Making Youtube Videos By Mixing Stills, Video and Music

June 14th, 2010

Making YouTube videos is something you want to have in your real estate photographer bag of tricks. Putting a slide show on YouTube for your client is getting more popular. For example Herb from says that when agents purchase a tour they also get a Youtube video along with the tour because is something that can be viewed on any device. It’s Tour factory’s approach at supporting non-Flash devices.

You can create a YouTube video from just a bunch of still photos. Also, you can mix stills and video. This is an example video I did of my neighbors solar panel installation to get some attention on our neighborhood web site. This is not done to sell a home but the concepts are the same. In this video I mixed text frames, still photos shot with my 5D MKII, time-lapse video shot with my Canon G9 and HD video clips shot with my 5D MKII and then put in a audio track. There is no reason you have to have any video included to do this but you can if you want.

Since the my HOA has been wining about how “terrible” solar panels look, my objective with this video was to show the home before the solar panels were installed, show a short sequence of installing the panels and then show the home at the end of the installation. You can hardly tell the difference visually. I wanted to document this with a short, light video.

So how do you create a YouTube video? There are now a bunch of ways to do this:

  1. iMovie on the Mac: This is what I used for the example above. iMovie comes with the Mac and is easy to use. You just drag the stills and video into iMovie and then set the transitions and length of time you want each still image on the screen. Then when you are finished iMovie uploads the video straight to YouTube.
  2. Aperture on the Mac: Aperture works much like iMovie. You can mix stills and video and audio, then export as a movie and them upload to YouTube.
  3. Lightroom on Mac or PC: With Lightroom, you can export a still image slide show and then upload the uploaded file to YouTube. Lightroom also allows you to add a audio track and has some pretty cool features to set the slide transitions so the slideshow matches the audio track exactly.
  4. Windows Movie Maker: This is a free download for Windows XP and Windows 7. I’ve not used this extensively but WMM seems to do most of what iMovie does.
  5. Picasa for Mac or PC: Picasa has some editing features but is pretty weak in the editing department.
  6. Fotomagico on the Mac: This has some pretty amazing features!
  7. Proshow Gold on PC: This is also a very popular and very powerful way to create videos.

The point of doing a video version of a still photo slide show is mostly to have a few minutes of video that you can upload to YouTube. Although it’s not all that high a quality (you can upload HD video to YouTube) compared to Flash slide shows, but it can be seen on any device and it’s away to get more attention. Some agents want to have a YouTube video of their listing. It’s pretty quick and easy and if done well will really impress you clients.

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15 Responses to “Making Youtube Videos By Mixing Stills, Video and Music”

  • I’ve been doing video for some of my clients, it looks like I sold a B & B to someone just from the watching the video without actually seeing the property. They simply put in a clause subject to them flying down and viewing the property before the closing. I find video and stills a great way of showcasing a home and leading people through the property much like I do when I’m showing a house. I’ve also picked up a few listings from people watching the videos. Here is a link to my youtube channel:

  • I use Photoshop Elements (and, occasionally, Premiere Elements) to create my YouTube videos – here’s a sample:

    I also created a tutorial on my Active Rain blog that explains how to do this using Photoshop Elements:

  • I have used Microsoft’s Photo Story. Free and does a great job. Many Transitions, Music and it allows you to record voice overs. I have also used Pro Show and got really good results with it as well. I like them both.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by realdiggity, Rob Armstrong. Rob Armstrong said: Making Youtube Videos By Mixing Stills, Video and Music: Making YouTube videos is something you want to have in yo… […]

  • Been doing this for some of my real estate listing – here are a couple of samples – I often use photo panos and move across the photo to do the video pans. You actually get a better idea of that from the bottom video on the page with the voice over. Video does seem to take a bit of time but some clients really seem to like them.


  • I have been doing these for my high end jobs with views, pools and homes on the lake. They are easy to do with imovie and the sellers love them. The agents in town that use me always get the listing when they show them to the seller. That means I get the job. My agent customers all have iphones and special links to show the seller at the listing table. The show great on an iphone 3G. Sample done with a Canon 7D and using imovie on a Mac:

  • Thanks for all the great examples… John, Lucas, Glenda and Mike!

    @Glenda- Thanks for pointing out that you can export video from PSE… I’d totally for got that. Note if you crop your images to the aspect ratio of 16×9 then the black bar on either side of the video will go away and the image will fit the YouTube view port. The typical still photos that come out of DSLRs are either 4×3 aspect ration or near 4×3.

    @John- Great use of mixed still and video. Water is always a great reason to add video and the nice floor to ceiling pan like you did on this home is another great use.

  • Larry, how are you getting that kind of quality out of IMovie and Youtube? I just started trying to do this and the results are terrible. Can you provide the specifics or point me to where I can find them?


  • @David, First of all I assume you are looking at the “720p HD” version on YouTube and not the 320p version. The 320p is of coarse a lot fuzzier that the 720p HD version.

    The stills are all shot with 5DMkII Raw imported into LR, not much done in LR except increase clarity. Then exported to JPG at 1600×1200 and dragged into iMovie.

    The time-lapse sequence was shot on Canon G9 and is only 640×480 so the quality on this is much less.

    The non-time-lapse is shot with a 5DMKII with 70×200 f2.8 in HD. All the HD video was shot at f/2.8 got the focus by shooting a still with AF before each video sequence.

    The only thing I recall selecting in iMovie 09 at the beginning is 16×9 mode. Then the upload to YouTube was made from within iMovie and the HD option selected.

    Hope this helps.

  • Great post. Thank you Larry.

    As a general rule, I recommend avoiding flash if possible. It may be a case of “tail wags dog” but the lack of flash on apple devices will only become more of an issue for these types of applications. YouTube does not render in flash , nor does smug mug.

  • There is nothing better than watching time lapse of people going up and down ladders!

  • I got the answer to the problem I described above. Even after a video is published to Youtube and is live it takes a while to finish processing to maximum quality.

    I am curious about the extent to which realtors are using Youtube to market their listings, and to what degree buyers are tending to use it as a resource.

  • @David- a measure of YouTube real estate usage by agents is to just go to YouTube and do a search on “Homes for sale” you’ll find just under 8,000 youtube videos relating to homes for sale. This may sound like a lot but according to the US department of housing in April 2010 there were around 700,000 homes for sale. So slightly over 1% of the agents are using YouTube videos to promote their listings. As for how many home buyers are using them… this is much more difficult. The access counters on the youtube videos are a measure of that but those depend as much as how the agent promotes the video as much as anything else.

  • The sooner you get started, the better your videos. God post Larry! Beware, the biggest critics don’t use the power of video for real estate, the local community and your brand. Audio is 40% of the video. Adding lots of details, natural sounds to transport the viewer, listener to the place you shoot and capture.

  • The You-tube video have been making its way to be one of the most sorted ones in the world for the video and better the video is appealing to the people more will be the number of people having a look at it.

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