Lights, Camera, Action… relating it to your listing.
There is a reason that Hollywood has kept this saying at the top of their movie to-do list. In reality, the path to movie making and good real estate virtual tour production is the same. Responsibly using scenes to elicit an emotional response from your viewer is one key objective. Without a gut feeling “wow” response from a viewer you cannot expect to covert a virtual tour view into a home showing. So let’s take each of these three elements apart for a better examination.
LIGHTS: TURN ON THE LIGHTS PLEASE! Sorry, sorry for shouting. I still see daily pictures taken by realtors with drapes closed and lights off. Are they going out of their way to produce dark pictures and annoying shadows, I ask myself? Turn on the fans to create motion, turn on the lights, open the drapes and shoot away from windows and doors during bright daylight. Use the lighting at dusk when the outside light is balancing with the inside light. Then you can see through the windows as you photograph the back yard, mountain, ocean or other views that may exist. Let me say, that all of my many excellent photography friends agree that learning to master lighting techniques and how they illuminate the shot is THE key to becoming a great photographer. Apparently, Hollywood figured this out early!
CAMERA: You don’t need a great camera to get good shots, but you do need one to get great shots. However, all real estate photographers have two things in common: Tripods and wide angle lenses. The tripod will keep your camera still during long shots that need to be free from motion. Viewers want to see a large room looking… well, large. You can only show that with a wide angle lens. That allows for great motion panning of shots when making your virtual tour. How big should the shot be? Well 360 degrees is interesting, but once you hit a wall, ceiling, your neighbor’s house or dog, all that positive emotion stops. If Hollywood producers wanted you to see the crew of 50 people standing around the set sipping Starbucks, they would pan around to show you. That is why in general, photography is a great way to go and keep the viewers emotional level up.
There are ways however to use video that can be very key to selling a home. Real Property Videos community has a member that uses video to interview the owners of the house about why they love their property so much. Then he scans to the kids playing ball in the back yard and talking about their great friends on the block. He minimizes the property and spends more time on the dream. My gosh, who cares about shots of the bathroom. By this point, the viewer is ready to buy the house just on good Karma alone.
ACTION: A great real estate virtual tour will carefully manipulate all the elements to create the desired action within a property. We will talk in detail about music on a later blog, but for the moment realize that music controls another sense. It can play a huge role in keeping that emotional flow up long enough for a viewer to send you an email requesting to see the property. In many cases we actually write and record our own music for virtual tours. We realize that canned music just doesn’t cut it and copyrighted music is not an option. Turn the fans on to create motion in your pictures. Use programs that allow for movement of pictures, text, colors, textures and interesting transitions -this is key to a well orchestrated virtual tour.
In closing, consider lights, camera and action carefully to make a virtual tour that will keep your phone ringing with clients that want to view your properties.