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One Mercantile



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It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s Real Estate’s Best Friend.

By Lisa Green

Residents of Richmond may have spotted an unidentified flying object hovering just a hundred feet or so above the Berkshire Equestrian Center and The Inn at Richmond earlier this week. It wasn’t a UFO from some distant planet, but it was a newcomer to the Berkshires: a UAV, also known as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, with a video camera hitching a ride to take high-definition video of the 27-acre property, for sale at $5.9 million.

You can call it a drone, too, but a UAV has much less nefarious connotations.

Real estate agents in the Hamptons and Fairfield County have been early adopters of the technology, but Cindy Welch of Tucker Welch Properties is the first in the Rural Intelligence region to recognize and embrace the value of views captured by these radio-controlled mini copters. While actual helicopters and airplanes have long been used to get still photos of homes of the rich and famous (not to mention invade celebrity weddings), the use of these lightweight flyers beats all. And the images they capture, especially when edited and paired with music, bring a fluid bird’s-eye view to real estate photography that’s nothing short of IMAX worthy.

Operated via hand console by Terry Holland of Pittsfield, an entrepreneur (and coach for New Zealand’s Olympic skeleton team in Sochi, but more on that another time) with experience in developing new technologies, the two-and-a-half pound, four-propeller quadrocoptor whirred and wavered inside the buildings as low as chest level and as high as the rafters in the riding stable. [See video below.] Outside, Holland wielded the small joysticks on the console as the UAV soared over the vast acreage.

“What the drone video offers is the ambience that still photos can’t give,” Cindy Welch says [photo below, with property owner Karl Dunham and Holland]. “This property has so many different buildings, it’s hard to show it all, but the drone photography allows us to capture the feeling of a place and the scale of the premises from all sorts of angles. The more ways we have to show high-end properties, the better.”

Carl Dunham, the seller of the Equestrian Center and the Inn (being offered separately or together), agrees.

“It’s key to have someone visually see it. With a property at this level, you have to fall in love with it. Once prospective buyers see the video, they’re going to want to come see the place in person,” he says.

It takes a few days of post-production work to download and edit both still and video images. Then, the swooping, two-minute video goes up on the Tucker Welch website, where it will bring new razzmatazz to luxury real estate in the region.

“It’s less of a nuts-and-bolts view of a property,” says Holland, the earthbound pilot/photographer, “and more like a movie trailer.”

And who wouldn’t want their own moving picture of the place they’re trying to sell?

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/14/14 at 02:51 PM • Permalink