9 Things you should know or ask your videographer about Video Virtual Tours

Services for Real Estate Pros with Hearth & Home Videos

Even though you will not be filming and editing the Video Virtual Tour of your new listing there are factors that you should be thinking about.  The primary one is picking a videographer.  Hopefully the list below will be helpful in knowing what to look for and ask about to make your selection.  Once you've selected the videographer and are about to meet them to make the tour, some preparation and forethought can make the process go smoothly and productively for both of you.


1.    The "2 minute rule".  Here's a reality: people do not have long attention spans.  I have found that people will watch about 2 to 2 ½  minutes and unless it is a spectacular property they will then close the video. A 3 to 3 ½ minute video should only be for a very large house of 11 rooms or more (plus foyer, master bath, etc). If a mansion style house of 11 + rooms has a beautifully landscaped back yard with a pool and cabana you might want to ask your videographer if they can put at least one shot of them early in the video rather than not showing any of it the end (the back yard often ends the virtual tour).  Ask your videographer about how long their video tours typically are. 

2.      Related to the 2 minute rule is the need to PRIORITIZE.  If you have a typical house of 8 rooms or less this is not as important, but if you have a large house or a new build do be aware of your priorities. I know that you and your seller think every room in their mansion is gorgeous and to-die-for, but if a house is huge think about which rooms are going to be the ones that make a buyer have to see this home. Filming about 9 rooms along with a foyer and master bath works well.  Remember that a buyer looking at the video tour has also seen the photos - think of the video tour as highlights rather than a documenting that every room really exists.

3.      Empty houses.  Empty houses and new builds present unique challenges.  Work with your videographer on which rooms you want to include, and what not to.  Rooms with lots of  built in features or architectural details will work well - for example, kitchens, living room/family rooms with fireplaces, built in shelves or dramatic ceilings/ windows do well.  A plain dining room with no chandelier in it yet will not look appealing.  In either an unoccupied house or new build, seriously consider only showing the master bedroom and skipping the others unless they have some dramatic feature.  Looking at a bare basic bedroom (especially 3 of them) gets boring.  If something is not a plus, it's a negative.  Show only rooms that will entice a buyer to want to see the house in person.

4.      Ask your videographer about how much time shooting the video will take.  My videos usually take about 45 minutes for a standard 7-8 room house which includes the exteriors.  The time may vary depending on the videographer and the size of the house, but you should know what to expect.

5.      Have the property "film-ready."  The house should be ready for filming when the videographer gets there.  It is helpful if you check ahead of time to make sure that the time of filming does not coincide with the housecleaning or landscaping staff's regular time.  Although it seems obvious, your videographer will be very happy to arrive and not find: roofers, chimney sweeps, carpenters, painters, plumbers, or rug steamer-cleaners. (And yes, I have encountered all of these....) It is not possible to "film around" a plumber working on the kitchen sink or a chimney sweep's equipment spread out across the living room floor.  Other things to keep in mind are discussed on the FAQ page of my web site.

6.      Is it worth it to pay more for narration in a video tour?  Okay, I'm going to shoot myself in the foot here....  The truth is that the great majority of people viewing your video tour have the sound turned way down or off.  Many are at work, and many people just always have the volume off.  A pleasant music soundtrack is a must for a video tour, but I'm not sure how much the watching audience cares what the narrator is saying even if they do hear it.  The viewer has read a description of the house and property and is watching to see the details and flow of the interior.

7.      Ask your videographer if they can do a partial reshoot and re-edit at a later time.  This is sometimes done if a major remodel of a room is done, or to replace the exterior shots to match a different season. If they can do this, ask what the fee is.

8.   "HD Format" means that the video was shot in standard 3:4 format and trimmed to a 16:9 format to mimic HD.   When the new sizing is applied you lose the top and bottom of the frame to make it look wider.  You have now lost much of what you want to see in real estate video tour and have negated the benefit of using a wide angle lens in order to include more in the available view.  HD format is not the same as being shot in HD and converted to an HD compatible web format.

9.   Be aware that anyone in the video besides you has to sign a release.  The videographer must have permission to use anyone in a product used for marketing purposes.  This means that I cannot try to convey how friendly the neighborhood is by showing a neighbor walking her dog in front of the house unless I get her signed release to have her in the video tour even if she's walking on a public street.


When you hire a professional videographer you are paying for their skill, experience and equipment. Of course you'll ask about their prices, but I hope that the above points have made you a more informed consumer and able to make a wise selection.  In marketing your new listing, a Video Virtual Tour sets you apart.

If I can answer any other questions, feel free to contact me,

Amy Hunter,  Hearth & Home Videos      978-460-2963   serving the MetroWest area of MA

or email at hnhvideos@verizon.net 


Posted by

Amy Hunter,  Hearth & Home Videos

www.hnhvideos.com    Serving the Metrowest Area of MA

Comments (1)

Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Amy,

Lots of good points in this blog.

Thanks for sharing


Jul 15, 2012 08:24 PM