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You on YouTube  (It’s easy, we promise!)/Users/adamp/Desktop/Stuff for FAR/Magazine Assets/JAN09/images/YouTube

Want video on your site? It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, but it’s worth it. We’ve got step-by-step directions for getting it done. 

With the popularity of sites like YouTube.com, it’s no surprise that 16 percent of Internet users surveyed by Pew Internet Services watch videos on the Internet. And, the housing industry is ripe for this type of promotion, whether you’re using videos to offer neighborhood tours and souped-up virtual tours or to provide the latest market update on your blog.

Let’s face it: equipment, software and editing can be very complicated and expensive. While there are some companies working to make video more affordable for real estate professionals, a less expensive solution is to do-it-yourself, if you’re willing to invest your time.

Here’s the plan we used to produce a video for sales associate Lori Shackelford, a sales associate with Resicore Realty in Sarasota, who wanted to highlight the benefits of the community she sells. This will give you an idea of what’s involved. Maybe you can’t do it all on your own, but you can save money by at least performing some of these steps before hiring a professional. For Shackelford’s video, the only investment we made was in time and equipment (see “What You Need to Get Started,” next page).

This video can be viewed at floridarealtors.org/learn.

Step 1: Research
View current Web videos and note what you like. We looked for camera techniques that we could duplicate; listened for background music (knowing that we could not legally use copyrighted music without permission); observed when the subject was talking on camera and off camera; watched the transitions from one frame to the next and—most importantly—began formulating content.

Step 2: Outline
We started with an outline and then refined it into a script designed to stimulate interest for Lakewood Ranch, a community in Southwest Florida. Because our goal was to produce a video that was shorter than 60 seconds, the script had to be brief and pithy.

Step 3: Production Meeting
Our first production meeting allowed us to map out a plan. Lori and I decided that the video editor and cameraman would be Cameron, a junior at a local  high school who’s interested in video production. Consider using a local high school or college student who has an interest in video. Cameron volunteered to do our video for free in order to build his portfolio. But, some students may charge $100-$200 for their time.

Step 4: Shooting the Video
For the parts of the video where Lori is off camera but speaking, we simulated voice-over from a recording studio by recording her in a small room that had drapes and carpet.  We plugged the external microphone into the camcorder and set it up in the same way you would use any audio recorder. 

When Lori made a mistake, she reread the sentence and went on, with the knowledge that the mistake could easily be edited out later. We then video-recorded her outside on her front porch in open shade. 

For the sound, we again used the external microphone to ensure that we recorded clean audio. Our edited video would begin with the voice-over audio and finish with Lori on camera from the outdoor recording.

After we finished Lori’s recording, we made a list of the areas that she had described in her script. Then, in early morning light (best for shooing videos), we recorded the local scenes. The shoot took about four hours, spread over two mornings.

Step 5: Editing the Video
Editing the video is another area where a professional or a local student can come in handy. Our student, Cameron, took the raw video and sound recording and loaded it into our editing software,

Pinnacle 12. He then edited the offline audio track to match the original script, editing out spoken errors. Using drag and drop, he wove the video clips of the local scenes into the audio timeline and added music.

Step 6: Upload to the Internet
Once the video was done, Lori could automatically upload her video to YouTube.com and her brokerage’s Web site.

Everyone was very happy with the first edit that Cameron created. We simply tweaked the audio blend, changed one transition and added the brokerage logo. 

John M. Frank is a licensed real estate sales associate and industry consultant and writer from Sarasota.