May 20, 2016

Ahh...video. The beautiful, emotional marketing vehicle that it is. We’ve written several articles on the effectiveness of high quality video, such as the immediate impact video has on real estate consumers, how it strengthens the marketing foundation for brokerages and how it helps your recruiting efforts.


However, we’ve never really shed light on what goes into the planning of a remarkable real estate video. You might think with the number of companies putting video at the forefront of their marketing programs, it doesn’t take much effort other than time and money to get a high quality video produced.

Not so much. Without proper upfront planning, a video shoot can go sideways pretty quick with lots of wasted time, money and unusable footage. Also, a poorly planned and hastily produced video can do more harm for you and your company’s image than good.


So to get some insight into how exactly you should prepare for an effective video shoot, we tapped Stephen Garner of HUB Media Company in Scottsdale, AZ to help us pull some tips together to put you in the best position to create a stunning cinematic masterpiece, one that will leave an indelible mark on your viewers. Case in point:

Pre-Production Planning

The more research and planning you do in advance of contacting a filmmaker, the smoother and more efficient the project will go. Before contacting a filmmaker, you should have the following nailed down:


1) Your Purpose - Don’t just create video because everyone else is doing it. You need to figure out why exactly you want to make this video. What purpose does it serve both your customers and your marketing goals.


2) Your Audience - Understand who you’re specifically targeting with the video and put yourself in their shoes. What information would they find most useful? The vibe and approach are significantly different for a millennial audience than it is for a baby boomer. Video for millennials is faster style edits, upbeat music and not usually longer than 3 seconds between shots. Baby boomer on the other hand is the exact opposite - slow and deliberate, slower style music, longer shots, 4 to 6 seconds depending on the market.


3) Your Subject Matter - For a property video, what are the most important amenities and features of the property? For a neighborhood tour, what are the most important attractions and local hotspots that make the neighborhood unique and a great place to live?


4) Your Budget - Pricing for professional video varies widely based on location. A video in NYC will most likely be much more expensive than in more rural parts of the country. But it won’t be inexpensive. There are ways to get make it more affordable, but at a minimum, plan to spend at least $500 per video. And quite frankly, that’s on the very low end. Keep in mind that filmmaking is a skill that takes years to hone, with expensive equipment. You’re not just paying for a video. You’re paying for experience and the use of expensive, quality gear.


5) Your Creative Requirements - Do you want aerial footage? If yes, does the production company have a commercial license (a 333 exemption) and are they a licensed pilot (currently required by the FAA)? Are the shots more documentary style or are they cinematic? Do you want to be featured on camera (hint: yes, you do!)? What company branding needs to be included?


We’ve provided a free Video Project Creative Brief download to help you get your ideas together into one cohesive document you can share when you meet with your filmmaker.


Video Shoot Planning
1) Turn Everything On - Filmmakers will want to have subtle motion in the video to capture the feel of the house as well as make it obvious this is a video and not pictures set to music. A few days before the shoot, go to the property and make sure everything is in working condition - the fireplace, ceiling fans, faucets, pool, hot tub jets, etc. All of these capture the essence of the property and help pull in that emotional advantage of video.

2) Stage The House - Have pictures been removed? Clutter put away? Basically, you want the property to be staged for an open house. After all, this is will be a digital walkthrough.

3) Dress Appropriately - Again, know your audience. Dress as you would to meet with your target audience.

4) Prepare a Script - Now you may be asking yourself right about now, “Wait, I have to be on camera???” If you want to get maximum marketing value from your investment, then yes. Now I know some of you might be camera shy. That’s perfectly normal. But you’re limiting your own marketing reach if you’re not in the video. This will be (should be) watched and shared by many and will help build your personal brand. Get your face and your name out there. But remember, the priority is the property, not you. Introduce yourself and the property and quickly get into what the audience wants to see - the house and all of it’s amazing features.

5) Have fun - Video is meant to be informative and valuable, but also entertaining. Have some fun and make your audience care about the property. The more they’re entertained and engaged, the more you’re helping your current (and future) customers and the more leads you’re going to generate. And don't forget to RELAX. I personally like to do a shot of good tequila (1921 Reposado) before I get on camera. Helps take the edge off a bit. Do this at your own peril though.

So, the key takeaways:
  • Know your audience and what message would resonate
  • Prioritize the appropriate features/attractions
  • Research the video style that you want to see in the end product
  • Stage the property as if it were an open house before camera crew arrives
  • Have fun
I set you free to create motion picture magic!


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