Shoot real estate video like a pro

June 14, 2015

(DIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY) At the beginning of 2015, more than 50% of Americans had a TV connected to the internet and that statistic is rising. Globally, consumer internet video traffic will be 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019, up from 64 percent in 2014! 84% of potential clients will choose a Realtor with a video over a Realtor without one (source Cisco). We know that video is the best way today to make an impact with your audience, so let's get started.

 

Choosing the right tools

With the right tools you can make a good video to promote your property and with time, practice and an eye for visual and architectural drama, you can make great video's.

 

Starting with a camera, there are numerous options to choose from, everything from the mobile device in your hand to full movie making rigs. I would not recommend any mobile phone or tablet as they don't allow for any lens options or lens filters, which is necessary if you are shooting on a bright day.

 

These days the technology in low cost DSLR's is amazing and they can be had for approximately $300-$400 dollars. Yes, they can take good videos and allow for different lenses and other accessories.

The Canon REBEL T5i is a nice little camera for less than $400 CDN with some features from it's bigger and more expensive siblings. It comes with an 18-55mm lens, it has an 18 megapixel sensor, 9-point autofocus, ISO up to 6400 and full HD movie capabilities. AMAZON Reviews of this camera here.

 

I shoot with a Canon 70D, which is a pro-sumer DSLR which retails for approximately $1600 CDN. My camera came with the 18-135mm lens, it has a 20 megapixel sensor, 19-point autofocus, ISO up to 25600 and of course it can shoot HD movies. AMAZON Reviews of this camera here.

 

There are other options out there, but I am familiar with Canon having used them for over 30 years and it is the equipment htat is use for my Vancouver design agency, PalbergWERX Creative Direction.

 

Another vital tool will be a Variable Lens filter, this will allow you to dial down the amount of light entering your camera on sunny outdoor conditions and prevent washed out, or worse, completely white areas in your shot. The Canon REBEL T5 18-55mm lens uses a 58mm filter and the Canon 70D 18-135mm lens uses a 67mm filter.

 

If you choose to add another lens to your kit and you shoot a lot of small to medium sized interiors, then I highly recommend a wide angle lens (NOT a fish-eye lens, as the distortion will make your property very unappealing).

 

I use a Canon 10-22mm lens (Horizontal coverage of 97 degrees on my camera) and it is great to give me wider coverage in tight spots, but like all quality equipment it comes with an approximate $900 price tag.

A less costly wide angle is the Sigma 10-20mm.

 

To get professional shots you need to use a tripod. This makes for smooth as butter pans and tilts and lets your audience really experience the beauty of your property without focusing on jerky motion.

 

Your tripod choice will be based on the total weight of your camera and any accessories you may be using, such as a larger battery grip, sliders or even mini camera cranes for dramatic sweeping motion. You should also choose a tripod with a fluid head. The ball heads used by photographers are not usable for good quality movie making, when trying to tilt your shot, the head will move in all directions and the result will look terrible.

 

I am still using my 25 year old fluid head tripod as well a larger David & Sanford tripod when I plan to use a slider or crane in my shots.

 

Speaking of sliders and cranes, these can really add drama and wonderful reveals as you move your camera through the property.

 

The Neewer 32" slider and dolly is perfect for low cost movie making! It does take some practice to move the slider smoothly, but can really add a nice touch to your property videos.

 

If you are really ambitious, you can add a mini-crane or jib as they are known. This can really add impact to outdoor shots or stairways. Here is an inexpensive unknown brand. 

 

Last, but certainly not least is lighting. In ideal conditions, it's best to use the natural lighting on your property. However, it is not always possible to get a good shot when the corners are too dark or other areas don't have enough light. I use LED lights because they are lightweight, cool to the touch and so very convenient if used with a battery.

 

I'm really pleased with my Yongnuo YN-300 II LED lights, they have an adjustable color temperature, color filters as well as a remote control, which can come in handy when conserving battery power. The battery for this light is the Sony NP-F970. Sure, there are smaller, less expensive alternatives, but the first time you run out of power after 30 minutes you are going to wish you bought the biggest battery possible.  I've tested the life of this battery, and with the LED light at full brightness it will last approximately 2.5 hours (charging is another matter and takes 8x longer to charge than drain)

 

 

TIP: When shooting a property, I have never used less than two lights. I find that it helps to feather the light in the space which gives the illusion that the light is natural. Also, try to place the lights facing away from other existing light sources to keep that illusion.

