How To Make A Video People Will Actually Watch

Video is one of the most powerful forms of communications. And today, your smartphone and your laptop together make the production part of video easier than ever. The hard part is still finding a way to create videos that people actually want to watch.

So what can an agent do to create a video that people actually want to watch?

Create a community close-up
The secret to a great real estate video, say the experts, can be found in creating content that homebuyers want to see that they can’t easily find elsewhere on the Internet. That’s why videos that include content that profiles a neighborhood or is a close up of a community are so effective.

Video tips

Here’s how to put together a great community close-up or neighborhood profile:

1.    Collect “b-roll” video footage all year round. “B-roll” is simply video that you shoot that you can later narrate. You see this all the time on the nightly news. When they do a story on the Federal Reserve raising mortgage rates, they show people shopping for homes, For Sale signs, and signing loan documents. All of those video shots are “b-roll.”

2.    What to shoot. Include shots of different types of homes; local parks; schools and school buses driving down the street or picking up students; local sporting events like t-ball and little league and soccer; local annual events such as fundraisers and outdoor celebrations; local parades and festivals; seasonal celebrations; retail establishments – shops, theaters, restaurants – those places that capture the culture and character of your community. Capture key historical sites and landmarks; if there are places with spectacular views or nice vantage points, make sure you obtain footage of those. Remember it’s video: look for action – things moving and activities with people. And keep in mind that close ups are what really make people connect to a video: seeing other people laugh, smile and have fun.

3.    Try to not talk over your “b-roll” when filming. It’s best to try and pick up some of the natural sound, as you may want to use some of this sound mixed underneath your narration. This can give your video a very sophisticated feel.

4.    Keep your video files organized so you can find it easy later. This is a crucial step: after every shoot, download your video files, name them and organize them in folders so you can easily find them later. This will save you hours later on.

5.    When to shoot is critical. Wait for the best weather, sunniest days. Cloudy days may be good for art films, but not for the upbeat emotion a real estate video is trying to achieve: sun is the number one criteria for good video footage. And remember if you have four seasons, shoot them all and look for those things you can only find during those time: cherry trees blossoming, firework displays, fall foliage, holiday lights, etc.

6.    Tell a story. Your video should tell a story about your community or neighborhood. Why is it such a great place to live/play/go to school? You can anchor your video around a powerful title that will capture strong Search Engine Optimization or SEO, such as “10 Best Things About (Your Community Name,” “Favorite Places in (Your Community Name),” or simply “Let’s Tour (Community or Neighborhood)!”

7.    The most important thing about a great video: great audio. This is the number one mistake that even YouTubers make. Even the best, most beautiful video footage can be ruined by poor audio. When putting together your final video, make sure your audio quality is first rate. You can hire professional voice narration very inexpensively through online freelance services or ask a colleague with a great voice to help out, but make sure the quality is first rate. For inexpensive yet professional music tracks to add the extra professional element, check out

BONUS TIP: Video editing software. The good news is, if you have a Mac or a Windows laptop, you have some pretty easy to use, consumer-friendly video editing software built-in. Microsoft users have Windows Movie Makerand Apple Mac users have iMovie, both free. iMovie is actually one of the best overall movie editing software programs for beginners and Windows Movie Maker is pretty easy to use as well.

The key is to keep it simple, avoid including interviews, stick to the basics, and keep it short: 3 minutes should be your goal.

If you follow these tips, you’ll have a video that will actually be watched again and again.

By Kevin Hawkins, an award winning freelance writer on real estate and technology topics.
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