I make up a shot log and go over it with the team at the begging of the shoot.
5. The message: sound and graphics
Another key piece of information to convey is how you want to tie the visuals together with sounds and graphics. This is the part of the process when the video editors step in and fluidly combine everything into a 60-second masterpiece.
If you are creating a video that is voiceover style, you need to make that known and have it written ahead of time so that the videographer gets the corresponding shots. Personally, I utilize music and brief text or music alone.
5. The length
The length is a key component if you are utilizing social media like Instagram. I used to think that a longer video was better until the videographer I work with told me that Instagram has a 60-second cutoff. A second longer, and you won’t qualify for the feeds.
You might not be Spielberg, but you can still have some amazing listing videos if you communicate and have a game plan.
Your video team needs keys pieces of information to do their best, and it’s on you to provide them. If you to have a great working relationship with your video team, you should know their approach to the process. Do they go for collaborations or will it be exclusively “their” vision? Knowing their style — and sharing yours — will make the process much more enjoyable and productive for everyone involved.