 

A couple of inexpensive lighting stands will also be necessary to be able to direct the light where you need it most. Do not mount the light to your camera or every shot will look as if you are holding a flashlight in the space and soon your audience will think they are in a horror film.

 

 

Plan your Real Estate Shot

Good planning will go a long way to producing a good video. Be sure to review the feature sheet and this will help you decide what type of shots you will take. When you first view the property, it is a good time to take notes of unusual attributes, upgrades or historic features that make the property unique. Consider if you will be making any special or dramatic shots to highlight a feature of the property - such as a crane swing around from behind a garden or a slider move revealing a sun drenched pool.

 

Depending on the size of the property, you can schedule anywhere from an hour to more than 3 hours to be sure you have ample time to complete shooting important highlights.

 

It should go without saying, that the property should be clean and tidy. It would be ideal to have the home professionally dressed as this can make the difference between a home that has the owner's personal stamp on it and a home that the audience can envision themselves living in.

 

Equipment preparation

Be sure that your batteries for both your camera and lights are fully charged. Clean your lens with an appropriate lens cloth. Format your video card so that you have enough space to take all the necessary shots. It would also be ideal to have spares of everything should you damage or lose a battery or card.

If you have reviewed your property prior to the shoot, then just pack what you need.

 

Shooting the property

TIP: Before every shot, be sure to use a white balance card. This will ensure accurate color correction when editing.

 

Shoot the exterior when the sun is facing it. Be sure the windows are clean and any exterior items that don't add to the property are hidden from view. Be sure the lawn is cut and bushes pruned. If there is a breeze, this is great to show life in the garden.

 

TIP: Consider adding a potted plant to a table or window sill to any shot to help add color and make it pop more.

 

Shoot rooms from a corner so that you can show most of the space as well as create a more interesting look. Vary your shots by raising or lowering the camera to capture the unique qualities of the space. Remember to use the widest angle lens to show more.

 

Shoot cutaways of views, furnishings, detailing and decor. This will add variety when edited into the room shots. If you shoot a near object in focus and then pan/slide to the main focus of the shot, this can add great appeal. However, do not use many of these types of shots in your final edit, or it will lose it's impact.

 

In the kitchen be sure it is very clean and all surfaces and appliances are shiny. Here is another great place to add some fresh fruit or well placed colored bottles.

 

In the living room make sure the surfaces are dusted, the windows crystal clear and no animal hair on the couch. These are the details that will make your video look fabulous and increase your prospective clients interest

 

TIP: Be sure not to capture yourself or your lights in any reflective surface - this will ruin the shot and take the viewer out of the emotion of the shot. Remember, emotion sells.

 

Editing the video

Here there are numerous options for editing your video. I am most familiar with the professional editing software Adobe Premiere. Generally speaking, it is best practice to begin with an establishing shot, usually from the exterior of the home or even from the neighborhood the home is located in. The next shots will be dependent on the property itself, but be sure to cover all the main areas your audience will be interested in and add the details shots for variety. Leaving the video, should be another grand shot similar to the establishing shot, in which the viewer again gets an overall sense of the property and it's unique emotive qualities. This might be comprised of a backyard pool, deck or Jacuzzi shot or a beautiful, quiet spot in the garden of the home.

 

Videos should last anywhere from 1 -3 minutes, depending on how much variety you have captured in your shots and the size of the property.

 

Really great videos are color corrected, or color graded to provide continuity and beauty to all the shots. This is a big topic that I've covered here in another post titled 'Real estate video color correction made easy'

 

Now that you've completed your video, be sure to host it on YouTube. Google gives higher SEO ranking to websites that host YouTube videos. You can read more about this on my other post 'SEO Optimization for Video in 5 Easy Steps' and increase your video views as well as your website ranking.

 

 

                    __________________________________________________

 

If you would like a video for your product or service,

call PalbergWERX Creative Direction

at 604-356-1144 or email me at PBWX@outlook.com

 

I can help you craft a video that will represent your company's brand and values

as well as resonate and engage your customers - and that is the recipe for increased sales.

 

 

 

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