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Old December 11th, 2007, 01:22 PM   #1
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Real Estate Videos: I need camcorder advice please.

I am in the process of starting a video production company. One of the areas which we will be venturing into is real estate video tours.

We will be shooting the houses during day light using only the sunlight through the windows and house lights.

We will be delivering to our clients the footage via dvd and internet.

My question is, which camera will be best suited for real estate videos?

The cameras I have been considering are as follows:
1.) Sony PD170 (With HDV out, how safe is this choice, great low light)
2.) Sony FX7 (This wil future proof me, but how's the low light)
3.) Sony HC7 (This is also HDV and half the price of the fx7)

I would like to hear from videographers who do real estate video tours using one or more of the above mentioned cameras.

Thanking you in advance.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #2
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FYI - the PD170 is SD only, not HDV
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Old December 11th, 2007, 02:27 PM   #3
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Hi Steve.

My bad. I didn't make it very clear. I meant, with HDV on the market for a couple of years now, how safe is it purchasing a standard def cam like the pd170.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #4
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Of the more prosumer choices I would say the PD170 is the best choice for indoor shooting without lights for the obvious low light ability. But, again, it is SD. When do you plan on moving up to HDV? If you buy a PD170 now do you have room in your budget to upgrade down the road when you want to deliver HDV?
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Old December 11th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #5
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Hi Matthew

Thank you for your reply.

I like the PD170 a lot, especially because of its low light capability, but I would not like to upgrade for at least the next 2 years as far as my camercorders go.

So my question is, will a standard def cam like the pd170 be competitive for the next 2 years or so?
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Old December 16th, 2007, 09:45 AM   #6
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If it'll be streamed from the Net, and that is a primary means of delivering content to the end user, a PD170 will do just fine in this application.

However, a good 3 CCD HDV cam may be a bertter buy as it can take on a wider variety of asignments. That flexibility could be worth a lot of $$$ in the near term.

I'd add the Sony FX-1 and Canon XHA1 to that list due to the greater flexibility that they have. These two should have decent enough low light abilities for your application. Plus you can do so much more with them.

With Canon's rebate you should be able to pick one up for only $300 more than the PD170. Not sure about FX-1's cost. But it's going to be sooo close as to be almost irrelevant.
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Old December 16th, 2007, 01:39 PM   #7
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Video Camera

I use a Sony HC3 camcorder with no external lighting. You can see samples here. http://www.nashuavideotours.com/virt...ideo_tour.html
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Old December 16th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #8
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Hey Fred,
I checked out a couple of real estate videos.

I was just wondering(and I haven't seen any real estate shots except on Extreme Makeover), wouldn't the videos be enhanced greatly if you were to have different cuts from room to room that way you could manually adjust white balance, iris, and gain?

I know this is not the subject of this thread, but I wanted to just drop my 6 cents in the bucket.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 08:59 AM   #9
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Real Estate Videos

Not really.

First of all, what makes the videos WORK is that you walk from room to room. You get a feeling of how the home is laid out, the relationship between rooms, which rooms are on which floor, etc. By doing each room separately, and panning around the room, it's disjointed. It may be a half step up from still photos, but you're really not showing that much MORE than a nice photograph would show. Yes, you could adjust the white balance, use lighting, etc. and maybe make the video quality better, but you're defeating the purpose of using video for real estate. (houses don't 'move', you know? People move THROUGH houses).

Secondly, there is only ONE way to make any sort of living doing real estate videos - pricing the product correctly. I set a price point of $200-$300 and I need to produce a product that FITS that price point, looks good AND makes me money. So clearly, some corners need to be cut to keep the workflow down, etc. The reason that 95% of people that do real estate videos don't make any money is that they price themselves out of the market (and your target market is realtors...) who 1) don't see the NEED for real estate video, and 2) don't want to PAY for a tour unless it's like $75!. If you're charging $400, $500+++ for a real estate video, your customer base is basically NOBODY. They won't pay it. I've been dealing with realtors for a decade, and I know their threshold for spending money on marketing.

That's why most videographers give up on this market - they don't understand how to make a BUSINESS of it.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 09:03 AM   #10
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I think one of the biggest criteria is focal length.

You want to go for cameras with shorter focal lengths which give you a wider angle view. Makes it easier to see the whole room as you move through it.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Light View Post
Not really.

First of all, what makes the videos WORK is that you walk from room to room. You get a feeling of how the home is laid out, the relationship between rooms, which rooms are on which floor, etc. By doing each room separately, and panning around the room, it's disjointed. It may be a half step up from still photos, but you're really not showing that much MORE than a nice photograph would show. Yes, you could adjust the white balance, use lighting, etc. and maybe make the video quality better, but you're defeating the purpose of using video for real estate. (houses don't 'move', you know? People move THROUGH houses).

Secondly, there is only ONE way to make any sort of living doing real estate videos - pricing the product correctly. I set a price point of $200-$300 and I need to produce a product that FITS that price point, looks good AND makes me money. So clearly, some corners need to be cut to keep the workflow down, etc. The reason that 95% of people that do real estate videos don't make any money is that they price themselves out of the market (and your target market is realtors...) who 1) don't see the NEED for real estate video, and 2) don't want to PAY for a tour unless it's like $75!. If you're charging $400, $500+++ for a real estate video, your customer base is basically NOBODY. They won't pay it. I've been dealing with realtors for a decade, and I know their threshold for spending money on marketing.

That's why most videographers give up on this market - they don't understand how to make a BUSINESS of it.
Excellent post!

Do you have a website? Wouldn't mind seeing some of your work.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #12
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You want to go for cameras with shorter focal lengths which give you a wider angle view.
Only a few camcorders have a lens with a short enough focal length, so a wide-angle adapter is almost always a good idea no matter which camera you choose.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 09:14 AM   #13
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Only a few camcorders have a lens with a short enough focal length, so a wide-angle adapter is almost always a good idea no matter which camera you choose.
Indeed, that's what I had to do for my camcorder. I was getting too narrow a view when taking on-board bike footage. I then found out it was because my camera had a relatively long focal length (narrower view). I've purchased a 0.6 wide angle lens adapter and it's great. It does strange things to light levels & colours though. Best to start off with the shortest focal length you can so you don't require too drastic an adapter IMO.

Last edited by Neil Cooper; December 17th, 2007 at 01:06 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #14
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What sort of range in focal length for camcorders is there?
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Old December 17th, 2007, 03:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Fred Light View Post
I use a Sony HC3 camcorder with no external lighting. You can see samples here. http://www.nashuavideotours.com/virt...ideo_tour.html
Fred, your work is fantastic. Are you using a steadicam to move around the house?
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