In this blog post, we speak to Pete Guttridge, an Elevation strategic partner and seasoned photographer, specialising in video for high-end properties and luxury resorts.

First, Pete, tell us a little about the work you do.

My job is an intense yet immensely rewarding job, we get to work in some of the most beautiful properties in the most amazing locations around the world. Often though it’s in very difficult situations regarding accessibility, we need quite a lot of equipment to create these cinematic style films. Also, it’s nearly always very long days filming from dawn until dusk capturing not only the property but lots of support material including beautiful sunrises and sunsets. People often think you have been on holiday when working in these amazing locations but I can honestly say it can be some of the most challenging work we work on!

Peter Gutteridge

How long have you worked within video marketing?

We have worked in video marketing for around nine years now, and as a successful commercial photography studio for the past twenty years, as we saw the opportunity modern HD video allowed and moved into video in 2008.

Around four years ago we formed Villa Films, a bespoke brand set up predominantly to service the luxury realty and property rental markets. Our business remit is to produce high quality, engaging and emotive films to work hand in hand with the full marketing message for the chosen luxury property or complex. Over this time, we have worked across the UK, Italy and also worked in France, Morocco, Greece and the Caribbean.

Who do you typically provide your services to?

Our typical clients are marketing agents for properties or complexes, large agencies representing multiple properties over regions or countries and individual owners. The films we create are slightly different for the realty and rental markets with the former very focused on the building and grounds showing features and benefits of the property and slightly less about the surrounding area, most buyers already know about the area they want to buy. The latter also including more support footage of the surrounding area, a more emotive style video, giving a flavour of the full destination, not just the property.

How long does a typical shoot take?

A typical shoot creating a 2-4-minute video takes approximately 6-12-hours to shoot, depending on the size and how much support footage is required. This enables good footage of the whole property as well as either beautiful dawn or dusk footage or both if possible.

What has been your favourite place to film?

This is always a difficult question to answer. The Caribbean is up there as an amazing destination with its aqua blue seas and long sunny days, Morocco with its bustling souks and unique sounds but I think Italy would be where I would return again and again. Honestly, I think experiencing all the different cultures and architecture were ever we film is what makes this job so amazingly rewarding.

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Travelling the world and filming in luxury locations sounds like a dream job, but is it really that simple?

It does sound a dream job, but it is also immensely challenging. The hours are always long, the heat is often unbearable (mad dogs and Englishmen!) The travel is difficult; lots of very heavy baggage, customs questioning, searches and lost essential equipment to name a few challenges. The most challenging though can be the weather, the last time we shot in the Caribbean it rained for 3 days, they only had 7 days of rain all year! All of this is hidden from the task of creating effortless beautiful films, but I’m sure I will have little sympathy!

What would you say are the main benefits of using video within property marketing?

There are several benefits to using video within property marketing. First is the immediate emotion qualities of film, hearing and seeing footage quickly builds interest and engagement. To the viewer it seems more believable than still images and text, and gives a better feel of a property, you can also get a lot of information across very quickly.

Then the style of the film is important, consumers are used to seeing very high-quality video from the latest blockbusters to documentaries, just walking through a property waving a camcorder or iPhone does not cut it anymore. We use the latest equipment and technologies to create stunning cinematic style footage including professional aerial UAV’s (drones) when appropriate and possible. This gives a unique perspective of the property and its grounds.

Lastly, it is well documented that the SEO properties of video content are unquestionable. More and more video is being shared every day! We are not saying get rid of still photography and traditional marketing methods as I think hand in hand they complement each other.

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What is the typical feedback you receive from your clients?

Without exception, our clients have been thrilled with their films. They have seen direct results from using them in their marketing and are building the amount of film they are using.

Creating beautiful films is an additional investment in marketing and is not for every property it has to be weighed against the potential return from the property transaction. From a luxury point of view, it’s an extremely good return on investment. One week’s rental sale spread over the life of the video (about two years) will easily cover all costs, as for the sale of a property it’s a drop in the ocean!

Is video the future of property marketing?

I’m not sure about the future but it is certainly very much the present, if you are not currently engaging with your market through video you are behind the curve, your competitors are engaging and enhancing their sales!