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Video Tutorial #2: The Basics of Shooting

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!)

For more log on to ReelDwellings.TV

Comment balloon 26 commentsTara Jones- Atlanta • August 10 2008 06:53AM

Comments

Tara,

Thank you again for these tips, this one I find is just what I need to know on how to shoot a house.  I am sure that I will be coming back to these for a time until I get the hang of how to really use the FLIP.

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) almost 11 years ago

Tara, again thanks for the insight on how to use and make video using the flip camera.

Posted by Frank Rubi, FrankRubiRealEstate.com (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) almost 11 years ago

Great tips for using the Flip Camera or any video camera. Thanks for the tutorial.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 11 years ago

Tara... you beat me.  This is a great series.  I know that part three will be great, too.  I was really excited when I previewed this on.

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) almost 11 years ago

Don, Frank and Michael- So glad you are finding the tutorial helpful...that's our goal!  Please keep us posted on how your shoots go in the future using these tips. 

Lane- It's AMAZING that I beat you to a post or a blog...I think that may be my greatest achievement to date! 

Posted by Tara Jones- Atlanta, GA (Reel Productions TV- Real Estate Video ) almost 11 years ago

Thank you for the great tips.  It should be common sense I guess but it's not for me.  You pointed out some things that I hadn't thought of and so glad to get the tip about the zoom.  That has been a problem for me.

Posted by Donna Yates, Blue Ridge Mountains (BHGRE - Metro Brokers) almost 11 years ago

Donna- I know, shooting seems very easy but there really is a science to it and the more rudimentary your device, the harder it becomes.  Glad to hear this episode helped.  More tips to come!  

Posted by Tara Jones- Atlanta, GA (Reel Productions TV- Real Estate Video ) almost 11 years ago

Tara - you've been rebogged over on my Blog. Come check it out, I'm testing the new reblog tool on AR.  It looks like you have since selected to opt out, I don't see the button on your blog post anymore. :-)

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

Brad- Please tell me how to get the button back!  I don't remember opting out of anything. 

Posted by Tara Jones- Atlanta, GA (Reel Productions TV- Real Estate Video ) almost 11 years ago

Hi Tara - the option is on your "My Settings" link on AR.  You also have to click the opt in when you create each post.  It was there when I reblogged your two posts earlier, if you haven't made any changes, then maybe AR is working on it and it will return shortly.  Hang in there and don't make any changes right now. But now you know how to do it.  I added a few notes on my post about you.  Keep up the great job!!  :-)

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

I saw the reblog and Brad pointed me this way...you havesome great stuff here!

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) almost 11 years ago

Thanks, Jeremy!  We look forward to working with you on your "before and after"! 

Posted by Tara Jones- Atlanta, GA (Reel Productions TV- Real Estate Video ) almost 11 years ago

Tara,

 

Thank you for the information.  I have a very basic question regarding video.  For me personally, I often find that video is very jerky as far as incoming, whether the camera is moving or not. I think it's a download problem though I am on dsl.  This concerns me for others, as I often quit watching out of frustration.  Is there any way to make certain that the video we use won't run slow?

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) almost 11 years ago

Hey Christine...

I'll be honest with you playback speed is a complex issue. It could be your computer, DSL connection, or the way that the video is compressed.

DSL is a problem. While advertising hypes it as high speed, the garden variety DSL was only 768k until recently. So you may want to check your speed. http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ is a great place to do that.

Also, you want to make sure that the way that your video is encoded is optimized for viewer choice. Most higher end companies will encode video for several different speeds and give the viewer the oportunity to choose the speed.

Using a quality encoder is an important part of the equation as well. We prefer to use quicktime h264 mp4 as our encoding. There are several companies that have encoders that create video in this spec, my favorite is VisualHub. For $25 you get the encoder and have all the presets you need. They even tell you jokingly when you go to change presets..."don't, you'll screw it up!" You can find information about it at http://www.digital-digest.com/software/VisualHub.html. This is a mac version, perhaps someone can chime in for a solution for the PC.

In any event viewers desires a shorter high impact video. We suggest nothing over 2 minutes. Watch what hollywodd does with motion picture trailers and you will see what market surveys show. High impact emotional teasers work great. While people are wanting to see more video on the web, most will opt out if the music is boring, video stutters or the quality is poor.

We will address this in a future episode of reel Dwellings.tv Reel Tech. Watch this blog for further info.

Posted by TJ Hedges (reel dwellings.tv) almost 11 years ago

Tara, upon thinking about this very cool upcoming project, don't you & TJ need a vacation at the beach? :)

TJ- when you refer to encoders, do you mean converters?  If so, i would recommend either blaze media pro, or prism video converter.  You can translate the video to just about any type file you want.

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) almost 11 years ago

We could ALWAYS use a vacation at the beach!! 

Posted by Tara Jones- Atlanta, GA (Reel Productions TV- Real Estate Video ) almost 11 years ago

This was very helpful, Tara. I am trying to use more video for a varietyof purposes and some of these thoughts never even crossed my mind. So simple, yet with such impact. Looking forward to many more useful suggestions.

 

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) almost 11 years ago

So does that mean I will be seeing you soon? :)

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) almost 11 years ago

Jeremy-  Anything's possible ;-)  I LOVE the beach!  Let's see where this project takes us...perhaps there is a Myrtle Beach meeting in our future!!

Posted by Tara Jones almost 11 years ago

Woohoo sounds like fun to me!

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) almost 11 years ago

Love the tutorial!  Reading instructions is so boring, you make it look easy and fun to do, thanks!

Posted by Frances C. Rokicki, Broker-Mentor,CRS (Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC) almost 11 years ago

Thanks so much, Frances!  It really can be fun once you know the basics because then you can start getting creative!  Stay tuned...we'll have you shooting like a pro in no time ;-)

Posted by Tara Jones- Atlanta, GA (Reel Productions TV- Real Estate Video ) almost 11 years ago

Tara - Thank you for the video tips!  They are very helpful and practical...  :)

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) over 10 years ago

So glad to hear it, Debi!  Thank you.

Posted by Tara Jones- Atlanta, GA (Reel Productions TV- Real Estate Video ) over 10 years ago

Tara - This is very useful.  I am using more video but need to do a much better job.  I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Thank you.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 10 years ago

Jennifer-  I am so glad you enjoyed the video.  We are now up to episode 5 and have 3 more "in the can" that are yet to come so please keep checking back! 

Posted by Tara Jones- Atlanta, GA (Reel Productions TV- Real Estate Video ) over 10 years ago

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