Video and Real Estate ListingsJuly 20, 2006
Real estate video on the web has been the subject of many articles and blog posts over the years. If Robert Scoble (one of the web’s A-List bloggers and now VP at podtech.net) is to be believed, everyone will be running around with a HD camcorder and producing web video in the coming years.
There has also been lots of talk about incorporating video into real estate listings. This video (also known as podcasts or podcasting due to its popularity on video iPods or vlogs) Some real estate sites have begun to incorporate this approach with real estate videos – you can select individual properties and download the video that you want.
While great technology and really cool to boot, there seem to be some issues around adoption of real estate video in the marketplace that might limit the possibilities. Off the top of my head, I can think of the following:
Preparation: producing real estate video does require time, some basic additional equipment beyond the PC, and perhaps some additional software to prepare for a podcast; these basically represent more things that are not related to a real estate agent’s core competency, that an agent must prepare…the alternative is to outsource this preparation (to another amateur or professional).
Techniques: Real estate video requires some specialized techniques. To compare real estate video with regular online video really cant be done. Outside of professionally made podcasts, many amateur podcasts that are not about real estate are of simple subject matter. The fixed camera position variety (“talking heads” or tripod mounted cameras) is the most common for most general podcasts. The central focus of these general podcasts tends to be the content of the discussion rather the imagery itself. Most of the others are the products of aspiring film makers, have intentionally artistic imagery, or the quality of the video isn’t key to the concept of the podcast.
On the other hand, real estate video requires some form of movement or transition that does not make the viewer sick to watch. I’m not saying that the director needs to be from Hollywood or have expensive equipment…just that they’ll need to learn some basic panning, lens focal length, and transition techniques so that they can provide an informative experience during the real estate video about the entire house to the viewer.
Quality Issues: I remember the early days of music videos and websites (there were only 2 hours of total videos when I got MTV in high school – no commercials either). On the music side, it was perfectly fine for a band to have a crappy quality video or a huge company to have a crappy website. At some point, however, an arms race of sorts started around quality, storyline and special effects. bands started complaining that the popularity of their music was no longer being driven ny the music but the videos. The same sort of thing could happen in real estate video . Right now, poorly produced videos are fine because it is all new and cool. At some point, people might simply tire of the amateur video with the metaphoric production quality of a myspace.com site and migrate to large industry real estate players that are able to produce polished and compelling real estate video.
International Issues: Everyone does not speak English. Like many sites, ForSaleByLocals(tm) is working on incorporating what is hopefully a unique implementation of real estate video. We are working on relationships with agencies and starting to gain access to lots of professionally produced real estate video. However, since we are internationally focused, we have a different problem than many real estate sites – most of the audio for the videos made available to us simply isnt in English. We are working on an alternative here but still this is an issue. As pointed out by several people (including one of my favorite venture capital bloggers Rick Segal), the web isn’t “there yet” for podcasting internationally. At ForSaleByLocals.com, we are working to help change this.
9/26 UPDATE: We’ve posted some examples of translated property videos ( https://forsalebylocals.wordpress.com/2006/09/25/video-translation-examples/ ) 1/06/07 Update: we have an an entire site with hundreds of translated real estate videos as well as interviews with prominent agents and bulders (see http://vidlisting.com )
I’m not saying that these issues won’t be overcome…just that real estate video online is a bit different than a video in a interview format. What are your thoughts around integrating video into real estate listings?
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(Also check out our more hands-on oriented Non-Professional’s Guide To Making Online Real Estate Video)