A Non-Professional’s Guide To Making Online Real Estate Video (Part 2)

August 16, 2006

As we discussed in Part 1, this is non-professional’s guide to making online real estate video. It is intended to be hands-on oriented. We covered a lot of pre-production and production issues in the last article.  Since publishing that article, You can find some examples of online real estate videos here and some other quality links as well. This article will focus on helping you to avoid production issues.

Time Increases Size: Viewers often prefer a well planned and executed short video to a rambing long video.  Three to six minutes should adequately cover most properties and not risk losing your audience. Don’t forget that later on in editing, you’ll need to balance quality against download time when compressing video to a chosen format.  A shorter video makes those decisions much easier.

Most Compelling Content Early: Figure that short attention spans are the norm for most people. Holding your compelling content to the end of your video means that many of your viewers may never actually see it. They could be off to the next video or even the next website. If certain features of the house are particularly noteworthy, try to at least them mention these features near the start of the video.

Begin With Context: The first 15-30 seconds should capture the viewer’s interest and lay the groundwork for the rest of the video. Start by giving the address in the narration and, if you have the means, in an onscreen graphic. For residential properties, a quick 5-10 seconds about the area and neighborhood can also provide sufficient context. Commercial or investment properties can highlight their investment potential.

Paint a Word Picture: You should to try to be expressive in your narration just as if you were showing the property live. Pretend that the camera doesn’t exist and that you are simply showing the house to the cameraperson. Be sure  to mix in property features with emotional appeal. While you don’t need to wax poetic, you can create conversation with the viewer by suggesting uses for room or helping the viewer imagine uses for the area or property. 

Pause for the Cause:  Speak with a slow, clear tone that is easy to understand. Don’t rush through your narration .  Try to use video footage that is 10%-15% longer than your narration.  This pause for the cause at the end of a shot allows the viewer to really focus in on what you just said and mull over the possibilities that you’ve presented in the narration.

Map for Me: Give the viewer a  simple sense of direction in your video.   Remember that they can only see the house through the small camera lens.  Start with the natural point of entry – front door or foyer. When changing rooms, give some perspective to the room just departed such as “this room is to the left/right/front/rear of the {room where we were before}”.  A floorplan graphic in between room transitions  can be a great help for viewers.

Make Everything Viewer Friendly: There are no shortage of video transitions available. Using too many transitions can detract attraction from the property – if you must have them, pick a couple of unobtrusive transitions and stick with those. Any background should be light and unobtrusive.  You’ll lose viewers if the music makes the narration hard to understand.  Remeber that the goal is to sell the property and not make transition filled hard rock video. Also, remember that many international or hearing impaired viewers may be watching so try to be sure that the video can stand on its own without narration (have a friend watch it without the music or sound and see if it is visually meaningful to them)

Simple Graphics To Illustrate Key Points (If Possible):   The address, important property features, and maps are some graphics that might be of use in your online video. Remember that small screens and certain colors can be challenging for video though.

We’ll begin to cover post-production for online real estate video in part 3.  What are your thoughts on this guide or online real estate videos in general?

Digg This Post Go To Part 3


  1. […] This third post in this hands-on series will focus on preparing for editing of your real estate video. Part 1 of this series covered planning for real estate video in general and Part 2 of the series covered the actual filming of the property video. […]

  2. I give part 2 an “A+” – thank you!

  3. what is the best software for us to edit our real estate videos on…

  4. Real estate signs: “best” is a function of your needs, budget, and time/motivation available to learn a program. Simple videos can be put together with the video programs that come with the operating system (MovieMaker on windows for instance).

    For bigger budgets and longer learning curves, Adobe has a number of applications that work well for professional use (Premiere, AfterEffects). Thos are the applications that we use.

  5. Ok well thanks for the info I have window vista home business do you know anything about this OS and how to use cideo editing with it?

  6. Vista apparently does have movie maker included. We use Windows as our OS but it is Windows Server 2003 – we are staying with 2003 for the foreseeable future as we have a stable editing platform with little business rationale to upgrade.

    You might want to try this link for more information about windows movie maker on Vista:


  7. Thank you for the helpful link, I am going to read over it with a fine toothed comb. But I like premiere a lot.

  8. I ran into the problem of locating extra plugins with the vista video editing media do you have any idea if it’s possible to get more filters from anywhere?

  9. As I said, we aren’t Vista so unfortunately I cant be too much help with specific Vista-friendly plug-ins or filters. Your favorite search engine will likely find you far better answers than I could give in this case.

  10. thanks so much by the way great blog…
    Keep Blogging

  11. I had a really good experience with the vista video editing there is enough stuff but it’s no premiere.

  12. Newport: I dont believe that there was ever any intention to have Movie Maker be a version of premiere whether on XP or Vista. My understanding is that they wanted to ship a basic set of video editing tools with Vista…much like they already had done with XP and along the lines of what is available on the Mac.

  13. Thanks for the wonderful tips! We plan on doing something similar on our website for real estate, and we also print custom signs.

    You can see more of what we are going to offer at MBX

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