Real Estate Video is Dead

Nearly ten years ago, I joined a startup that was dipping its toes into streaming video. The company had been producing a broadcast television show for many years. The show featured technology product profiles and computer reviews and was widely syndicated across Canada and the United States.

Then, in the late 90s, this thing called the World Wide Web hit the scene and the company decided to take a radical leap and – gasp! – started putting all of this video online. We ended up pushing those clips all over the Internet, to e-commerce sites and large portals like Yahoo.

It was a miserable time. Producing web video was expensive, time consuming and complex. We shot on Betamax, rendered all the footage digitally, and then transcoded it all out into a confusing mess of codecs: Quicktime, Windows Media, RealPlayer.

It took dozens of people and hundreds of hours, day in and day out. All that for stuttery videos that were the size of a postage stamp on your screen.

How times have changed.

Flash forward nearly a decade. Web video is not such a wild idea anymore. We all have Youtube, Flip cameras and iMovie.

But one thing hasn’t really changed. For the most part, the video quality still sucks.

The Canon Shot Across the Bow

The Canon 5D Mk. II was released in early 2009. It wasn’t the first digital SLR to shoot video, but it is quite possibly the best.

And its changing the way we think about Web video. Couple a lightning fast image processor, a monstrous CMOS for HD and Canon’s extensive collection of high-end lenses and you can start creating some real magic.

Take the film “The Last 3 Minutes” for example. The on-rush of technology now lets anyone create professional caliber HD films like this.

And Hollywood, too, has taken notice. Amazingly, it was confirmed this week that this year’s season finale of House MD was filmed entirely on one.

Granted you need some serious artistic chops to pull this kind of work off – but what’s shocking to me is that whole rig can be had for a few thousand bucks. Well within reach of the truly motivated.

Real Estate Video is Dead

I think we need a new name for this movement. The word video doesn’t do it justice. This is Cinema.

So what does this mean for real estate?

It means your listing videos can look like this.

This technology is also a truely democratizing force, meaning your marketing collateral can now compete with the best that Madison Avenue can cook up. In the eyes of consumers, a boutique brokerage can now sit on a level playing field with the big brands with their multi-million dollar ad budgets. No more hokey Handi-cams. Please!

But more importantly it means we’ll have a slew of young filmmakers armed with cameras like the 5D Mark II changing the way we look at our world and tell our stories.

Real estate cinema is now within your reach. All it takes is a little imagination. And some passion.

And anything is possible.