The latest installment of our Navigating the Market series described how some sellers are using broadcast-quality video to help them gain an advantage over their competition in the Washington region’s heated sellers’ market. We asked D.C.-based videographer James Williams to describe how video might benefit sellers.
Do you do this type of work for many real estate agents and has your business grown?
I’m only working for Fulcrum Properties Group. I’ve been working with them for a year and a half. The demand for it has gone up — that could be pinned to the increase in demand for digital video across social media and the Web in general.
Used to be one every couple of weeks [that a request to make a real estate video came in]. Now it’s once a week. I was shooting these on my own and the demand has become enough that I now have someone working for me [a subcontractor].
There are two really important elements to a good real estate video.
The first is capturing the personality of the Realtor themselves, because they are part of the story when a property gets sold. They’re the main interface the client has with the process. I think it’s important to capture what it is about the Realtor and their personality that draws people to them. It’s not just personality but also knowledge . . . about the house they’re in and houses in general.
And 2 — every house has its own story to tell; there are distinct attributes. There are distinct details each house has that makes it unique. Even Capitol Hill row houses . . . each house has personality. My job is to bring that house’s personality to the front.
What advice can you give homeowners on preparing for a video shoot?
Treat it as if your house was about to be staged. You want to present the house in the best possible light. The open house we’re about to shoot is going to live on in perpetuity on the Web. Make it look as clean and sharp as possible.
Presentation is always important. Certainly, the lighting plays a factor in that. The ideal situation is to shoot the house in full sunlight when you can show the sunlight blasting through the windows and lighting up the space. It’s a warmer image. I want to show that as much as possible in the video.
What sets video apart from still photos?
When we walk through a house we want to know what it feels like to move through that space. Video is able to do that in a way you can’t with photographs. [Videos] offer a lot of information about the property without a lot of effort on the part of the viewer.
How long does a shoot take?
It depends on the house. The rough average is one to two hours to shoot the house. . . . [It] depends on the story you’re telling with the house — some houses are straightforward and they sell themselves. The images are straightforward.
Sometimes you have to be a bit more creative as an editor to figure out how to show spaces that don’t jump out as much.
Katherine Reynolds Lewis is a freelance writer.