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Top 10 practical tips for property videography Easy to do right – even easier to do wrong

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For estate agents, the last 12 months has seen property videography going from being an attractive extra to an essential sales tool.

Selling a home is a challenge at the best of times; in 2021, estate agency is certainly not a career for the faint-hearted.

Marketing a home by video – as many are having to do right now – presents even more of a challenge, but it has become a necessary one.

For those individuals or estate agents who are managing to create their own videos, here are a few suggestions, from hundreds of hours of professional experience, that may help you up the quality of your videos, and up the interest your buyers have in them.

 

1. The home needs to be spotless

If a home needs to be clean and presentable for an in-person viewing, then it must be immaculate for a property video.

Lighting (see below) and video is the perfect combination to pick up dirty carpet, smears on reflective surfaces and more!

Make sure you (or the owner) has arranged thorough preparation of the property in advance of the shooting schedule.

Aside from any clutter being moved out of sight, drawers and cupboard doors need to be closed, dirty laundry removed from the washing machine (yes – it will get spotted) and all personal items need to be put in their correct place, or preferably hidden. This includes books and magazines, the TV remote, and any personal items.

Beds need to be made and, as with property photography, bathrooms need to be staged (remember to remove the loo roll and lower the toilet seat).

In general – everything you would do for a photoshoot – but with even more care and attention.

 

2. Remember the exterior

This is not so much a reminder to film the exterior (although if you look at property videos you can find quite a few that forget), but rather a nudge to film on the right day.

Aside from making sure the garden is tidy (lawn mowed, dead plants removed) – nothing makes a property and street look unattractive quite like a line of rubbish bins all in a line. Know your local area and don’t film on ‘bin day’!

Also – if the street is blocked full of parked cars during the week, but emptier at the weekend, go and film your exterior shots then. Roads look very different when there is some space to park outside – and you’ll get a much better shot of the house itself.

Harder to predict is the weather – but forecasts are usually at least correct to a degree. If you know you have a spell of bad weather coming up, try and fit in some exterior shots prior to the main shoot, if it’s possible.

 

3. Sell the surroundings (including local amenities)

While filming outside, make sure to get some establishing shots of the surrounding area.

People do not live in a home in isolation – they live in a community with local shops, schools and other amenities, so include a brief overview of the area and sell the surroundings – not just the home.

Drone footage can be very helpful here – especially if there are parks or other recreation areas nearby. Just a few seconds of aerial footage of such areas make for great establishing footage and set the scene for the home – this alone can change the dynamic of the video and increase the appeal of the property.

 

Property video ideas

 

4. Make use of 360° property video tools

One area of property video that has increased dramatically in the past year has been 360° video.

Largely due to the need for remote viewings during 2020 and 2021, 360° property videos have gone from being the ultimate luxury selling tool to the ultimate necessity.

There are a couple of different 360° video systems available that work very well with property tours – here you can find more discussion about those as well as other aspects of property video.

 

5. Get the lighting right

Lighting is the key to great property photography – and is the key to great property videography too.

Natural daylight is always the best option, so shoot during the day when the light is strongest – and make sure the curtains are open!

Avoid filming after dark as much as possible, as this will affect the colour balance in the video and affect the tone and ‘mood’ of the home presentation. It is unappealing and should be avoided at all costs.

If the natural lighting needs a boost (e.g. in basement flats or other rooms with little natural light) then artificial lighting will be needed. Try and use a combination of professional lighting and reflectors, rather than resorting to the property lights – as already mentioned, most home lighting will throw the colours and white balance off and can badly affect the appeal of the room.

Natural light plus reflectors can brighten a dark corner; professional lighting, if needed, can be properly controlled and used to simulate natural light. It can also be positioned next to a window to keep the lighting appear real.

 

6. Don’t neglect your audio

If you are creating a guided tour video, then don’t forget to mic up!

Using either a professional boom mic attached to the camera or a clip-on wireless one, will ensure the voice is captured properly.

