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How Do You Properly Use a Slider to Make a Great Video for Real Estate?

Published: 15/08/2017

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Paula and Don in Southern Ontario ask:

How do you properly use a slider to make a great video for Real Estate?

This is a pretty good video on the mechanics of how to use a slider. As far as how to use a slider in a real estate shoot, I think it is instructive to look at how experienced real estate videographers use a slider to put together whole videos. Here are two examples of two real estate videographers that use sliders extensively in their videos:

It's important to understand that there are a lot of strong opinions about the various methods of shooting real estate. There are two basic styles:

  1. Cinematic video uses only sliders, cranes and jibs to control movement. The two examples above are both cinematic video.
  2. Walk through video use stabilizers to move the camera through a property to show the property as you would see it if you were walking through it. Fred Lights's work is an example of the walk through style.

In the last few years as the price of stabilizers has reduced it is my perception that walk through real estate video has become more popular. It's also faster to shoot.

Larry Lohrman

9 comments on “How Do You Properly Use a Slider to Make a Great Video for Real Estate?”

  1. Short answer, smoothly and carefully... And practice.

    There are no hard and fast rules to real estate videos. Walkthrough videos can be very effective but generally speaking not as effective capturing the "essence" or communicating a "lifestyle." But videos that are all camera movement, for the sake of the technique, are overdone and boring.

    It really depends on the property, how much time do you have to shoot and what are you trying to convey. For a lot of dolly or slider shots, if you don't have anything in the foreground then shooting 4K and panning and scanning in HD can provide good results quickly. Of course, the best slider shots are the ones that have a foreground element that provides a much more three-dimensional look.

    It doesn't really matter whether it's a dolly, jib or drone, it all works best when the camera movement adds something to the shot or reveals something you want the audience to see. It's not easy to do.

    Here's my latest attempt. I tried to go for that "just waking up" feeling as the ranch comes to life sort of thing.

  2. Wise words from Charles.

    I would also recommend using a larger dolly. I have a 4m Wally Dolly ( that comes in a regular tripod-size bag and takes only 5 mins to assemble. The extra length compared to a slider means you can cover large rooms / areas really nicely with complementary sweeps of the camera. See below from 01.30 for an example I shot in a large bedroom suite.

    The main downside of the Wally Dolly is that it needs a totally flat floor to run smoothly, so it's no good for outdoors.

  3. Speaking as a still photographer who is adding video to my still offering and taking my small market into consideration and the limited budgets, I have decided to offer a two tier video offering. The high end uses many slider clips and pans often combining the two shot with my Canon 80D. But this calls for a heavy, cumbersome tripod and takes quite a bit of time at least as much as my still shoots, often more, and even more in post processing and often requires a separate visit to the property. So the high end video is correspondingly more expensive.

    Then I have been working to offer a lower end "economy" video using my GoPro5 Black with an EVO GP-Pro stabilizer and no slider or tripod but instead using many of the same visual techniques but hand held. I used to do walk thoughts but have moved away from this approach but still use some of the moves. This allows me to shoot video as I shoot each room with stills unless I have to turn off lights for my still coverage. The rig is small enough to just hang it in a belt holster or small shoulder photo bag. The videos are shorter and do not try to capture the whole house and property, just to give a more being there feel of the house and property and make a video affordable to more agents and dip down into the lesser priced (commission) properties.

    And with TourBuzz's fairly new "Crisp" template that has a separate menu button for video, both work well on the property sites.

    This is still a new skill set for me and I am very much in the learning curve but they are being well received. But with each, you have to factor in the time to output a branded and non branded if your clients want to put the link (YouTube/Vimeo) on their MLS listing. And if you upload to Tourbuzz or the equivalent, I have to output a version with no branding or music since the site itself has both already. This takes extra time as does uploading the video to YouTube/Vimeo as well as separately to the property site. All this time has to be factored into the pricing structure.

  4. We've rented sliders in the past to produce property videos and we own a slider in the event we need it. I definitely recommend a slider to produce smooth flowing videos. Alternate left to right and when editing try to do seamless transitions. If shooting a walk-thru without a slider pan the rooms slowly and avoid quick movements. With practice anyone can shoot a decent propvid.

    Two videos we produced six yrs ago are still featured in our YouTube channel.
    Both were shot using a slider:

  5. We have the same dolly that Hamish recommends, I was going to say how difficult it can be for a one person crew to manage but his use of that dolly in his property video inspired me to dig it out and stop being lazy.

    Hamish, did you light that property or use available lighting? Either way, it looks great. sorry for being a bit off topic but what camera did you use?

    I had forgotten the unique look you can get with that dolly. To Peter's point, the right dolly's and sliders can enable you to develop a look that you can charge more for and differentiates your products so you win more business. That advice sounds good in an MBA class but it can be very difficult to do in a real business.

    Maybe the question shouldn't be "how" to properly use a slider, after all, it's not exactly rocket science, but "why" would you use one. And the answer has to be so you can win more business, charge more or both.

  6. The biggest benefit to doing a walk thru vs. a slider:

    1) Less hassle carrying bulky and awkward tripods/ sliders through someone’s home.
    2) Much less shooting time. I’m in and out in 30 minutes most times.
    3) The one thing that buyers want to see is the flow and layout of the home - the one thing that still photographs (and slider shots)) do NOT show. I believe this is the reason that Matterport has become popular. For those who only offer still photos, Matterport gives the buyer an idea of the flow and layout of the house. Of course, given a choice between Matterport and a video walkthrough, I believe that most buyers would easily choose video. Less hassle, less frustration, one click vs. 12,500! I rarely lose business to Matterport. I’m less expensive, I take far less time to shoot, and offer a far more pleasurable experience for the end user.
    4) It’s scaleable. Yesterday I did a 1 bedroom, unfurnished condo. Today I did a $5M waterfront estate. It works in all situations, all price points, all sizes of homes. It basically means more business.
    5) Less time, lower cost, higher volume. I spend very little time shooting, and maybe an hour editing as I shoot to edit.
    6) An entire video of slider shots is boring, which is what I most often see. Why not just take high quality stills and run the Ken Burns effect over them? It’s really the same thing. And at the end of the day, a video full of slider shots shows no more information than still photos do…. so for me the value (for the agent/ customer) is not there to spend even MORE money for something that offers little more than what they already have with their still photos.

  7. I recently purchased the Sliderone slider with Motion control from Edelkrone and I'm seriously impressed. Very nice bit of gear for smooth, controlled slides 🙂

  8. Hi Charles,

    That film was just shot with available light - as with pretty much all my property work. I'll occasionally use a light or two in really dark rooms, usually to accent a particular feature. Re the camera, that one was shot (3 years ago) with a Canon C300, although more recently I use a Sony Fs7. Both excellent cameras, I particularly like the flat Slog3 image profile of the Fs7 which allows a huge dynamic range.


  9. My 36 inch slider is probably my most used tool. I just can't seem to get smooth enough by walking with the gimbal. I can walk like a duck but, it's still bouncy. I discovered that the slider doesn't have to be level (the camera does), but with a tripod head under the slider, and one under the camera, one can tilt the slider to get a crane effect.
    The gimbal, (Zhiyun Crane with a mirrorless camera) can also be used mounted on a tripod, instead of using a slider. Shorten one tripod leg, making it effectively a 2 legged dual pod. While shooting, tilt the tripod up, down, or side-to-side and get a simulated crane, dolly, or slider effect.

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