So now that you know how to turn the camera on how do you know what to shoot? It's not as easy as you may think. We're going to walk you through a typical home tour with some photographer 101 basics.
First of all, try and find the focal point in the room. Is it the stack stone fireplace? The decorative hood over the range? The unique spiral staircase? Whatever the feature, try and showcase it first to grab the viewers' attention. The key to remember when creating a video home tour is giving them a "tease". You don't want to show them every light switch and electrical outlet...you want them to come see the house in person so you can sell it to them! With that in mind, keep it simple. Just a one to three shots in the main rooms (we'll get to what the main rooms are later) will do the trick.
Second, NEVER shoot into windows. Why? No matter how powerful the light is in the room it can never overpower the sun. That means whatever is inside will turn black (or extremely dark) and all you see are the windows. Therefore, never set up an interview by a window (since you won't see the person's face) and try to avoid pans into the windows since you will completely throw the color off in the room.
Third, keep your shots steady. Viewers can get sick watching a shaky video. Have you ever seen Blair Witch project? That photojournalistic technique is not recommended when selling real estate. If you have a tripod, use it. Try and find a flat surface where you can place your camera for pans or zooms (see below) so your shots will look more polished and professional. Always try to begin with an establishing shot...a shot that shows the entire room before beginning a pan or zoom technique.
So what are pans and zooms? Clearly stated, a pan is moving the camera from side to side and a zoom is closing the camera lens in on a particular object. To accomplish a pan correctly make sure your camera is steady. If you're panning a room try and keep the "horizon line" (think about being on a boat) straight. This means you want the floor to remain in the same spot throughout the shot. Keep the same idea in mind when panning up and down, say, on a staircase. The sides of the shot should remain consistent to keep a professional look and feel.
For zooms, don't use it unless it's necessary. Just because you have a feature on your camera doesn't mean you should use it! Ask yourself these questions: What am I zooming in on? Why am I zooming in on this object? Will it add any additional information to the viewer? I once watched a video home tour where the photographer zoomed in on a plant. Why? Does the plant come with the house? Do I need to know something additional about this plant that I didn't get from the first shot? Think about detail whenever using the zoom such as a decorative back splash or exquisite crown molding. Anything that can not be picked up on the initial shot or pan of the room MAY require a zoom.
Next video lesson: Downloading your video onto the computer (Gulp!)
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