I want to point out that Herb Dierks of Tourfactory.com gave us some very valuable insights and advice in his comment on the last post; too valuable to pass up!
Herb said, "can your slide show be uploaded to YouTube? How many cell phones are capable of viewing it? From my perspective, photographing real estate is a two part process - capturing great images, then getting those images in front of people that could potentially become a buyer for the home. Like a bird with only one wing, having only one part of the equation covered just won’t fly."
Let me take the liberty of expanding on what Herb is saying:
- The part about real estate photography being a two part business - capturing images and getting them in front of potential buyers is a fundamental insight. It's a central principle of real estate photography. I see too many RE photographers concerned just about the technical aspects of creating the image and not putting the same energy into presentation and getting the images in front of the buyers. Great images are only half of the solution. Great presentation and wide accessibility is the other half of the equation (or the "other wing" in Herb's analogy).
- Herb is right about not being able to upload my Slideshow Pro tour to YouTube or view it on a cell phone. It's given me heart burn that I can't view a tour with my iPhone. Wide support for Flash for mobile devices is not going to happen. However, YouTube videos are currently supported on most mobile devices so having your tour on YouTube can expand it's accessibility enormously. Having a tour on YouTube not only allows it to be seen on mobile devices it greatly expands the opportunities for syndication on video sites.
OK, so my Slideshow Pro tour only has "one wing". How can I give it another wing? The answer is really pretty easy. I spent about 30 minutes last night creating a YouTube video from my Slideshow Pro tour. After the first time I'm sure I could do it in about 15 min. Here's how to do it:
- You need a screen capture application that will create a video from what ever you do on your screen. I use Snapz Pro for the Mac. There are tons of ones for the PC too, just Google "video screen capture". I just got the Flash tour ready to play, started up Snapz, selected the area on the screen I wanted to capture, started the SSP tour and at the end saved the video file.
- Because the standard video aspect ratio is 640x480 and 1280x720 (HD) I decided to eliminate the banner on the top of the Flash tour and instead I added the same information at the beginning and end of the video. I used iMovie 09 to do this but you could also use something like Adobe Premiere Elements to do this on the PC. After getting the video to YouTube I realized you can at the text on YouTube. That will save purchasing a video editing application if you don't have one.
- After adding the text I just uploaded the video to YouTube.
- What about audio? There's several ways to add either background music or a narrative track to the video. You could add an audio track to the SSP flash tour by putting a link to the audio track in Lightroom, or you could add the audio track in a video editor or you can even add a audio track when it's in YouTube.
I can anticipate the objections that someone is going to make. "The YouTube version is crappy quality! You've taken a large relatively high quality Flash tour and reduced the size and quality... yuck!" Well sure, the YouTube version is only 640 x 480 (you can create HD quality 1280x720 video on YouTube) but look at it on the iPhone; it doesn't look that bad! And I'm not suggesting that the YouTube version is the only version you make available to clients. I suggest that you offer both. By having a YouTube video version of a tour you increase the accessibility and exposure enormously.
Since it is so easy to create a video version of any tour I suggest you provide a video file with your tours just to provide the extra oppurtunities to your clients. Thanks Herb for your insights! And now my answers to Herb's questions are: Yes, it can be uploaded to YouTube and it can be seen by at least 21 million iPhones.