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Bare Essentials For Creating Real Estate Video

July 25th, 2010

Back in early July when I did a couple of posts on real estate video Scott Cooper made a comment on a post I did about a year ago on The Bare Essentials for getting Started in Real Estate Photography. Scott is getting started in real estate video and wanted me to do a post on the bare essentials for getting started with real estate video.

Shortly after Scott’s request I was watching this interview with Vincent Laforet. Vincent’s comments about getting started really resonated with me (at 2:20 in this video). He says, “Keep it simple…It’s not about the gear it’s about learning how to sequence stuff together… learning to tell a story… the timing and how the clips live together. The best way to learn this is use your iPhone to get the video and iMovie to edit sequences together.” By the way if you think that Vincent’s comment about practicing on your iPhone is a bit wacky, take a look at this video that was completely shot and EDITED on the iPhone.

Vincent also talks about watching other’s video and dissecting it trying to understand what the shooter and editor has done to create the video. I’ve experienced this. Since I started shooting and editing video I started looking at movies in a totally different way. I love to analyze the clip lengths, transitions and how the clips are put together, how the story is being told and how the effects are being done.

So here’s my list of bare essentials for getting started creating real estate video:

  1. Any one of the recent cameras that shoot video: 720p or 1080p (HD) is nice but I don’t think it is essential. The 640×480 480p format are very acceptable for web usage.
  2. A tripod with a head that is made for video: You want one that pans silky smooth, something like a Slik U9000 video tripod. Regular tripod like you use for your still shots are not made to pan smoothly.
  3. A video editing application like iMovie on the Mac or Windows Movie Maker on Windows: Both are free. There are tons of other video editing applications but either of these will get you started out just fine. These applications combine video clips with various transitions, trim clips, add and adjust an audio track and create title frames and overlays. They also allow you to add stills and control Ken Burns panning to some extent.
  4. A video hosting site: YouTube is free and easy to use but some of your clients may think it has a chintzy “Walmart look and feel” because of the huge diverse subject matter the site is known for. Here’s an earlier post where I list many of the alternatives.
  5. You’ll need plenty of hard drive space: Video generates lots of large files. If you don’t already have on you may want to get an external hard drive to keep your video files on.

With these four items you can embark on starting to practice. It takes a bunch of practice to create video like the examples I featured in the last video post.

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5 Responses to “Bare Essentials For Creating Real Estate Video”

  • I would also highly recommend watching Phillip Blooms work, such as this video:

    Although he makes much use out of slow motion and dreamy music, he shows that you don’t need to wildly pan, glide or roll to make compelling visuals. For shooting a home with relatively static shots to give you the ‘essence’ of the home and neighborhood, I think this works well.

  • Thank you so much for the post! I can see us all running through the properties with our iPhones “pulling us along” at arms length! 😉

  • One other technique that I’m going to try the next time I shoot video for real estate on my 7D is to shoot 720p at 60fps and then slow that down to 24fps in premiere to smooth out the wobbles and normal shaky. Since video for real estate interiors won’t need to worry about objects around that house that are in motion, the viewer shouldn’t even be able to tell that the footage is overcranked.

  • Panasonic just released a “ready for u-tube” hd camcorder – at first I thought – there you go, I’ll pick up one of these to start out, and take care of the clients looking for u-tube videos of the clients homes – then I thought oh, the realtors themselves will pick up something like this and do it themselves. It is 5mp effective and likely production value will be low, but I’m guessing it will be a hit. Here is the link if I’m allowed to do this: http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-Ultra-thin-Pocket-Camcorder-Enabled/dp/B003WOLM62/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1281451170&sr=8-1

  • The experience is suppose to transport the buyers many time zones away or the local guy who watches the video 20 times to see how it is all fit. And that sends the link to his parents, uncle bob who is making the down payment and like what they see, hear about. Video is motion, stills are static glimpses and no matter now much powerpoint zoom in and out, the slide show is not a full motion real video.

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