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Old August 28th, 2007, 10:06 PM   #1
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Tips Needed For Shooting Real Estate Videos

I'm interesting in learning more about shooting real estate videos. Using the JVC GY-HD100U, what is the best way to shoot a walk through from room to room? I don't have a steadicam per say, I have access to someone with one but of course its pricey and doubt a real estate customer would want to foot the big bill for it upfront. What other options are there available?

I am in contact with a realtor that is expressing interest in having his properties taped. I'm not up on the current fees to charge. Thinking of offering 2-3 packages with the more expensive offering video of the nearby neighborhood, etc.

Anyone have any tips on shooting techniques, fees to charge, lighting tips, etc?

Thank you
Lisa
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Old August 29th, 2007, 08:47 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lisa Bennett View Post
I don't have a steadicam per say, I have access to someone with one but of course its pricey and doubt a real estate customer would want to foot the big bill for it upfront.
There is the rub.

Real estate folks work for commision based on the property value.

So unless you are taping million dollar homes, they won't have very much to pay you with.

This is why they all have digital cameras.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 11:25 AM   #3
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There is the rub. Real estate folks work for commision based on the property value. So unless you are taping million dollar homes, they won't have very much to pay you with. This is why they all have digital cameras.
Some thoughts on Real Estate Videos.....
Realtors have to be some of the biggest salesmen & women and as such ..... they talk a great talk and they don't want to pay anything.

First, off you have to deal with the listing agent and not the buying agent. The listing agent gets their 3% cut and they directly represent the seller. It is in the seller's (and their agent's) best interest to get a good high price.

The buyers agent is sort of torn. They want that high commissions which means a high sale price, but the buyers want a low sale price (less money spent for them).

A realtor is also great at selling pieces of crap as if they were mansions. They have to be, it is their job. You will go into these houses and see cramped tiny bedrooms and you have to make your video sell that house. Many times, a realtor would love to have video of a house BUT only if it makes the house look better than it is.

A realtor's goal is to get a seller out to the property and to fall in love with it. To make an emotional connection to the property. That is very hard to do from a TV in their office.

Sure you can pitch it that the realtor will save driving time by not having to go out to a property only to have the owners instantly say the don't like the sink, etc. That is a good , valid point.... push that one because a realtor wants to save money any way they can.

Here is another problem with real estate videos.... not all houses are great looking houses. Some of them look dumpy. And a video is only going to make it worse. You are going to have to shoot with wide angle lenses so it doesn't look cramped. You are going to have to do lots of color correction because those yellow painted walls and yellow light bulbs don't make the room look good. And then there are places with bad back yards, crappy neighbors with tall sheds / RVs parked right on the property line, etc.

This isn't to say that it is impossible to get it to work. There are companies that have a smooth & fast work flow and seem to get it to work...... but I have only had nibbles from realtors. And I interviewed & pitched to about 6-7 realtors in my valley and all sounded very interested but none tried it out. I even had pretty low fees. $100 for a house (considering that it would take me ~5 hours just to drive, shoot, capture, edit, render, & burn). Even the high end realtor with the $ million plus property was stuck on the VR picture technology and didn't want to go video.


Best of luck to your efforts. Who knows, with this real estate market slump, the sellers might be more willing to try new was to find more buyers. I was tring this 2 years ago and for my area that was a big boom time so property didn't need extra marketing to sell.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 12:25 PM   #4
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If you're shooting interiors, put a super wideangle attachment on your lens to make the rooms look spacious. Also, turn on all the interior lights.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 01:26 PM   #5
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I worked as an assistant this summer on some high end real estate videos, most of the work was panning and zooming stills. First I thought it was stupid to do it that way, but after trying both, the motion on still photos produced a much more polished product in a fraction of the time. Also made lighting much easier as he had 3 speedlights with little clamps that went anywhere. Very classy product, all the realtors loved it.
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Old August 31st, 2007, 03:16 AM   #6
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I worked as an assistant this summer on some high end real estate videos, most of the work was panning and zooming stills. First I thought it was stupid to do it that way, but after trying both, the motion on still photos produced a much more polished product in a fraction of the time. Also made lighting much easier as he had 3 speedlights with little clamps that went anywhere. Very classy product, all the realtors loved it.
Ahhh you know.... I never did think to try the Ken Burns on stills for a real estate video production.... interesting.
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Old August 31st, 2007, 09:30 AM   #7
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The only way to go (I am the guy Doug helped out)

main thing is the lighting - three speedlights fit in my pocket and give me more lighting control than a trunk full of hot lights.

The ready availability of wide angle lenses is also a huge factor, so is the ability to tweak/crop/clone in photoshop

But the biggest factor is that most rooms will look stunning from a few vantage points and blah from most others. With video you get a lot of blah.

What I am really pushing is multimedia presentations - floor plans with hotspots so you can click to see the view from that perspective, but that get's spendy.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 02:58 AM   #8
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Floor plans

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But the biggest factor is that most rooms will look stunning from a few vantage points and blah from most others. With video you get a lot of blah.
What I am really pushing is multimedia presentations - floor plans with hotspots so you can click to see the view from that perspective, but that get's spendy.
Interesting idea with the floorplan. That sounds like lots of flash programming, so it is out of my area.

RE: Blah.. No kidding. One the two houses that I shot for real estate videos I spent so much time trying to find the best way to show the small rooms. I eventually filmed the rooms from several vantage points and then choose in post which to use. I only did a few walk throughs (lacking an actual stabilizer system).
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Old September 6th, 2007, 03:30 PM   #9
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Practice walking around houses shooting smooth shots

I would think if you have a low budget and no steadicam that you could find the best shot for each room or area, set up a tripod and do a 360 or pan to get a sense of the space. I bet you could even practice doing hand held walk throughs without too much jiggle for the in between room shots then edit it together and/or have it in pieces. Practice - I've been making a video for my two nieces and I am getting good at following them around with a handheld in smooth motions. People just want to see what the inside looks like and a slight jiggle with online viewing compression will not matter too much.

And try to charge hourly with half up front based on the expected timeline - it always takes longer than you think!
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Old September 6th, 2007, 04:16 PM   #10
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I considered doing this. Did one for my daughter who was an agent. I also have RE background, legal and sales. I recognized right away that it really wasn't something that fits into the RE process. To shoot it right, you would take 2 or 3 hours in a decent size home, setting up right shots and angles. Then you have to figure another 2 or 3 for editing, and finally, how do you show the footage. On line hosted, or DVD given out at home ?

You are talking about having to get $350 to $ 500.00 minimum out of someone in the end. The RE agent won't pay that out of his pocket, and neither will the seller, in most cases. I suppose you could forego payment till escrow closes, but in this day and age, escrow closing are getting rarer and rarer...
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