By Matt Van Emmerik
I’ve been shooting Real Estate videos for the past 6 years now and my personal inspiration came when I was living in Australia in 2010.
I started watching videos produced by Platinum HD on the Gold Coast of Queensland. I loved their cinematic style, music selections and way of story telling with voice overs and some without, all which kept me captivated from start to finish. It was then I realized I wanted to expand my photography business to include video productions.
I’ve noticed lately a newer style of Real Estate videos popping up more often. I’ve been wondering why this style is growing in popularity amongst shooters and new production companies. I refer to it as the dub-step style based on the common music soundtrack choice which seems to be the dominant factor in these videos. I personally see a few issues with this style of video for Real Estate and I’ll explain why.
Coming from a graphic design background I’ve always applied the LESS IS MORE rule when creating my own real estate videos. I feel this technique is a timeless approach to video production and appeals to a much broader audience. The goal with video I feel is to invoke emotion in the viewer and provide information about the subject in which the photographs alone can’t do.
Rather than posting some sample videos of this style and ruffling feathers I will do my best to explain it and perhaps you will know what I’m talking about. The dub-step style of video I’m referring to is mostly shot in LOG 2 or LOG 3 (flat profiles) with little post editing leaving a washed out look to the footage to begin with. It’s mostly shot using a gimbal walking through the home with footage that jumps from inside to outside in no particular order. It will sometimes include aerial shots, ground shots, inside random rooms, showing the same room over and over from slightly different angles and close ups of personal design elements and belongings that don’t come with the house. They usually include views from way too low, showing redundant clips of hallways and dead space in the home along with sped up and slowed down footage. You are then forced into watching twisting, high speed footage through a kitchen, slowing for one second then high speed again into a living room and to top it off, you get to watch all of this footage to dub-step or high energy dance style music with the footage changing to the beat. Huh?? Ultimately this style leaves me feeling confused.
Some important key factors these shooters overlook is that they are forgetting who the audience is in most cases and why they are watching the video to begin with. The viewer is interested in seeing the home to know if they want to book a personal viewing appointment. This high speed, high energy style is not going to apply to a broad audience I feel. I think this style started in California on multi million dollar Hollywood hills homes where in essence they were creating music videos for the home to entice the trust-fund babies they wanted to purchase them. That is the perfect style video for that audience but not for a suburban family home in my opinion.
In addition, most of these videos are being watched on mobile devices on instagram and facebook. These social media platforms degrade the quality of the footage by compressing the hell out of it and to top it off, how much sense will this style make when the viewer has the audio turned off which is more common these days. With a less-is-more style with text callouts, the viewer can still get a good feel of the home without listening to the music. Viewers are more likely to move on because footage timed to dub-step music won’t make any sense unless you’re listening to it and more importantly actually enjoy the music. I don’t mind some of the music personally but I don’t feel it works in most real estate videos as it’s too fast paced and gives a frantic, rushed feeling when watching it. These videos tend to leave me with the impression they’re more about the song choice and editors capabilities in impressing their peers, rather than effectively touring the potential buyer through the home.
To conclude my thoughts on this style, the bottom line is that choices are important and if we all created the same style of videos, our industry would get pretty boring. However, Real Estate videos are not unlike TV commercials for products or movie trailers. The goal with all of these videos is to engage the viewer long enough to get their attention and interest and to influence their decision to purchase a product, go see a movie, or in our case, view a home. I can only imagine a TV commercial for life insurance shot in this dub-step style how poorly it would do.
I am not that old at 46 years of age but can only imagine what the 65 year old is thinking watching these videos or if they even watch them at all. You have to always remember who you’re creating content for. Who is the end user and in this case viewer? If it’s a middle aged family home, is this how they want to view it?
Happy Shooting Everyone!
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