What We Learned From Filming Our Own Real Estate Marketing Video
By Carolyn Berk
About Inbound Marketing
At Placester, we love to talk about the value of video for real estate marketing. However, we wouldn’t be effective guides if we didn’t practice what we preach!
That’s why marketing team members Carolyn and Juliana recently ventured out of Placester HQ on High Street to the Boston Public Market to capture the sights, sounds and tastes of this community hub.
Our mission? To show potential buyers just what it would feel like to live in downtown Boston – and to show agents that all you really need to build a stellar community page on your website is simple video techniques, a smartphone, and most of all, curiosity.
Below are our top tips and takeaways from the experience:
1. Plan ahead, but leave room for spontaneity
When shooting your real estate video, you should approach your project with a solid understanding of what you’ll be filming, and how it will fit into your larger marketing goals.
Before you scout a location or hit the record button, write out a list of locations and shots you want to capture there. For example:
If you’re trying to showcase the artsy side of your neighborhood, it helps to know ahead of time which spots around town feature memorable murals or must-see galleries.
That said, if you happen to see a particularly talented street performer, don’t be afraid to break from your schedule for some spontaneous filming!
As we prepped for our real estate video expedition, we wrote down our ideas for showcasing Boston Public Market’s role in the community as a hub for New England crafts and foods.
Here was our initial list of what we hoped to film, including:
- Exterior shots of the market
- A walk through the aisles
- Close-ups of foods and crafts sold at the market
- Vendor Q&As
- B-roll of people shopping and eating
While our agenda included specific things such as interviews with vendors and plans to sample a range of food and beverages, we didn’t plan for spectacles like a machine making apple cider doughnuts.
Even though it wasn’t on our list, Carolyn jumped at the chance to capture this behind-the-scenes look at the doughnut-making process (and devour one of the finished products!)
2. Know what can make or break a shot
There’s nothing worse than reviewing footage and realizing that certain elements makes it unusable. To avoid this scenario and ensure that everything you film can be used later on, here are several things to keep in mind while shooting:
Be Mindful of Lighting
There’s a reason filmmakers call out “lights, camera, action!” in that order. Lighting is a very important element when it comes to making scenes and settings look appealing.
While it’s not always available (especially when shooting indoors), try to rely on natural light whenever you can. Harsh, artificial sources of light tend to wash out your subjects.
Backlighting is another concern. Avoid shooting directly into a source of light, or in front of windows. The bright light will overshadow what you’re focusing your camera on, and make it appear as a silhouette.
Below, Juliana brings this advice to life:
Check Sound Quality Before You Head Home
Loud noises that drown out interviews or your own voice may not always be apparent to your naked ear once you’re done recording a real estate video on your smartphone or camera. However, listening to the audio on headphones will allow you to pick up on unwelcome background sounds. If you do wind up with bad audio, you’re in great shape to re-record while you’re still on location!
If you’re shooting in a noisy environment like the Boston Public Market, or if your built-in mic isn’t satisfactory, you can purchase an external microphone that clips to your phone. This will allow you to zero in on the voice of the speaker, rather than the sounds around them.
Another option is to not capture any audio at all, or put the audio on mute and add music or captions later.
Frame Your Shot
You probably already know more about setting up a real estate video shoot than you think! Like a photo, you’ll want to have a clear, focused view of the action or point of interest near the center of the screen, or slightly off-center.
Make sure your recording device is in focus and that your lighting is sufficient. The viewfinder of your camera or the screen of your smartphone are the best tools for determining the quality of your shot.
When interviewing people, it’s a good idea to avoid shooting them in profile, as this position will look strange to viewers. Instead, try to have them look directly at you, or slightly to the right or left of the camera, so that their entire face is clearly visible.
3. Try out different capture techniques
There are so many options available to kick your final product up a notch! Don’t be afraid to give these next-level video tools a try.
Going live on Facebook can be a fun and free way to share what you’re seeing and saying with your audience, as it happens. If you have the Facebook app on your smartphone, then you already have the ability to broadcast Facebook Live from your Business Page or your personal Facebook profile.
Here are some ideas on how to use it:
- If you’re doing a walkthrough of a new property, broadcast it to give your audience an exclusive first glimpse.
- Live stream exciting events in your town, such as a parade as it goes by.
- Facebook Live allows you to get comments from viewers in real-time, so you can also use it to host a question and answer session.
At the Boston Public Market, we decided to record a Facebook Live session while testing out various local beers at Hopsters Alley.
Speed up your video shots with Hyperlapse! This free phone app is great for capturing activities that may not be as interesting to watch in real time, such as redecorating a room or renovating a house.
We tried out Hyperlapse while walking through the aisles of the Boston Public Market. A normal tour of the BPM takes about two minutes, but the Hyperlapse video gives you a complete view of the market in only a few seconds!
Boomerang is another free phone app that you can use to capture eye-grabbing videos. This tool is especially popular amongst social media marketers, because it turns whatever you film into a short, looping GIF.
To use Boomerang, you just need to point it at a simple scene with plenty of movement and hit record:
Selfie sticks aren’t just for taking pictures of yourself. They also allow you to easily film yourself, or your surroundings, by pressing your phone’s shutter button remotely.
You can typically buy a selfie stick with Bluetooth capabilities or a cord that plugs into your phone for $15 or less. Here’s our quick tutorial on how to use one – it’s super easy!
4. A still camera is a happy camera
While shooting a real estate video on your smartphone gives you freedom of movement, the footage you shoot should be stable or else you risk creating a shaky viewing experience for your audience.
To minimize the earthquake effect, try keeping your elbows in by your side, or propping your arms up on a steady surface – such as a table.
Another option is to use a tripod. There are many cheap ones available on Amazon that are small, lightweight, and easy to set up.
5. Have fun!
If you approach your real estate video like a chore, your attitude will show through in your final product. Want to get your viewers excited about what they’re watching? Get excited about filming it!
Here’s how you can avoid overthinking the process:
(1) When you’re out filming, don’t burden yourself with a long to-do list or a lengthy script.
Leave yourself the space to explore and experiment with different types of shots and subjects. Digital video is still a fairly new medium, so there are very few strict requirements.
(2) Avoid over-scripting your interviews.
While it’s a good idea to prep yourself or your interview subjects with topics that will be discussed or points you want to hit, writing out an entire script word-for-word can lead to a robotic or wooden delivery.
When we interviewed vendors at the Boston Public Market, we briefed them about the questions we’d be asking (like, “What makes the crafts/food that you sell so unique?” and “How would you describe the community at the BPM?”).
But we also gave them the space to be themselves and tell a story their way.
Want to see more from our shoot at the Boston Public Market? Check out our interviews with Patrick from Appleton Farms and Barb from Field & Vase (hint: cheese and flowers both make great closing gifts for new homeowners!)
In the end, a real estate video that has a candid, authentic feel will resonate much more strongly with your viewers. They’re watching your video to learn and be entertained. If you’re having fun, they’ll have fun!
So don’t be afraid to let loose, keeping in mind that even if you make a mistake, it can be fixed in post-production or edited out. When you’re just getting started with video, even mistakes can provide a valuable learning experience.
Instead of feeling intimidated or anxious about your real estate video, just whip out your phone and dive right in. Who knows, you may end up having a blast just like we did.
Sharing your real estate videos on social media can help you get more leads for your business! Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how to promote your content on Facebook.
Published on March 2, 2018
Written by Carolyn Berk
I am a Content Marketing Associate at Placester, where I regularly share helpful real estate marketing strategies through Placester's Academy.