I get questions quite a bit from real estate agents and loan officers about making videos, so I wanted to provide some tips on how to make a really good real estate video. These tips are not necessarily meant for home tours, but rather for sharing content on a website, blog, Facebook or Twitter. A good video can help build trust and convey professionalism for your brand, while a bad video can accomplish the opposite.
Right now I have 158 videos on my YouTube page and I make videos regularly for clients, non-profit ventures, my Sacramento appraisal business and to promote events through the Sacramento Association of Realtors. I also started a real estate video site.
Ingredients for a stellar real estate video:
1. Keep the camera steady. If it looks like there is an earthquake, you need to find someone else to hold the camera (or invest in a tripod).
2. You don’t need to buy a professional camera. You can use a basic handheld camera that takes both photos and videos. Most cameras are good enough to post on YouTube. The Flip is outstanding for videos.
3. When you film, make sure you record at the middle or higher size on your camera – not the smallest size. Look at your settings. The smallest size is usually 320 x 240 pixels and the middle or larger size is 640 x 480. Stick with the middle size because it’ll look better online. Most video players are larger than 320 pixels wide, so if your video is small in its original format, it can look odd or distorted when the online video player stretches your video.
4. Shoot in good light and remember that vibrant colors help things look interesting. Avoid dim and dark places because it just looks depressing.
5. Don’t copy others. Be yourself and be personable. It’s easy to sniff out when someone goes into “selling mode” too. You want people to feel comfortable with you and not get the sense you’re intentionally marketing to them. Avoid the used car salesman vibe.
6. Use a title or opening slide (with a photo or logo) and a closing slide with contact information. A polished slide in the beginning and end can help set your video apart from others and help your video look more professional. If you don’t know how to make a slide like this, I can help you (if you are a local agent – just call me). Examples below.
7. Think about pacing. Your slide at the beginning should be about 3 seconds or so and the slide at the end with your contact information can probably be 5-7 seconds at most. If your opening slide is 10-15 seconds long, you’ll probably lose your audience. If you use a title on your opening slide, just make sure your slide is long enough so people can read the title, but not too long. Get straight to the point by having the slide fade in and then fade out before the video comes in. Make your video fade in and fade out too (that’s accomplished very easily with #11 below).
8. Keep your video to a few minutes or less if you can. People have a short attention span. They’ll certainly watch your video if it’s really good, but if your videos are consistently seven minutes long, you’d be wise to consider shortening them to 1-3 minutes if possible. You don’t have to try to make each video the definitive resource on whatever you’re talking about either. Just get on base and after a while you’ll begin to score runs.
9. Your content ought to be focused on being resourceful to others and providing helpful and good information. Having good content is the key to a successful video and more important than any point mentioned above. Think about what questions people are asking and also what sort of things you know that will be helpful to others. This is the type of stuff you can talk about. Add value. Be a resource. And don’t be afraid to fail forward. Some videos won’t be as good as others. Certain ones will be too long or something won’t be quite right about them. That’s okay. You’ll improve over time. For example, some of my early videos make me cringe. But that’s how it goes. We never get better unless we try.
10. Don’t oversell. You definitely want to tell people how they can contact you (briefly), but be cautious to not just talk about yourself the whole time. That’s old school and it makes you look self-focused. We build trust with others through video by being personable and providing good content. If someone senses they can trust you, they’ll contact you. Trust builds business – bottom line.
11. Last but not least, you’ll need video editing software. Here are a few options:
Microsoft Movie Maker: If you have a PC, you very likely already have Microsoft Movie Maker installed already. This is a free program and really the very bottom of the barrel when it comes to movie making. Your end-product can still be decent with Movie Maker, but only if you have a good looking intro image and contact image (seriously). The fonts you can use for titles and contact information with Movie Maker can really make a video look cheesy in my opinion, but if you use your own images like I mentioned in #6, it can help boost the overall quality to a decent level until you buy editing software.
Sony Vegas Movie Studio: The non-professional “Sony Vegas Movie Studio 10” will cost you about $100. This is a very powerful tool and you can even do some neat stuff with a green screen too. In my opinion, no video software is really all that user-friendly. There is a learning curve for using anything. I think this is definitely true when it comes to Sony Vegas. What has truthfully saved me countless hours is to watch tutorials on YouTube when I have questions. When I don’t know how to do something, I simply go to YouTube and there is bound to be a tutorial video for how to use Vegas and do the particular thing I’m trying to do.
iMovie: If you have a Mac, iMovie is a great place to start because you already have it on your computer. Everyone talks about how easy it is to use, but I don’t really think that’s the case. There is still a learing curve. Something becomes easy once you know how to do it. Overall though, this program offers a lot of bang and I’ve been impressed with the quality of the effects as well as the titles.
YouTube Video Editing: You can try out a free service by YouTube to make very basic edits. I honestly haven’t used this because my tools are working well for me, but I wanted to mention it as an option.
Sampling of some of my videos: By the way, here are a few of my videos in case you wanted to check them out: Which house is overbuilt for the neighborhood?, Tour of a dark boarded-up REO, A major hoarder house in Sacramento, Major Rehab of a $5,000 fixer in Sacramento, 2011 NorCal Real Estate Expo and Be careful of those property tax mailers.
If you have any questions, let me know. I hope this was helpful. If you have any other tips too, speak on.