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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
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Old February 5th, 2014, 11:32 AM   #1
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GH2 Real Estate Video

I'm adding real estate videos to the types of productions I do.

Last week, I shot this:


It was shot entirely on a single GH2 (stock, not hacked) with a Lumix 12-35mm "X" lens.

Edited in Premiere Pro.

The majority of the shots are ungraded, however there are a few noticeable times when I had to boost the shadows and you can see macroblocking and other artifacts. For example, near the beginning right after we go through the front door, there's a pan of the large living room. I stopped this down so everything would be well-focused, which required boosting the ISO, and I limited overall exposure so that the wall sconces didn't get blown out. This however crushed the shadows. The limits of dynamic range, but we can't all have Arri Alexas for home tour videos. :-) (But maybe a BlackMagic pocket cinema camera?)

The day was overcast during the time when most of the downstairs interiors were being shot, so I used battery-powered LED lights on stands, set to daylight temp, outside the windows to give the impression of daylight streaming in. By the time I got upstairs, real sunbeams had emerged and the problem again became a balancing act between blown highlights and crushed shadows.

Inside, lighting was sometimes supplemented with the same LED lights adjusted to a tungsten temperature.

An inexpensive 32" slider was mounted on the tripod to create a sense of constant motion and changing perspective. (If we don't change the perspective, then the point of a motion video is lost, may as well just so a slideshow of stills.)

A number of the shots were sped up. Normally in my production work I find myself wishing that a shot was longer or a pan was slower. But for these videos much of what I shot was too slow/too long. I found that anything other than a pure doubling, however, introduced terrible artifacts as uneven numbers of frames were omitted. (Yes, one could spend hours with a retiming utility or plug-in). Next time I will repeat my camera moves at a variety of speeds.

For future productions I'm going to try and talk my clients into not having text... I find that it draws the eye away from the very thing that's supposed to be showcased, and the only way to combat this is to include more or longer shots, which makes the whole video longer. Everything a homebuyer needs to know about features is in the listing description, the video can serve to just give an impression. Voiceover could solve the problem but can also be distracting in its own way, and add to the costs of the production.

As I do more of these, I'll be looking for ways to improve workflow and minimize the time for shot setups. What do people think about using steadicam-like devices instead of fixed-location shots? Too dizzying for the viewer? I'm also considering a motorized pan head to get predictable, repeatable moves at various speeds.

Feedback and critiques are appreciated.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

Shots look really nice. The video stutters a lot, and I seem to have that problem with a lot of videos on Vimeo, including my own. Does anyone else experience it? I have a fast PC with a GeForce GTX470, so I'm wondering why I have issues with that.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 12:51 PM   #3
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

I think it's your computer. Vimeo, in fact, downscales HD to 1280x720 unless the video owner changes a setting on a per-video basis. For this one I let Vimeo downscale it for smoother playback.

However, you can click the blue "Download" button on the Vimeo page to access the files manually. Try downloading either the downscaled 1280x720 MP4 to your computer, or the original 1920x1080 MOV file (Requires QuickTime or a compatible player).
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Old February 5th, 2014, 01:07 PM   #4
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

Looks great. The slider works fine. I would be hesitant to do any Stedicam like work in a video like this except for maybe one or two shots to illustrate a unique convenience access in the house or something. Otherwise a walking shot might have the effect of making things seem smaller than you would want to get across. Of course it's easy to suggest equipment but think about a jib of some sort to give an extra dimension to the large rooms and to break up the repeated horizontal movement of the slider.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 01:10 PM   #5
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

A jib definitely would have been useful for the outdoor shots. The house sits on a very steep slope. It would have been nice to start the camera at street level and elevate it to house level.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 06:16 PM   #6
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

That camera looks really good, I've shot a lot of mine on my gh3 which I don't think looks any better. I have several real estate videos on my site, feel free to copy any ideas you can use. Duane Adam at Sotheby's
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Old February 5th, 2014, 09:18 PM   #7
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

Duane, your stuff is amazing. You're a real estate agent who shoots his own cinematic listings? Pretty impressive.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 07:58 AM   #8
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

Nicely done. We did quite a lot of real estate video when we lived in the South of France. Our issue was always with persuading the owner or the realtor to pay a reasonable price for the work involved. If you are the realtor then you won't have that battle:-)

When I was using a GH2 I found the Panasonic 7-14mm F/4 lens very effective when used hand held for walking shots (up/down stairs, through doorways, round corners). We needed to really streamline the whole shooting & workflow so that the time taken reflected what people were prepared to pay for the work. So anyway that we could shorten setup e.g. use hand held rather than a slider was all time saved. Nowadays I would use the Olympus OM-D as the 5-way IBIS is so amazing.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 09:06 PM   #9
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

Very nice. What frame rate did you use ?
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Old February 10th, 2014, 12:43 AM   #10
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

Hi - If you're referring to my video at the top of this thread, it was 24P.

I find that 24fps works great for web distribution... more of the bandwidth can be allocated by the compression scheme to detail, rather than describing changes between frames.

However, you have to be careful with your pans and camera moves in general, keep them slow and smooth.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 06:13 AM   #11
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

I just started doing these myself!
Here is the first one I recently completed:
I convinced the agent that a narrator would work better than titles:

I like the variety of your shots.
I have mixed feelings about the opening doors and running water.
I came decide if I want to try that or not.
The opening doors and running water certainly add to the motion of video and shows functionality, but
it almost haunting in a lifeless way ;)

Very good video.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 10:37 AM   #12
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

Thanks... I was experimenting with the running water and the door and other shots that I didn't wind up using. In part to provide a unique touch and inviting feel, but primarily to including things that truly differentiate what a video can do from a slideshow or "virtual tour" based on stills.

After living with the end result for awhile, I'd keep the front door opening (to me it suggests personally walking in to your new home) and the running shower with body sprays, because that's a key feature. I'd omit the running water in the kitchen sink. (I filmed each of those both ways). For the kitchen sink, I wanted to draw attention to the cast-in drainboard in the concrete top, and I didn't want to sully the dishes that the staging company provided. But the running water in the end may have distracted from it.

I also wanted to show the gas stove igniting, perhaps heating a kettle, but the contractor was there that day and there were issues with the gas line to the stove. Wouldn't want to accidentally blow up a client's home, especially when it was very nearly finished.

The good news is that there's already a sale pending on the home (fingers crossed for all involved).

In your video, what lens(es) were you using? Particularly in the foyer/living room shot? Looked wider than the 12mm which was as wide as I was going. Was it a GH2/GH3 camera?
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Old February 11th, 2014, 11:21 AM   #13
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

I forgot to mention I really like the front door opening.
One thing both of our videos struggle with is showing the 'flow' of how the house connects.

My next shoot I am going to experiment with using a glidecam to show how one area of the home connects to another.

I used the GH3 and the 7-14 and 12-35 lenses. The 7-14 is not good for panning/tilting (learned that we this video), but is MUCH better and showing the space of a room. Too bad it's not very fast. Have to boost ISO higher than I like with it while indoors.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 11:30 AM   #14
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Re: GH2 Real Estate Video

I'm looking forward to seeing (you might even say anxious to see) what the announced-but-not-available Samyang/Rokinon 10mm will do. It's supposed to be rectilinear for architectural/landscape applications.

Samyang 10mm f/2.8
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