March 11, 2015

The internet boasts an impressive number of articles chock-full of advice for how to create better real estate videos. From articles explaining how to use drone footage to capture the one perfect shot all the way to how to set up professional lighting to best feature you in front of the camera. And while all of this advice can be helpful it can also be very overwhelming. Here at WellcomeMat, we have cleared away all the static to give you four tried-and-true rules for success with real estate video.

1. Commit to quality

Hook your viewers with high quality video. Poorly shot video does a disservice to a property and your reputation. Unless you are a trained filmmaker with top-notch equipment and the experience to use it, chances are you won’t be able to produce a video that is up to standards. We get it, hiring a filmmaker can be expensive. But, ultimately, prospective clients will know that you are willing to properly market their property and you gain a significant amount of exposure by producing videos that viewers want to watch.

But don’t take my word for it. Which of these two videos is more appealing to you?

2. Hire the right filmmaker

After watching both the amateur and professional content above, hopefully you all now understand the value of hiring a filmmaker to shoot your videos. However, that can be a daunting task for those of us committed to finding a quality filmmaker who is skilled enough to represent us well. How can you know who the right filmmaker is without risking a costly hiring mistake?

WellcomeMat’s filmmaker network is 5,000 filmmakers strong and we have developed a keen sense of how to find the best filmmakers in any area. And it all comes down to four things: experience, equipment, editing, and examples.

A filmmaker with experience will know how to take your vision and create a beautiful video, whether it is a property tour, agent bio video, or a neighborhood film. They will know how to balance the different color temperatures of sunlight and indoor light, navigate complex video settings and codecs, and how to tell a story through film. Filmmaking is a difficult and highly technical set of skills that take significant training and on-set experience to gain aptitude. You probably don’t need to hire James Cameron to shoot your next video but finding a filmmaker that has spent a few years honing their skills will reflect in your finished product.

The equipment a filmmaker intends to use to shoot your video says quite a bit about how professional the finished product will look. Check out our filmmaker glossary to learn a few filmmaking terms so that you can more effectively communicate with potential filmmakers. And here’s a protip: the single most important thing a filmmaker needs to produce a professional looking video is stabilization equipment. This can include, but is not limited to, a tripod, glidecam, jib, or a slider.

Editing is an extremely important part of the filmmaking process. A popular adage in the movie-making business is that a film is written three times: with the script, when shooting, and when editing. Discussing with any potential filmmakers their process during post-production is imperative. How many editing revisions do they allow? Will they include music with the film? How about motion graphics for an intro? These are the finishing touches that bring a video to the next level.

Examples of previous work, or a filmmaker’s reel, are the ultimate test of the skill of a filmmaker. A reel will show you exactly how well all the disparate aspects of a filmmaker’s process come together. Use your own judgement as to whether you enjoyed watching their work. And don’t be afraid of asking what role they played in each example video, as most filmmakers work as a part of a crew so are only responsible for a single thing in most films.

3. Create content that engages viewers

The most indicative thing for real estate video success is producing content that engages your viewers. This is where we say, yet again, quality content is king. With so much available content, a viewer decides whether to watch a video or click away within moments of pressing play.

We have publicly stated that we believe slideshows, virtual tours, and animations do not perform as well as full motion video content. And we can back it up with data. Within the WellcomeMat system, full motion videos have an average viewer retention time of 45.99 seconds, while slideshows, virtual tours and animations only retain viewers for 29.88 seconds of the video. That means full motion videos retain viewership 54% better than slideshows.

Fortunately, committing to quality and hiring a filmmaker are already going to go a long way in creating content that engages your viewers. Talk to your filmmaker about opening your video with beautiful footage to capture the attention of viewers immediately. Additionally, being creative, different, or funny is a great way to retain viewership. Finally, keep your videos short. Regardless of how engaging your content is, most viewers will lose interest in a video before a minute. So make sure that you make your video memorable before that.

4. Guide viewers for a more captivating video experience

Now that you have the perfect, high-quality, full-motion video, shot by a great filmmaker, you need to make sure that you provide a viewing experience that supports and guides your viewer. While YouTube has its uses, we believe that it is not the very best place for your real estate video content. The best place is your site. By embedding your video on your website you can completely control the viewing experience and provide logical next steps for interested viewers.

And don’t forget, your WellcomeMat account also gives you hugely valuable tools to guide your viewers. Here are just a few: you can customize your player and channel to match your site; include chapters that increase engagement and allow viewers to navigate to different sections of your video with ease; grab photos pulled directly from your video; distribute your video to social networks to draw even more viewers to your domain.

What other tips do you have that have led to success using video for your real estate marketing?

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