A Non-Professional’s Guide To Making Online Real Estate Video (Part 4)

November 17, 2006

Editing concepts are the theme of this fourth part of the series. If you’ve read Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series, you should already have an initial plan in place, editing package that meets your needs and budget, and good video to use in your editing.

The first step in editing is to review your plan, the “story that you want to tell” about the property, and the available video footage.  Hopefully, you’ll have shot more footage than you need and can have a number of different approaches to presenting the house.

The second step is to apply all of your planning and materials into a flow.  The following 4 factors are to establishing your flow and to your idea of how to present the property in the most compelling manner:   subject visuals, sound, movement, and supporting information.  Let’s go through each of these at length.

Subject visuals are what you want the user to see and “feel” while watching the video (combination of choice of subject, lighting, camera angle, and colors).  Remember that subject visuals can include more than just the property; interviews with the agent/builder, footage of the local areas, schools, etc. are all fair game. Feel for the property is just as important as the details. Clearly if you want to highlight wood floors in a property for example, you’ll want to use the footage with a low camera angle that highlight the beauty of the floors in perspective. It’s unlikely that you’ll want to have footage of the ceiling and talk about the wood floors or use the footage that have the wood floors shot a 90 degree angle  and resemble a wood texture photo.  Remember that effective real estate video isnt just about selling a house…it’s about putting the viewer in that image of a lifestyle just for long enough enough that that they can imagine themselves in that house for a much longer period of time.

Sound: There are three basic choices here.  1) No sound at all  2) music and 3) narration with or without music.  Sound helps to set a mood so I dont recommend #1 – try watching a otherwise engaging documentary on Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel without sound, and you’ll sooon understand why sound helps to draw the user into the subject matter and create mood.  My preference is narration as it tends to create a virtual “you” as the seller or agent. It also can either  point viewers’ attention to special items in the video or provide context/information about items not otherwise visible in the subject visual.

Movement is about how the camera movement and editing transitions support the subject matter.  Movement such as pans and zooms can be added in post-production in many editing packages. If you ever watch any historical shows, they often include slow pans over static photos.  You can do the same thing with your footage by panning and zooming within the completed footage to highlight or exclude portions of the filmed area.  Many editing packages also have a plethora of editing transitions. Again, I prefer the straight cut (no transition). However, if you are planning to use more complex transitions between scenes, use this rule: just because lots of transitions exist doesnt meean that the viewer wants to see them all.  Stick with 1 or 2…no more than 3.

Supporting Information: is about you present the “meta-data” about the house.  Normally, people think about graphics that have the property address, agent, and price for example. A “lower-third” design which are graphics that occupy some space in the lower part of the viewer’s screen (like you see on the news or sports stations) can be very effective for communicating this type of information and are largely reusable for the same seller/agent/agency. Less often do sellers/agents consider a summary of the property key selling points  or a fixed graphic at the end with a website address.  For reasonable prices, small animations of your logos can be done in the same screen size as your video and added at the beginning and/or end of your video. These all can be simple and cost effective tools in the supporting information toolbox.

Part 5 of the series will cover presentation options for your online real estate video.


One comment

  1. Thanks for the insight!

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