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Old May 8th, 2005, 05:41 PM   #1
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What camera to shoot the inside of houses?

Right now I have a GL2, and am pretty happy with it. I do video tours of houses, and am wondering what camera would be best to use. I always tape in the day, but sometimes small windows just don't let in much light. Using manual controls on the GL2 I get decent results, and can usually fix it more in post. But color correction in post production takes too much time for what I charge.

I guess my main question is am I really going to see better results in going with a PD150/PD170 VX2100 line? How about a XL1s? Houses are tricky to shoot sometimes too much light and sometimes not enough. Or how about an older vx2000.

What would you guys recommend for shooting in this scenario?

I appreciate your help.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 09:53 PM   #2
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All of those cameras are basically equally good. Get some ND filters if sun is a problem (or a couple of circular polarizers or something). I'd imagine that any camera that has manual controls (or at least control over exposure / locking, etc) would be fine. Having photograph'd and video'd homes for TV, I'd think much more important is having a wide angle lens so you've got more flexibility in framing (IMO). Having a wider FOV will help those hot spots not be quite as bad.

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Old May 8th, 2005, 10:22 PM   #3
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I agree with Patrick, any of the above would be excellent.Although the XL series would allow a wide angle lense(I agree with Patrick about that as well)
I've not used a wide angle adapter ,so I can't comment on quality but you could try that with the GL2.Normally the overcontrast in homes is excess sunlight coming in compared to your indoor lighting.You could get a roll of ND film for the windows.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 11:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the help. I already use a couple of wide angle lens' I have a .55 and a fisheye. I hardly ever use the fisheye, just have it bacause it came with my camera. The .55 gives a good wide angle shot, and the distortion is hardly noticable.

On an overcast day, when the house is fairly dark inside, and lamps don't give off enough light, and my picture doesn't come out as bright as I want, would I benefit from having a better low light camera then the GL2? Or would it not be noticable.

I wish I could just get my hands on one and test it out, but I know no one around with one.
Thanks for the help.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 12:26 AM   #5
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Todd,

Get a Sony VX2100 with a wide angle adaptor and shoot away. I know I'm going to make someone mad but since I don't own a 2100 I'm not worried.

The 2100 pic looks great in low light with not much video noise and the automatic settings (white balance, focus) work well. I would own one if it had 24P capability.

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Old May 9th, 2005, 12:55 AM   #6
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In many rooms, what you want is a bounce light aimed at the ceiling. If you are placing a tripod in the center of the room and performing a 360 degree pan, you will want the lamp mounted on the camera.

What would be nice is a color temp corrected 1K lamp pointed straight up. 500 watts would help in the smaller, darker rooms like a bedroom. Bathrooms might work out with a smaller lamp as long as you avoid the mirror.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 06:23 AM   #7
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I also shoot a lot of house tours and even with the 150 one thing you really need to do is light it up. I use a single 575w light with a 24" sq soft box and it works like a charm. I keep the lighting to one side or another high in the air as I can & aim for a far corner to lessen shadows. Sometimes I will bounce it of the ceiling and althought its a bit of a pain to move from area to area the look is so much better. You can not get a quality look in a house without lighting and I don't mean an on camera light. Also I do not use any of the outo features on the camera, when the iris opens and closes (especially by a window) its very distracting and says amature to the viewer.
To make you're houses video look better my number one peice of advice---LIGHT IT UP!

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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:22 AM   #8
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Be carefull bouncing light off of ceilings

I have not done it myself but I have witnessed a veteran photog burn a ceiling by bouncing a light off of it. Keep it several feet away from any object, like fans and house lights. I know it seems obvious but I can;t believe how many people have burned things because they did not use common sense. I highly rec an umbrella instead of the ceiling, use materials that are designed for intense heat. The guy I witnessed burn a ceiling was so full of himself he disregarded my warning and told me I did not know what I was talking about. So I just stood by and let him do it, stepping in to turn the light off in the middle of the interview to minimize the damage but it was a nice brown circle with a black spot in the middle. Please folks, when people are careless and do stupid things it is reckless for all of us. It pays to invest in the right gear.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:27 AM   #9
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I used to shoot with a light (it was a $15.00 spotlight from Lowes, but light is light right?) But it just slowed me down too much, I shoot from various places in a room, so in some rooms I would move the light 2 or 3 times, and it was a pain to find a plug and move around.

