There were an average of 50 people in the first ever Digital Video Summit at Inman Connect in NY. All in all, I have to say I was quite impressed with the number of knowledgeable agents/brokers in the room in regards to video. I noticed a stark contrast from just six months ago at Inman in San Fransico. There, few agents “got” the whole video revolution. Many were confused about how to successfully implement the medium into their business and couldn’t decide if they wanted to attempt the venture themselves or hire a professional.
Fast forward six months and you have a room filled with viable questions really addressing the issues of video in real estate and much of the room opting out of the “do it yourself” mode. Which makes me wonder...did many of these agents/brokers try to do it themselves and found it too time consuming? Did they not enjoy the process? Did they simply not find the time in their crazy schedule to get it done? None of these questions were posed but I can surmise at least one of the above is probably accurate. Here’s my take on that...real estate agents have enough to do in their day. In essence, each agent/broker is a business owner having to deal with countless daily dealings. Adding video production to their already packed schedule probably wasn’t a viable option for most.
Still, some wanted to know what cameras were the best to buy, what equipment was needed to produce/edit video and what kind of costs they were looking to endure. The loaded question of the day was, “How much time is this going to take if I do it myself?” Needless to say, there was an audible chuckle from the audience. Some probably knew the answer and others could probably take a wild guess. It was best summed up by one panelist saying, “It’s kind of like putting together a stool from Ikea. The first time you do it, it’s really not that easy and can take a lot of time. But you get better and faster each time you do it.” Great analogy.
In this and in upcoming blogs, I will do my best to thoroughly answer each one of the above questions as well as the other hot button questions such as:
-How can I be creative with my video?
-Where should I distribute my video?
-Should I track the video or set it to music?
-How do I tell a compelling story?
-What questions should I ask when hiring a professional photography crew?
-How important is quality?
-What should my video contain?
These are questions that my partner, TJ and I get on a constant basis when teaching our video training seminars. Because of that, we have brochures for the answers!
Here’s our first answer on camera choices:
-In my opinion Mac makes editing as close to idiot proof as possible. It is very user friendly and can truly be self taught if you dedicate a couple hours to learning. It allows you to make edits with effects (dissolves, swish pans, etc...some are fancier than others), add music, graphics and voiceover track. The software is standard on Mac computers.
-Windows Movie Maker can do all of the same as I-Movie but can be a little more confusing.
If you’re doing the production yourself factor in the cost of the equipment you purchased (camera, lights, microphone, editing software, graphics software, etc) PLUS the amount of time it took you to shoot, edit and upload your video. Why? As a real estate professional you should know the answer to this one...
TIME IS MONEY! If it took you one day factor your normal productivity for the day and what you normally anticipate as a monetary return. If you’ve never thought this through before, you should. Another way (and perhaps the more common method) is to take what your earned last year and divide it by your work calendar year (excluding vacation time, days off, etc)
So let’s say you average $200 a day, you spent $500 on equipment and it took you two days for the entire production. Your hard cost is $900. Keep in mind, the next time you shoot, you can eliminate the equipment cost given that you didn’t purchase anything additional.
Now taking that figure and looking at what it currently costs to get a professional video made, you are honestly comparing apples to apples. However, your finished product will be comparing apples to oranges. BUT WAIT, I promise I am not doing a shameless plug...there is a lot to be said for agents/brokers shooting their own video. I am passionate about giving people the tools, knowledge and skills they need to succeed on their own. That is the main reason we started teaching video training seminars because we were inundated with questions on how to produce a higher quality video as a “do it yourselfer”.
But remember what I said above, time is money. You have to ask yourself if you want to take the time to produce a quality video that you would be proud to hang your name on or do you want to pass the baton? There is no right answer. It is an individual choice for each one of you to decide. The question that has already been infaticly answered is, “Do I need to use video as a real estate professional?” YES!!!