Real Estate Video Decision List

by Aaron Yates

The number of options to consider when commissioning a real estate video can be overwhelming. You will want to consider what type of video, time of day, weather, incorporating still images, including aerial shots, including voiceover… the list seems to go on forever. In this brief post, we’ll try to simplify your decision making process to get you the best bang for your buck, helping you to please your sellers and impress potential buyers. Here we go!

Type of Video

There are many ways to skin this cat, and it all depends on your goals, our timeframe, and your budget. The most traditional real estate videos include 100% video footage. But some hybrid videos can incorporate stills in an animated fashion known as the Ken Burns effect. One of our most popular types of video for large properties with many improvements is a hybrid of stills and aerial video that we call the “Aerial/Still Hybrid Tour.” Here’s an example:

The reason this type of video is popular for large properties like ranches is because it reduces the amount of time we have to spend shooting improvements. By taking still photos of interiors instead of video of interiors, we can move much faster, and concentrate more on the land features that are the more valuable portions of the property.

For residential properties that don’t sit on large tracts of land, a full tour is generally preferable. We shoot video of all the spaces — interior and exterior — and present the property in full motion. Here is an example of a “Full Motion Video Tour” that does not include narration.

Time of Day & Weather

When scheduling your shoot, keep in mind what the various parts of the property might look like. Typically the middle of the day is bad for both interiors and exteriors when it comes to video. However, if we’re shooting for many hours to get everything filmed, we may not have a choice but to shoot through the middle of the day. If we had no budget or time constraints, we would shoot everything at morning twilight or evening twilight. In fact, for some projects, we actually do shoot at sunset, spend the night, and then shoot the morning twilight, too.

If the house is the biggest selling point,¬†consider whether it would be lit better in morning or afternoon. It’s not always just about the front of the house — some houses have more important stuff in the back, like a big pool or outdoor living space. So keep in mind all of these things when requesting either morning or afternoon.

Weather can be a huge factor with photo OR video. Typically we want a nice bright day with plenty of clouds AND sunshine. Of course, we can’t control the weather, and if it’s not ideal conditions, we’ll want to speak to you and determine if we should go ahead with the shoot or if we should postpone. Obviously there are always many factors to consider, such as deadlines, seller wishes, and more, but honestly, photos and videos don’t look good on gloomy days.

Incorporating Still Images

One of the recently popular methods of producing real estate video is to shoot exterior video and then incorporate interior stills. This cuts down on the amount of time we have to spend on the interior — which is generally the slowest part of the shoot. If we just snap stills and incorporate them using the Ken Burns method mentioned above, we can cut down on your expense and still get great exterior video to produce your finished product.

However, the interior video is pretty cool. We use different gear such as mechanical stabilizers for a walking shot, jibs for rising shots, and sliders for dolly shots. For residential shoots, we recommend doing a full video on the interior. But if it’s a ranch and the interior isn’t the big selling point, then we recommend incorporating stills in lieu of interior video.

Aerial Video

Thanks to new regulations that legalize the use of drones by licensed operators, aerial video is now an amazing tool in our toolbox that is especially well-suited for selling real estate. Aerial video is perfect for establishing the location of a house, taking in sweeping views of a ranch, or skimming along the top of a live water creek. Aerial video is one of the most effective methods of capturing footage for real estate and is inexpensive and quick. We recommend drone footage for almost any property. The only limitations are safety and airspace regulations. For example, if your ranch is situated next door to a large military base or a busy airport, we may not be able to legally fly there. Be sure to give us the location of your property before booking a video session that will include aerial video.

Narration (aka Voiceover)

Exceptional properties that have a lot of great features can benefit from a scripted narration. Our professional script-writers and voiceover artists can create the narration that really captures the viewer’s interest and explains details that might otherwise be missed in a non-narrated version. Voiceover adds about $200 to the cost of your video, depending on length. Below is an example of a great script that adds tremendous value to a film.


Still not sure? Contact us for a free estimate and advice about the best way to showcase your listing. Aaron Yates can be reached at 830-214-7635 or by email at