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Cinematic Video: The Best Way to Differentiate Your Digital Media Strategy

March 19 2013

film stripThe following piece was written by Brendan Carlisle, founder of a real estate film and media company in Los Angeles called Interior PixelsInterior Pixels. I watched a few of his videos online and enjoyed the style of the videos his company creates. I asked him to provide some insight on the techniques he uses to create his high quality pieces. Even though I disagree (a little) with tip about cell phones, it's always good to get multiple perspectives on a topic and I respect his answer. Enjoy!

As all of you know, video and film is not a new innovation in real estate. In fact, it has been linked for 80 years, ever since the founder of Coldwell Banker previews used real estate films to inspire celebrity buyers. His real estate films were cinematic productions. They premiered in lavish estates and were meant to captivate the audience and motivate them to buy the properties featured in the films. This era coincided with golden era of film, and it certainly represented the golden era of film as it relates to real estate.

In recent history, video has served a practical, if not underutilized, purpose in real estate. Video and video tours have been an extension of photography, used to display the features of a property in a rather mechanical way. But this begs the question, why use video in the same fashion you use photography--isn't this a bit redundant?

This thought was haunting me and it must have kept others up at night, because recently there has been a trend emerging that takes us back to the "Golden Age" of real estate videos. Real estate videos have begun to feature cinematic and emotionally resonant elements again.

My company, Interior PixelsInterior Pixels, focuses on using movement and music specifically scored to the property we are featuring to tell the story of the home and to connect the audience on an emotional level. We focus on movement and music because those are elements that photographs do not capture with the same effectiveness. Video of fire dancing in a hearth projects warmth and comfort to the audience in a way that photography cannot. Music connects people to what they are watching, and artfully crafted music can stick with the audience and remind them of the imagery of the film when they are not even watching it. Owners and agents have told us that they have heard buyers humming the song they heard in our video both when they were at the property and when they were not.

The beauty of cinematic films' connection to real estate is that we aren't taking film out its natural habitat. A great film connects to the audience and inspires them. A successful real estate film should have the same effect; it should trigger an emotional response in the buyer and inspire them to connect to the property.

My best advice when it comes to making real estate videos is...of course, hire us to do it. Oh, okay, if we aren't available, I recommend that you change it up and do something that cannot be illustrated in photographs. Our videos generally feature high-end properties, but adding cinematic elements can work for properties of all shapes and sizes.

How to Create "Unique Appeal" in Your Listing Videos

1. Find features of the property that have movement. A shot of a waterfall or a lemon tree blowing in the wind can connect a potential buyer in a way that photography cannot. A buyer can picture themselves picnicking under the lemon tree or swimming in the pool.

2. Introduce characters in an impersonal way. Having people in the video can transport the audience into the home and the lifestyle that accompanies it.

3. Show the features of the home in action. If the property has a fire place, turn it on and get a shot of it. If the property has a breakfast nook, show steaming cups of coffee on the table. Again this creates movement and it allows the audience to interact with the home and motivates them to start dreaming of living there.

4. Open up doors, windows and drapes to open up the property and introduce the yard and surrounding property to the film.

5. Create interesting camera angles, peek out of a window or shoot something with movement in the foreground of a shot to add depth of perspective.

I was being slightly facetious when I said you should "hire us to do it" but there is some truth to the value of hiring a professional to create cinematic listing videos. If you have the time to immerse yourself in video production and really learn about camera angles and video editing, you can achieve some of the effects you see in professionally produced videos.

For those of you who have the time to explore this hobby and want to add c%inematic content to your listing videos, I have a few technical words of advice:

  • Don't use cell phone cameras. Use a high end DSLR camera like the Canon 5d Mark ll or the Canon 7D. These cameras will give you a cinematic quality that can rival those found on Hollywood film sets.
  • Use a variety of lenses to capture the property from a multitude of angles. Use lenses that allow for selective focus and shallow depth of field to mimic the cinematic techniques we've grown to love in Hollywood films.

My enthusiasm for cinematic listing videos does not blind me from the fact that not all properties call for this type of artistic representation. If your listing is inescapably dull, it will not serve your goals to try to coax out its personality on film. In this case, it wouldn't be a bad idea to do a low cost video tour or photo gallery to illustrate the features of the home. Video tours can be shot on equipment that is less expensive and easier to use and, as I mentioned before, can serve a practical purpose as a illustration of the features of a home. But if you can find personality in your listing, I highly recommend using cinematic content; you will inspire buyers and also connect this beautiful media content to your personal brand.

There was a study done by NAR in collaboration with Google called The Digital House Hunt that concluded that in "today's complex, rapidly changing and digitally driven media environment, capturing a home shopper's attention in order to build a real estate business and personal REALTORĀ® brand is tougher than ever."

The easy part of a digital media strategy is getting the content to be seen. 90% of home buyers start their search online, and almost all of those "shoppers" prefer listings with video. The difficult and underutilized part of a digital media strategy is creating content that "captures a home shopper's attention." Cinematic and emotionally resonant video is an "attention capturer" and once the audience sees that content, they will forever associate that premium content with your brand.

I hope you found some nuggets of value in this blog and I wish everyone GOOD FILMING!!

To view the original article, visit the Tech Savvy Agent blogTech Savvy Agent blog.