My second blog post on shooters out there in the wild and how they are using video for Real Estate. I have been in touch with Dean on and off over the last couple of years and its great to get a different take on the process from an actual Real Estate agent shooting his own videos. Dean has been very active with using video to help promote his business and I really like the way he’s experimenting with different ways of using video to help promote his real estate business.
Met Dean Linnell from Whistler, Canada…
Where are you based and what is your background?
I’m a realtor based in Whistler, BC, Canada with 20 years experience selling ski resort homes and condos.
How long have you been shooting Real Estate Video?
I’ve actually been shooting real estate video for my own purposes since about 2006 so getting close to 13 years now.
Do you offer stills as well as video services?
The videos I shoot are for my own properties but I don’t shoot any stills myself. I feel that architectural photography is really an art that is best left to the professionals so I hire that out to a couple of very talented local real estate photographers that I like. They don’t shoot video though so that’s why I do my video work myself. There are some real estate videographers in Whistler and Vancouver that I’ve worked with over the years but they’re not as creative as I’d like and they’re very expensive.
Over the course of any given year I list around 75-100 properties for sale. If I’m bring charged $1,000 to $1,500 per listing for something I could do a better job on and faster, then I’d rather do it myself. Plus I get a lot of satisfaction in the creative process of shooting real estate videos and vlogging for my business in general.
Whats is your current camera setup? I know you have recently switched to a more classic Camcorder style camera?
A few years ago I was using a Canon T4i but the autofocus was terrible so after taking your Shooting Real Estate Video course I switched to a Canon G7X for run and gun around town videos and also a Canon 80D for the main property tours which I really liked.
Recently I decided I needed a bit more of a “run and gun” setup that would work for everything that I do so such as on-the-go vlogging, lifestyle videos and of course property walkthrough tours. I also wanted something that gave me good video stabilization without having to also be carrying something like a Moza Air gimbal.
So, what I’m currently using is a Sony AX-53 camcorder with the balanced Optical Steady Shot (BOSS) floating stabilized lens system on it. I love it!
Lots of folks think camcorders are dead (including my kids) but they really do a fantastic job at one intended purpose which is video and they’re quick to pull out and use. The Sony AX-53 gives incredibly stable footage and I use it ALL THE TIME!
With a DSLR I would hesitate to pull it out sometimes because I knew that it would not be great handheld and I may not be in a situation where a tripod is appropriate or handy to use. I find I’m shooting footage and b-roll way more often which is kind of the point.
I’ve also been really into drones for the past 3-4 years and have had everything from a DJI Phantom 3 to a Phantom 4 Pro and then a Mavic and now I have the Mavic Air which I really like. It’s so discreet that I can fly it right off the balcony of a condo building, get the exterior shots I need and then fly it right back to my hand. All before the other owners in the building even know I did it! 😉 . Great image quality too. Much better than the Mavic I had which had a terrible problem of blurry edges on all the images.
What is your favourite bit of kit?
I’m going to have to say my favourite bit of kit is actually the iPad teleprompter holder I got from a company called “Prompter People”. It fits onto the hot shoe on my camcorder which sits on my tripod. I read scripts on the “Promptsmart Pro” software on my iPad and use my Apogee Metarecorder lav mic and app on my iPhone for the audio. This setup enables me to introduce a property and speak professionally with no “ums” and then I can use the voice audio as a voiceover for the rest of the video. It’s just one way that I like to do my property videos.
Sometimes depending on the property I will just skip the voiceover and shoot the home “Grant Johnston style” with music only and none of my voice. Because I’m a one man show I need tools like this to enable me to self-shoot properties and do vlog-style shooting as well. I don’t always use a teleprompter but it does help get a more professional feel to my videos when necessary.
How do you use video for your business?
I have been doing property walk-through videos since the beginning but have now added in more lifestyle type videos where I interview local business owners and review their businesses or perhaps take the viewer along with me on a local activity or mountain bike adventure shooting in a vlog style. It really helps to let my potential clients get to know me and the area a bit better.
I’m also getting more testimonials and reviews on video from my buyers and sellers. This goes a long way to telling a “story” about my business in the mould of the popular “Story Brand” book that I’m so hooked on by Donald Miller. I’ve also been working on “Neighbourhood Tours” of all the Whistler neighbourhoods this summer. These videos will be featured on the Whistler Neighbourhoods section of our website.
Any advice for those getting started in Real Estate Video?
I would say that you have to just jump right in. You’re going to put out a lot of crappy videos at first but who cares? Those first few crappy videos show the audience that you’re trying and the rawness of them helps them to get to know you a bit more. It’s the same as anything in life. If you don’t practice you’ll never get any good at it!
Where can people see your work?
You can find a lot of my work on my website at www.whistler-realestate.com and on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/TheLinnellGroup.
Some of my favourite videos are the Discover Whistler series that I’ve been doing this summer:
I also really like doing monthly real estate market updates like these:
Here’s a property tour video:
Here’s a Neighbourhood video:
Whistler Businesses style of video:
Special thanks to Dean for sharing his story and practises, go say hello.
Nice article Grant. But it seems that most Real Estate agents, even around the world, are cheap. They just don’t want to really pay for the professionals. There are a few and I have some of those clients that see the difference in the work. I can appreciate what Dean is doing and his passion for doing so but as an example, his videos do not show the property as well as yours do for example.
Hi Houston – I think its a bit harsh calling most real estate agents cheap. I have had plenty of clients from all sorts of industries and professions who don’t want to pay what I think is a proper price for video services. At the end of the day I believe it comes down to the clients perceived value and our ability to sell our product or services. Its just the nature of the business game we are in, I have one realty agent I deal with who has no problem with my prices and has on occasion even quoted higher for me and another who keeps saying she wishes video services were cheaper and rarely uses me! Fun and games.
Hi Houston – thanks for the comments. In defence of realtors shooting their own video content, it’s a tough business to be in and control your budget. I know that the general public thinks real estate agents are rolling in cash but it’s simply not the case. Just like any business, there’s only so much marketing budget to throw at video content and since it’s critical to be deep into video in all areas of your business these days it’s just not workable to pay for professionals for ALL their video needs. Remember, it goes a lot further than just the property videos nowadays – especially when you’re an agent like myself who lists so many properties each year.