July 9, 2015

Real estate video is here to stay. It is that simple. Including a video with your listing, an agent bio video on your website, or even neighborhood tours of the areas you cover is imperative to staying current in today’s market. Buyers expect to be able to virtually tour properties and sellers expect you to produce a video to help sell their home. And while video is now the norm, it still remains elusive to many agents and brokers simply because it is difficult to find a filmmaker that both matches your vision and budget.

I previously wrote an article that provided 4 tips to be successful with real estate video. The second tip in that article is hire the right filmmaker. Here are a few tips to guide you and finding your perfect filmmaker match.

1) Do your research

The more you know, the better chance you have at finding the best filmmaker to help you produce your videos. Don’t rely on a filmmaker to create the perfect video if you haven’t done the necessary pre-production work. Start by determining your overall video strategy. If you aren’t ready to produce a video for every single one of your listings, consider creating an agent bio video and a series of neighborhood tours. These videos can be used over and over again for a variety of listings. And they still show your commitment to video and creative marketing.

Once you have determined the type of video you want to create it is now time to get a little more granular. What do you want to include in this video? Would you like aerial footage? Do you want to contact local businesses for interviews about the town? The more fleshed out your idea is before you contact a filmmaker, the better prepared you will be to hire the filmmaker that will be capable of producing exactly what you are looking for. This pre-production process will also help you determine if you have allotted a reasonable budget for the project.

2) Know how to spot quality filmmaking- Ask for a reel

You don’t need to be able to use a camera or an editing system to know how to spot a talented filmmaker. You are inundated every day with a wide range of video media. This means that you have been consistently developing your ability to gauge the chaff from the wheat. Feel free to use this as an excuse to binge watch Netflix- it is market research after all!

When looking to hire a filmmaker, be sure to ask for examples of their work- commonly called a filmmaker’s reel. This is essentially a short video that highlights the skills of the filmmaker. Keep in mind that most film projects are completed with a crew of filmmakers and these collaborative shoots are frequently included in individual reels. So be sure to ask what your potential hire’s role was in any given project. If you really like a part of something you see in their reel be sure to question it. That shot, editing sequence, or music may not have been created by them.

3) Negotiate

This is the section where I talk about cost. As an experienced filmmaker myself, I need to encourage you to understand that filmmaking is expensive. And for good reason. Learning filmmaking frequently is a combination of expensive university training and what essentially amounts to years of indentured servitude. So while a $1,000 for a video that they took a day or two to shoot may seem expensive keep in mind you are not just paying for their time. You are paying for the experience and skills gained while training, the overhead cost of the equipment necessary to produce each shot, the hours of editing devoted to your project, and maybe even the music rights for the soundtrack of your piece. If I am perfectly honest, $1,000 for a video is on the low end of what most filmmakers I know would be willing to create a single video for.

However, there are a few tricks of the trade to finding a filmmaking bargain. Many filmmakers are willing to negotiate multi-video rates. So while an individual video may cost a pretty penny, you may be able to talk to your filmmaker about shooting a number of videos at a discounted rate. Additionally, many filmmakers stockpile footage that they have previously shot and may be willing to supplement a video with that rather than adding a shooting day to your bill.

Finally, there are lots of real estate focused filmmakers who have developed a system to create high quality, low cost listing videos. These tours frequently include walking through the house with a stabilization tool that makes the camera look like it is gliding through space. These videos can be shot quickly and require minimal editing time while still looking beautiful. 

Check out this previous article I wrote about this type of filmmaking.

4) Let’s talk about editing

Don’t skimp on editing! Post-production is hugely important for any and all videos. This is your chance to work with the filmmaker to make sure the video is exactly what you have paid for. Many filmmakers limit how many editing revisions they are willing to do with a customer. So make sure you are well aware of this as you work and when you hire a videographer.

Additionally, determine if you would like to include voice over or a musical soundtrack with your piece. These both can cost extra as a voiceover requires more time for the filmmaker and music frequently has royalties that must be paid.

Ultimately, the biggest advice I can give you is to know exactly what you are looking for and to be honest with your filmmaker. A filmmaker does not want to get involved in a project they are unqualified. If they don’t think they have the skills or equipment to satisfy your needs, they will let you know. And, what’s more they probably will let you know of a filmmaker or two that can do what you are asking.

Learn more about getting a real estate video program off the ground the right way with a free copy of our eBook, Getting Started In Real Estate VideoIt provides simple, practical advice to take the confusion out of a proven lead generation engine.

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