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Video Guidelines

Although attractive pictures are critical to a positive first impression of your rental property, videos add a new and important dimension to your listing by bringing your property to life. Videos evoke an emotional reaction and allow vacationers to experience more of what your property has to offer. They are the next best thing to vacationers actually visiting your vacation home in person prior to booking it.

A video should enhance your photos, not duplicate them. For instance, focus the video on your yard, a deck, the view, even the beach, and maybe one or two interior shots of larger rooms. Some rooms do not lend themselves towards video but can be captured quite adequately by digital pictures. So be selective in choosing the rooms or scenes that you want to video.

If you are interested in using our fee-based services to video your rental property, please let us know. More info.

Be driven by this key principle: A good quality video can enhance your listing's effectiveness, but a poor quality video can detract from it.

There are two types of videos: a Property Video and a Picture Video.

Property Video

It highlights the key features of your rental property and its surroundings. The length will be determined by the size of your home and the exterior and interior features you want to show. The average length ranges from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

There are three ways to produce a Property Video:

  1. Dynamic video: All images are taken through a video camera or a digital camera capable of taking video.
  2. Montage video: All images are digital photos electronically linked. Interesting effects allow the video to show emotion and slight movement.
  3. Hybrid video: This is a combination of dynamic and montage videos.

For examples, or these three techniques, click here.

Picture Video

It conveys a greater sense of space of a particular room or scene that is difficult to capture with a single digital picture. The Picture Video is associated with and "lives" behind an existing picture on your web page. Choose a room that is special because of its size, vaulted ceilings, views, etc., or select one exterior view or scene. Picture videos should not be a 360° view, but rather between a 90° and 180° view. The average length ranges from 10 to 25 seconds.

Picture Videos can also be used to promote off-season bookings. Feature an event such as Brewster in Bloom, Chatham First Night, Nantucket Stroll, a harvest fair or oyster festival. Or create a video of the special features of your town.

For Picture Video examples, click here.

Tips for Taking Property Videos and Picture Videos

Setting the scene

Make sure that the rooms are clean and picked up. Do not have extraneous items lying around.

Before videoing a room, add a splash of color, such as a vase of flowers or bowl of fruit.

Shoot interior rooms with strong lighting-turn lights on even during daylight hours. At the same time, shoot away from bright windows. Position your camera to pan a room away from the bright window or shoot this room in early morning or late afternoon light.

Avoid including people in your video. Remember, the goal is to have the vacationers envision themselves enjoying your home, rather than seeing you or your family in the picture or video. The exception may be people enjoying the beach.

Avoid rooms with window blinds or many stripes in the wallpaper. The stripes will vibrate in the video.

Take outdoor pictures or videos on a sunny day. Dark, cloudy days will not produce an appealing video.

Taking a Property Video

If possible, use a tripod to achieve a steady picture. If you have a steady-cam feature, make sure that it is turned on. Walking through a room while recording will result in a jittery appearance, which is not pleasing to the eye.

Shoot the video first and then edit your video through a program such as Microsoft's Windows XP Movie Maker or Apple's IMovie (both free).

Shoot your video quietly without narration. It is very difficult to edit a video that has audio. Once your video is edited, you can add music or narration, if you choose.

Try to fill the entire clip with meaningful information - empty space, such as hallways and doorways, is wasted (boring) space. Using quick clips will help move the video along and keep it interesting.

Do not try to shoot the entire video with one take. It's too difficult and the result will be unsatisfactory.

We recommend starting with less than 15 minutes of total footage to edit down to between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. The longer your initial video, the more time you will spend editing it.

If possible show some movement, i.e., waves crashing on the beach or trees or beach grasses blowing in the wind.

Storyboarding the Property Video

A Property Video should tell the "story" of what vacationers will experience when they vacation at your home. Jot down the key points of that story

Create a storyboard, a plan of what the story will be in terms of what scenes you would like and the order of those scenes.

Taking a Picture Video

Keep in mind that each Picture Video will be attached to a specific photograph on your listing.

Choose a room that is special because of its size, vaulted ceilings, views, etc. Not all rooms lend themselves toward picture videos.

We recommend that a Picture Video that inventories a room or scene last from 10 to 25 seconds.

A Picture Video can capture any special selling point of your home or its surroundings. For example, you may choose to video parts of your neighborhood, a snippet of Brewster in Bloom, the short walk to your private beach, etc. Be creative. In these situations, a Picture Video may be longer in duration.

A Picture Video should not be a 360 degree view, as this tends to distort the video. Instead, capture a view that is between 90 degrees and 180 degrees.

Editing Your Videos

Whether you create a dynamic video or a montage made of digital photos, be sure to create a nice transition between clips or pictures by fading in and out. Microsoft Movie Maker or Apple's iMovie enable "effects" that allow you to zoom in and out or brighten or darken the images, etc. Some effects appear to give motion to the digital pictures.

We suggest that you end the video gradually by fading out to black or white, rather than coming to an abrupt stop.

Getting your videos onto your web page

To learn how to upload, email or mail your videos, click here.