Aerial Video as a Real Estate Marketing Tool

Aerial video

Keith Johnson

As a real estate agent with multiple listings, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of video as a real estate marketing tool. Video puts the viewer in the home and its surroundings, and provides a realistic perspective of the property. But what’s really cool is aerial video, and I’ve had the good luck to hook up with Keith Johnson, who I’ve hired to shoot aerial videos using a GoPro Hero 3 mounted on a drone and controlled by a hand-held transmitter.

Yes, you read that correctly. Keith is flying a drone, and it’s approved by the Federal Aviation Administration because it’s tethered with a 500-foot leash.

I met Keith in 2010 when he and his family moved to Vermont from Washington DC and I sold them a house in Underhill. Keith had recently retired after 23 years as a special agent helicopter pilot for the federal government. He doesn’t fly the big birds anymore. Instead, he gets his flying fix with his drone, an Extreme 2.0 vertical take-off QuadCopter made by Viking UAS (unmanned aerial systems).

Aerial videos of real estate

Extreme 2.0 MultiRodor Drone

Keith says UAS are not very common, especially in Vermont. The Extreme 2.0’s technology is based on cell phone (not military) technology and has four engines and four propellers, as you can see in the photo. According to FAA rules, it can be flown up to 150 in altitude, but it can’t go near people who are not willingly involved.

“Flying it is tricky,” Keith says. “The aircraft maintains its own attitude (relationship to the ground), but the pilot must be able to determine which direction it’s facing and what its perspective is. The bird actually flies itself better than I can, and if it looses communication with the transmitter it will land itself.”

When Keith shoots a property for me, he visits the site to see what its feature are and makes a plan of how he will shoot the video. “Everyone wants to watch, but I always try to mitigate any problems I might have down the road, such as accidently getting someone who is looking out a window on film.” Then he reviews on site what he shot to see if he missed anything important. Once at home he edits the footage in Adobe Premiere Pro, and adds royalty-free music to boot.

Keith says that although no license is needed to fly a drone, you must understand and adhere to FAA rules and limitations, and to operate a drone commercially you must have it tethered. He also notes that it’s pretty hard to sneak up on someone with a drone. They are too noisy!

Here are examples of aerial videos Keith shot of two of my listings:

Now you can see why I think aerial video is the best thing since… well, since digital photography!

Give me a call at 802-858-9193 if you want to see either of these properties with your feet on the ground, or any of the properties I have listed for sale. You can also email me at to set up a showing.

Check back for my next blog, which will discuss the importance of high-quality high-resolution still photography as a real estate marketing tool.

Lea Van Winkle, Owner/Broker

Pleasant Valley Real Estate

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