Relying on the camera mic (especially if filming on a mobile device) can sound tinny or hollow, and can make the property feel empty and cold – even if it is full of furniture and still currently lived in.

As you will know – an empty house doesn’t feel welcoming or homely at all.

Sound quality of speech is one of the most overlooked issues we see all the time on low-quality videos; it is surprising what a difference just a small amount of attention to this can make in ramping up the appeal of a property.

If you are not filming a guided tour – that is, an agent physically walking through the property giving commentary – then a voiceover is easier to mix into the video afterwards, and can be recorded under better-controlled circumstances.

 

7. Don’t be too long!

Don’t overdo the video length!

You are presenting a home for consideration, not directing the next Oscar winner. Three to five minutes is ample time for an average home presentation – any longer and your viewers may start to lose interest.

Currently, only the top 5% of videos viewed retain an average of 77% of viewers all the way to the end.

Keep it short, keep it relevant and to the point. Yes, you need to show everything, but don’t linger for too long on each room – keep to a natural pace. The viewer can always pause and rewind if they wish to review something for longer than the video running time.

 

Ideas for top property videos

 

8. Highlight interesting features

Having said that about the video length, if there is a particular feature of the property that merits special attention, then make sure your leave time to highlight it.

This could be a built-in wine cellar, an extensive garden or anything else that is a strong selling point for the property.

Cover everything, miss nothing and highlight the selling points – this approach takes planning and that is something you need to be doing for every property video that you create.

 

9. Introduce the lifestyle – don’t sell a house

A property is more than a building. A home is more than a house.

You know this already – and during an in-person tour of a home, you would be guiding the potential buyers with this in mind. You will be selling them on the experience of living in the home – leveraging the lifestyle.

So why do so many people forget this when creating a guided tour video? It’s possibly the unfamiliarity of performing to a camera – or even simply the lack of human response which they would usually bounce off. But the fact remains that in front of a camera, many agents switch from presenting a home to selling a house – and that is not a good place to be.

It means you come across as impersonal and detached; all the things you do not want when introducing a viewer to their potential new home.

The only solution to this is to practice. That, and maybe have an off-camera real person to present to as you film.

Getting this right is vital if you are going to sell the lifestyle – the experience of living in the home, instead of just viewing a property.

 

10. Don’t just walk the property – tell a story

Continuing from the last point, keep in mind that the video you are creating should be telling a story.

A story has a beginning, a central narrative and a conclusion. And so should your video.

At the very least, your walk from room to room should flow logically, which allows the viewers to remain oriented and gain an understanding of how each room connects and the overall layout. This is important, as not everyone can recreate a structure in their mind based on printed floorplans.

Many times, people need help visualising the layout – so make your walkthrough flow naturally. Avoid jump cuts as much as possible, and anything else that may disorientate.

If you walk out into the garden, walk back into the house afterwards.  If you need to trim the video and make a cut, restart from a room you have already shown, so the viewer understands where they are in relation to the rest of the property.

If you can create a narrative that tells a story then even better! As with all your face to face transactions, you are creating ideas and emotions and allowing the viewer to connect to those; you need to be able to do this through your property video.

 


 

Video is a very different medium to photography – and property video should be approached differently from staging for a photoshoot.

Planning, lighting and presentation should all be done specifically with video in mind; this is not just a moving photograph.

For more help with property video preparation, feel free to get in touch with Splento with any questions.

Additionally, download our free guide ‘How to sell more properties with video’, which you can obtain by clicking on the image here.

It discusses many more ideas for utilising property videos both for selling and for marketing and increasing your customer base.

Follow the link now for more details about how to receive your free copy today.

And finally – remember that video is not just for selling the properties; it is great for selling your business. If you have the ability to produce a video (or if you have a team hired to do this for you) then make the most of the opportunity and promote your agency as well.

Download our free guide today for some great ideas about how to do this.

 

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