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Ten tips for hiring a professional real estate videographer



Photo of videographer

Quality real estate video

We recently shared with you five tips for hiring a real estate videographer from the mouths of WellcomeMat video professionals. Today, we turn our sights on Halstead Property on the East Coast who we approached because of their innovative use of high quality real estate video.

One brokerage’s approach

We asked Matthew J. Leone, Halstead Property’s Director of Web Marketing and Social Media about their approach and their results. Leone said that collectively, their videos have over 4.7 million views and that “it is imperative to have two key things: quality and syndication. Before you get to syndication, you must first accomplish the ‘quality.'”

One of our pet peeves and a problem for consumers is poor quality videos, mostly produced by agents opting to do their own videos. Leone said, “If you, as a real estate agent or agency, are presenting a narrated picture slideshow or a Blair Witch inspired handheld video tour, that is no benefit to the Seller, the Buyer, the property or your brand.”

Leone noted, “Video, like good photography, is an art form and should be performed by a professional to obtain the best possible results. Like a colleague of ours, Phil DiGiulio, once said, “should you cut your own hair because you can?”  Probably not, you hire the best.”

Top 10 tips

Leone outlined ten tips on getting started in achieving high quality video:

1.      Get Your House In Order – It is essential to have trusted sources that are managing, promoting, and hand holding throughout the process – from creating the video to editing to then promoting the video as much as possible.  If you don’t have someone driving the boat and constantly pushing the benefits of video, it will be dead in the water.  Halstead Property has dedicated personnel from the start to the finish – all resulting in success and increased brand recognition both within the company and throughout the real estate industry.

2.       Find A Partner – It is the best idea to partner with a quality videographer or production company.  Small production companies or skilled professionals right out of college with film production degrees know how to shoot clean web video.  The key is get someone affordable and hungry for work, but they must have proper equipment (will get to that part in a minute).   Reach out to the career services of local colleges, the yellow pages, or craigslist to post your request.  When choosing your video vendor, make sure you see samples of their work.  At Halstead, after much thought and research, we selected someone who was NOT in the real estate video business in order to have more input on what and how the filming was done.  We chose to go with one exclusive vendor for our company so we can get the price down in exchange for consistent business.  We also utilize the company for additional videos such as corporate items, neighborhood tours, agent biographies, state of the market videos, etc.

3.      The Video Is Only As Good As Your Equipment – Ask your vendor if they film with a high definition camera and use an additional stand alone lighting kit – these items are crucial.  Ask for the specific name or brand of camera they use and then do a search to determine what reviews the camera received – just be sure to get it from reliable sources. Filming in an HD format is important because most video players now present in higher quality widescreen and if you present in 4×3, you look as though you are behind in the times.  Lighting is also crucial so that proper depth and color are shown…and it translates professionalism.

4.       Hello Dolly – Ask your vendor if they will include portable tracks/dollies in their production.  These are gold.  There are portable versions that look as good as the professional versions that are affordable and effective.  The final product looks like it belongs on HGTV with free flowing camera movements that can’t be matched.

5.       Think Big – Ask your vendor if they will include a wide angle lens.  Just like when your photographer comes in and shoots your property, a wide angle lens will make your property look true to size instead of standard lens that make everything look compact smaller than it actually is.  Size in real estate make the phones ring.

6.       Voice Must Be Heard – Ask your vendor to have the agent do the voiceover and appear on camera giving the tour. I understand that professional voiceovers sound impressive, but the agent is selling the home – not the voiceover artist.   If camera-shy, the agent (at the very least) should be on camera during the beginning and end.  The more the agent is on camera, the more indirect personal agent promotion takes place.  Good vendors will make anyone look good and work with them.  I have countless Halstead agents who have told me success stories on getting more business from someone seeing them in a video.

7.       Track It – Ask your vendor if they will include a Soundtrack in the background. A mellow music in the background is essential to the flow of a quality video.  However, any sampling of popular music as a background track for any commercial purpose like using Diddy’s “Coming Home” or Michael Buble’s “Home” may sound great but is also illegal so be cognizant of that.  Make sure your vendor is taking from royalty free music sites like or the dozen others out there.

8.       Polish It Off – Ask your vendor if they do post production visual effects or graphics.  If they do, you should have them work with your marketing dept or marketing head to properly brand all your content consistently in accordance with your company’s style guide.  If they don’t do graphics, then you can outsource the raw file at a small cost to a vendor like that will brand your content with an intro, outro, and lower third graphics to look polished.  If you have the volume, you can hire a more junior video graphics person in house full time or part time who understands the programs you will need to manage the graphics workload.

9.       Timing is Everything –  Make sure your vendor understands the consumption patterns of web video.  Editing content down to tell a good story is imperative because viewers start to turn off video content at the 2 minute mark. As a result, at Halstead, we try and be as quick as possible in the editing.

10.   Hosting The Party – You have to figure out how to host the content.   You can go two routes: you can own your own content and own the search experience by building a video channel for your content with a company like  Alternatively, you can also create a YouTube or Vimeo channel and host your content there for free.  YouTube is currently the second largest search engine behind Google so it is imperative to have your content on this site.  The only downfall that we have found is that we have watermarks on our video and unfortunately, on YouTube, it doesn’t appear.  We have found that as far as hosting, we do both our own ( and on YouTube (

Leone closes by noting that “next to personal one-on-one interaction, video is the second best form of communicating the value of a product and having them embrace that produce.  We cannot ignore that in the real estate arena.”

What tips do you have to share with us? Tell us in the comments below:

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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  1. Chase Thompson

    July 13, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Love the dolly tip. Super important to have a dolly, tripod or stability harness. Shaky video is hard to watch, reminds me of the Blair Witch Project.

    But I don't know if I agree with your consumption numbers. Many of my most watched videos are well over 2 mins.

    • Matthew Leone

      July 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

      Certain video if produced correctly can certainly go passed 2 minutes. We have just found that viewers have started to drift off after that point. In the end you want to properly get your message across, if engaging, over 2 minutes is still effective. Thanks for the feedback

  2. Bella Longia

    August 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I've seen some videos which just show pictures of individual rooms – and maybe the camera is moving a bit on a skateboard or something. Others which are far more informative which actually walk you through the house as if you were really there. The skateboard videos don't seem much more valuable than stills and they're kind of boring. Sometimes they show water running out of a faucet and a vase of flowers. Yay.

    I want to see where the kids bedrooms are in relationship to mine – hopefully FAR down the end of the hallway!

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