In cases where I do get a dark room with low light, I use the Shadow effect in Premiere Pro, and it takes the shadow right out, with almost always good results. It just takes time to render, which isn't a problem. I'm just trying to find the quickest way to put these tours together because we charge so little. I was just kind of thinking that a 1/3" camera would help out.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 08:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Kivimaki
I'm just trying to find the quickest way to put these tours together because we charge so little. I was just kind of thinking that a 1/3" camera would help out.
Hey Todd, realtors are awfully cheap!! What price point did you find interested them? Do you host the videos also, or do other web mgmt functions like linking and uploading?
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Old May 11th, 2005, 11:37 AM   #11
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Bob, your completely right, realtors are very very cheap. And the thing is some of my realtors do 20 million in sales a year, this guy is the broker of his company so on average he brings in 6% on that 20 million. Yea that's a lot of money, and he still hesitates to do tours on homes.

I started my prices a $75, about the same or less of what is cost to have a virtual tour done. That $75 was for about my first 5-6 customers. Now we're moving into bigger cities and our price point is at $99, for up to 2500 sq ft, but I'll have to admit we're pretty lenient when it comes to charging more for sq ft.

We host the videos on our website; we also make a listing page on our website. (www.wowvideotours.com ) We are an authorized tour provider for realtor.com, to list the tour through them it is $25.00. We have other add-ons and extras, but most don't do.

The thing is the people who do them do all their houses or most. Most houses get between 75-200 hits a month. Not a bad cost to show someone your entire house without cleaning up, leaving, getting the realtor over, etc, etc.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 12:32 PM   #12
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Bleh, not much money for travelling, shooting, editing, hosting, and uploading. If there was a monthly charge once you were done it would be more interesting. Or maybe you can get real efficient about travel, shooting, and editing. How many can you shoot in a day? Most realtors are always late....

I was playing with some ideas for this, but would want at least $300 I think, which pretty much means very high end homes only where buyers are likely out-of-town. Florida real estate is so hot that all these people do is list houses and fight off buyers. No real motivation for realtor to work. I am thinking maybe there is potential with the "sell your own" companies. Homeowner who is saving $3k - $10k by no realtor might part with a few hundred to have their house "shown" more often.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 12:43 PM   #13
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About 30-40 mins shooting, and 30-50 editing. Say an average charge is $125 you shoot 20 houses a week for a year and you make 130k a year.

Even do half that and you still make 65k a year working part time.

I always hear there's no money doing this from people on thisv board, I don't know what you guys make a year but 65-130k is plenty for me, especially being a junior in college, and with the possibility to expand into other cities.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 12:56 PM   #14
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It's tough to get your hourly rate on these. In my market as of late, the realtor seemingly has to plant a sign and the work is done.

As for lighting, I carry a 1000w redhead and use the barndoors to chisel the edge where the cieling meets the wall when the lamp is pointing straight up. Works great and no blowtorch art deco marks on the cieling when mounted low on a light stand.

I also take railway tracks & dolly, a crane, tripod and steadycam and use all these tools. Puts my work way above everyone elses in my market. The finished reel is professionally scripted and narrated then polished off with full attention to the sound track. Then the wmv is embedded into a web page, uploaded and hosted by me. I have done 3 per day in the past. That's a very full day!

For the record, I do not have a price point for this near 75 bucks.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 12:37 AM   #15
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Todd and Jimmy,

Maybe $75 per hour but not $75 per house. How long does it take to do a full house from beginning travel to posting on a website?

I suppose if that is all you do then you would get very good at it and would have everything dialed in.

I wouldn't shoot using my Indicam (steadicam type system) for less than $100 per hour due to the skill needed to do it well and the cost of the equipment. I expect that is in the low end of pricing for steadicam use.

More power to you and keep it up.

Tery
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