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Old February 10th, 2004, 11:22 AM   #1
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Lighting for real estate tours

I am working with a real estate agent who wants me to do a few video tours of homes she is trying to sell. All the lighting variables and impediments exist. I'm sure I'll have to pan dark rooms with big sunny windows or cloudy days w/big windows and dark rooms, etc.. I have a Canon XL1s. Should I haul my light kit to each these houses and try to Blue-filter my tungstun light in an attemt to light these rooms or should I just use my Frezzi mini-fill on the camera and work with that? This has to be practical since I'm charging her very little for the work, and I would like this thing to grow into a steady income. Any advise from those who have been down this road?
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Old February 13th, 2004, 10:54 AM   #2
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I'm interested in this as well. I have not done this, but was thinking of a battery powered softbox carried by someone else. Also, white balancing for sun and letting the interior lighting lean towards the yellow/warm side.

I look forward to someone with experience in this situation posting.
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Old February 15th, 2004, 12:01 AM   #3
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White balance with the camera. Tungstun filters are more for film. And bring lots of lights. Architectural photography and videography takes a lot of light. That's why professionals charge for it. If everyone with a camera decided they could just go do it we would all be out of business or making nothing. So learn the basics of lighting and charge for your work. If you go cheap that's what you will get labeled as.
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Old February 15th, 2004, 02:04 PM   #4
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Home Tour

Check out this home tour that I did a couple of years ago. It was shot with an XL-1 with existing light. I white balanced in each room. It turned out just fine. However this is a house with a lot of large windows for natural light. I would just carry a 500w 32K light or two and bounce off the ceiling for darker rooms and gel the windows with CTO and/or an ND6 if they are too hot.

The idea never went anywhere, at least in this market, because no agent was willing to pay the near 1000.00 for production. I think it is clear that only very high end houses and only the ones that are not selling fast are going to be the ones to be featured. This makes sense though. Agents are not going to spend a lot on a lower yield property and I am not going to do it for free or next to free. If you need a demo, then do what you have to do to sell them on it. The tour below was a free demo just for me to have something to show. Rhett is right. If you provide this service at a low, low cost, lower than you may deserve, you will set a precedent and will be doing a lot of work with not much return for the effort. All that have seen it, liked it. But, nobody wants to pay. So I guess it ain't going to get done!

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Old February 16th, 2004, 09:27 AM   #5
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Aren't you going to be in direct competition with all of the $69 - $99 firms who are already in with the local Multiple Listing Services?
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Old February 16th, 2004, 11:24 PM   #6
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In the NY suburbs, houses sell for over a million dollars, easily. Given a 5% commission, that amounts to over $50,000. The agents who sell these houses are not competing against the YHD-Foxton brokers.

However, I have no idea how much they would be willing to pay for a video. Certainly, they'd like you to show how spacious and well-maintained a house and its surroundings are. Indoors this make take 1 or 2 fresnels on rolling stands. There will be a halo effect in the lighting when the camera is in wide mode. I just don't see video people setting up a large softbox if they have to do many rooms, quickly. Too much to bump into, plus the set-up and teardown time. Several micro softboxes may work, but the light has to be critically placed and of sufficient wattage.

Probably a bigger concern than lighting is camera motion. Everybody and his cousin have gotten so used to smooth/steady dolly or jib shots that they may be surprised at the "handheld" look when you walk from room to room. Also you need a video camera with good autofocus and low light performance.
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Old February 16th, 2004, 11:44 PM   #7
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<<Probably a bigger concern than lighting is camera motion. Everybody and his cousin have gotten so used to smooth/steady dolly or jib shots that they may be surprised at the "handheld" look when you walk from room to room. Also you need a video camera with good autofocus and low light performance.>>

I'll be the first to admit I've never done one of these, but I would guess that a stabilizer would be a natural for this sort of thing, allowing for a real sense of flow from room to room. Add a wide-angle adaptor to make the house seem bigger, and lock the exposure so it doesn't pump when dealing with windows...seems like it would work great. Even if the windows blow out completely, I would think this would be somewhat acceptable unless there was a specific view that needed to be taken in, in which case doing a special shot on the auto iris setting would dial down the exposure as you approach the window (or having it set for the exterior to begin with, and have the window frame just be dark).

Marc, I'm curious what the autofocus factor would be; I'm assuming most of these are done entirely at the wide angle setting, where you can just leave it at a fixed focus point, given the massive depth of field of DV in that situation?

James, nice job on your tour. You actually gelled windows on that? Must have taken a while for a house that size! I love the jib shots at the beginning, very stylish. Which jib were you using? The backpanning was nicely done.
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Old February 17th, 2004, 09:12 AM   #8
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We did one recently, we used a jib outside and inside. We shot outside late afternoon and inside after dark. Inside, we used 3 flourescent balasts and a couple of prolights for highlights. Almost everything was shot with the lens as wide as it would go. Aside from moving the jib all over the house, our biggest difficulty was keeping our reflections out of the windows.
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Old February 18th, 2004, 10:37 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert:

Marc, I'm curious what the autofocus factor would be; I'm assuming most of these are done entirely at the wide angle setting, where you can just leave it at a fixed focus point, given the massive depth of field of DV in that situation?

-->>>

With the mini lights I use, the effective f-stop is usually around F5.6 or less (my guess). I don't use a fancy camera, but a small one, like the JVC GR-DVP9U, with autofocus and AGC. From playing around with a Sony PD-150, I'd say this camera also had good (in fact, better) automatic shooting capability. With shooting distances that vary from 3 ft to 8 ft, there is no time to manually focus. Like its HDV brother, this cheapo JVC camera is servo focused. So, just let it run auto and hope that the fov contains an object that it can lock onto. Move the camera nice and slow, and you won't be doing that much fixup during editing. (The real secret behind jump-cuts is obvious: the cameraman lost focus during the shooting sequence.) I wish I had your skills at steadicam, but a mini rover works just as well. If a 270 deg moving shot is not possible, just let the camera pan with a tripod. A library room is an ideal place to do this kind of shot. A multimedia room is one of the toughest, with screen glare. Good reason to own a fp stewart screen vs. a pioneer/mitsubishi/hitachi rptv. For those with money, a jib would give an interesting look.

I suppose if I had a ladder and an assistant, it would be feasible to set the camera high up in one corner of the room and tilt down, pan, and zoom the rest of the room. The assistant would make sure the lighting was uniform.

The best way to sell a house is to have a scantily clad woman walk around describing each room, and the fun she had or could have in it. This would cover up for bad pans, poor lighting, and out-of-focus shots.


Charles: How effective is the porta-jib 40' rubber dolly track for doing room-to-room shots? It would be nice to do a walkthrough from a hall to the kitchen to the dining room, to show how well laid out a house is. In my home, you'd trip over all the manfrotto clamps, stands, and boxes.
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 11:30 AM   #10
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Lighting & Jib

Charles,

I did not gel any of the windows for this project. It was just an XL-1 with the 3:1 lens and set to the Auto position with manual focus. I rebalanced in every room.

I have a Jimmy Jib Lite. Below are images of it at work on location that day. It was the first project that it was used on and I didn't make a dime as noted in my above post. But, I got a great demo which has served me well over the past three years.

Jib Images

www.jefcommunications.com/camerasupport.html


Larger Images

http://community.webtv.net/JEFProduc...CONFIGURATIONS
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