The Making Of A Real Estate Promo Video

Steven Caban

Steven Caban Jun 9, 2020 2:33:07 PM

The Making Of A Real Estate Promo Video

When Compass Real Estate approached us about creating an agent brand video with a "parenting" theme for the Chicago Neighborhood Parents Network website, we knew this company was on the right track in digital marketing.

After all, what better place for a real estate brokerage to market to buyers who need more space!

When writing about personal branding, digital marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk stated "good intent wins in a transparent world."

As video marketers we take that to mean that we should strive to show the "real side" of our real estate clients to juxtapose the cheesy-smile bench ads that they are accustomed to. 

So we created a shot list and storyboard that shows the agents in their element, working from home, and taking their kids out for fun and exercise. 

We also wanted to show agents "doing what they do", showcasing beautiful homes to clients who have a new addition to the family. The message to parents is simple "we get you".

Watch the video:

Compass and Neighborhood Parent Network


the storyteller's mission

The task assigned to us from Compass was this:

  • Create a 2-minute promo video.
  • Showcase 6 agents.
  • Show awesome parts of the city.
  • Show parenting themes.

Some basic math tells us we need to showcase 6 agents in a 2 minute video meaning: we have only 20 seconds for each agent to deliver an effective presentation with b-roll coverage!

Spoiler Alert: Getting 6 busy top-producing agents to commit to a film schedule is tough!

As video marketers we know that a video is not just a video, there are business objectives that need to be reached even if that is not communicated from the client. So then our questioning becomes this:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the intended result?
  • What is your platform?

We learned that this video needed to accomplish many things. Meet Compass's brand standards and establish their agents as the top professionals in the arena to our target audience of people surfing the Neighborhood Parent Network.


pre-production is Preparation

Compass Video Production Behind the Scenes

We always approach these branding videos by preparing a list of questions AND a script. Approaching brand videos with just a candid interview session and no script is a missed opportunity to hammer your message home because:

  1. There's no guarantee you'll get the responses and on-camera performance you want from just interview questions.
  2. A script is a better guide for the video coverage you need to capture to tell the story.
  3. A script is easier to rehearse and get a better performance from the interviewee with coaching.

You might say "well isn't scripting fake, and goes against the mantra of being real?" 

We always review the script with our interviewees and ask if they would be comfortable saying it in their own voice. If the answer is yes, then the script can be every bit as genuine as an unscripted interview. And more-so, it gives them the opportunity to deliver the script from the heart, with some added emphasis and melodic tone.

In the end product, half of the video was scripted, and half unscripted. The edit came together seamlessly showing spontaneous responses and planned delivery. 


BTS Compass Interview 2


Make it look beautiful

In the age of 4k/6k ultra-high resolution digital cameras we run into the problem of having too much sharpness and detail. I know I wouldn't want every pore and wrinkle in my face exposed in high contrast!

no way jose

We approach these kinds of shoots with an anti-sharpness, pro-color and light quality mindset. Forget sharpness, give me dynamic range and color depth. 

We do this by putting diffusion filters in front of our lenses and bouncing our key light on a 7 foot parabolic umbrella.

The backlight was an Arri tungsten hanging from the ceiling to "motivate" the warm light fixtures in the background.

Motivated lighting is when your production lights are mimicking light sources already in the scene. We position these lights to cast a more flattering look on our subjects.

As you can see the Arri Tungsten is outlining our talent with a nice halo and separating her from the background. 

When these brighter spots in the scene hit our diffusion filters they create a nice blooming effect in the image. So soft and glowy its almost like a painting! 🎨


Julie NPN Still With Lights

Cindi Sodolski NPN Still Liza NPN Still

We sometimes see videographers up-charging for "4k" and chuckle. Have you ever watched a movie and thought "Wow! The image is so sharp! This is a really good movie!"

We love our 6k camera but I would judge a flatscreen TV on those merits, not a brand video meant to tell a story. 


Capture Meaningful B-Roll

The B-Roll is the supplementary footage used to illustrate the story, create mood/emotion, and in general delight viewer. 

We captured the city footage during a 2 day shoot where we "planned" scenes with 3 agents, exploring the neighborhoods, showing homes, and having lunch with the family. 

The footage was captured in RAW and colored to give that warm summery vibe, with yellows in the highlights.

Even when overcast we use a coloring process to turn the white overcast skies into clear blue skies!

Father and Son on the 606 Trail


We wanted to get a sense of scale of Chicago without the typical downtown skyline shots so we made sure to get a mix of three locations: Wicker Park/Bucktown, Lincoln Square and Roscoe Village.

The cheap method would be to use a lot of aerial footage but we decided we can do better than that, we staged scenes with agents doing neighborhood walking tours and showcasing beautiful homes to capture the fast paced action of real estate.

Providing information is important when it comes to video marketing, but just as important is conveying emotion.

After all, the process of purchasing a new home is both a daunting and exciting one, so we used sound effects and pace of editing and motion to convey that frantic movement but slow things down during moment of peace and tranquility.

All these elements add up to an effective brand video that communicates high-value for the real people that a company employees.



Whether you are a real estate agent looking to market  your listings and personal brand more effectively or a content creator looking to up your game, be sure to subscribe for more real estate media goodness!


Steven Caban

Steven Caban

With a background in insurance an real estate, Steven now creates brand experiences that connect reputable financial service companies with their target audiences.

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