What Do You Need to Get Started Shooting Some Property Video?

June 29th, 2015

SonyA6000Brent who is a Realtor in New Zealand asks:

I list a lot of homes in an affordable price range and they typically sell within 4 weeks. I use a professional photography for stills on nearly all my listings. I am an avid photographer, have the gear (although dated) and can take my own photos however I do see the value in using a professional.

Now I would like to start doing some video. My photographer can do it but he takes forever and charges more than my clients want to pay. He does an amazing job but for most homes it’s an overkill.

So I would like to start shooting some simple videos. i have tried my Galaxy S5 but I want something a better than this.

So what equipment do I need? A full frame dslr is over Even a nice APS-C (7D mark ii) is probably more than I want to spend NZ$3000). Something smaller is also more appealing.

So what about a mirrorless with interchangeable lenses? I have looked at reviews but just get confused because their are so many options and none of the reviews seem to focus on video. So a nice mirrorless with a nice wideangle lens for videos would be what?

First of all I think it’s important to understand that shooting property video is far more difficult than it looks. It’s not even similar to shooting stills! Fred Light a very long time videographer in Boston made a classic comment on one of the previous posts I did property video. Fred said:

If you’re just starting in video, I would highly recommend going the inexpensive (or free) route for cameras, tripods and editing software (like a Canon 60D, T4i, T5i or similar), a decent yet solid tripod with a decent fluid head, plus iMovie, Windows Movie Maker or Premiere Essentials. See if you LIKE shooting and editing video before you go down the rat hole of gear acquisition, because it can be super expensive! Microphones, powerful computers, mixers, hard drive storage, etc. It’s mind numbing. I currently have 30 TB of storage – almost all full! And it’s almost all due to video. You can’t store it in the cloud.

First see if you ENJOY the process. It’s NOT the same (or even similar) to still photography, in many ways it is far more difficult, and it is absolutely more time consuming and expensive. Personally I love it, but I know many still photographers who despise it. It’s really not just still photos that are now ‘moving’… it’s an entirely new skill set, new equipment and new software to learn.

So, in keeping with Fred’s advice do what ever possible to try shooting video out with whatever you have to see if it makes sense for you to spend. I can tell you that you will need to spend more than $3000 NZD ($2067 USD) on gear to make quality property video. Here is a post that lists the kind of gear, in addition to a camera and lens to shoot video.

If you don’t have anything that shoots video besides you Galaxy S5 and want to get a low end mirrorless that shoots video these two would do the job. Although if you really get into video you’ll probably want something better:

  1. Sony A6000 body only $548 USD
  2. Sony 10-18 mm f/4 $621 USD
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6 Responses to “What Do You Need to Get Started Shooting Some Property Video?”

  • Brent, stick to real estate and leave the video for professionals. In the many hours it will take you on site and then edit the video to ‘save’ your client a few hundred dollars, another agent will pick up a listing that could have been yours and you end up losing thousands in commission. You’re much better off spending your time where it matters – to get new listings.

  • Are there any sources of information on techniques that pertain to real estate video?

    For example, there are hundreds of posts, and several courses on dealing with the dynamic range issues from windows. None of them seem applicable to video.

  • Fred – I’m pretty sure that the new Google Photos will allow you to store an infinite amount of video in their cloud for “free”. Of course for the free service, there are some caveats you have to be subject to. However, for me, I don’t mind storing my real estate work there. Also, it seems uploading is somewhat on the slow side. Good for a backup.

  • I’m in a similar position, however I already have all the gear I need. What would be incredibly helpful is a tutorial or video series showing how to actually get better at filming.

    I’ve got the full slate of Adobe CC, so I’m already well-versed in Premiere and After Effects. I’ve got a camera slider and above-average fluid head. I’ve played around and created some simple videos that agents have been happy with — but I really want to get into the next level so I can charge more and really become a one-stop shop. My drone videos are decent enough, but you can only fly around the outside of a house for so long before people want to get inside!

    Any tips or resources for diving fully into video?

  • @Jake
    Your best resources are to study filmmaking techniques. Storytelling is the most challenging piece of the puzzle. I have a shelf full of filmmaking books, some are technical discussing exposure, camera movement, framing, sound, color correction etc. The rest are about storytelling for filmmakers and how it comes together in the edit. i.e. when to cut, what type of cuts to use……….. It’s filmmaking and it’s a craft, for a property or otherwise. I think of a Property video as part promo video / part documentary. There’s loads of books on amazon to dig into. Also, a great web resource is Stillmotion.com Solid information on technique and equipment.

  • @Travis – Thanks for the info. I’ll definitely check out Stillmotion and Amazon… I was unsure if there’s a course similar to Scott Hargis’ “Lighting Interiors”. I’ll start with books for now.

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