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Sometimes I feel like motion sickness medication should really start advertising in real estate video.  There are two ways to get a video done (1) hire a pro and (2) do it yourself. 

In this economy, we’re seeing more and more agents take on the task to save money.  If you’re going to do it yourself, remember these three simple techniques for making your videos look like a pro and keeping your consumers from getting woozy.

  1. The Left-To-Right Pan or Vice Versa:  A “video pan” is a simple sweeping of a scene in a straight (or sometimes curved) line across a room.  A good tripod (one you or someone else paid at least $200 for) always helps.  If you don’t have one, hold your camera as close as you can to your mid-chest with the viewfinder where you can see it.  Start on one side of the room and slowly move (or pan) the camera in one direction.  You’ll want to keep the pan moving beyond the beginning and ending walls, then edit those aspects out in post-production.
  2. The Zoom-In/Zoom-Out:  Choose an aspect of the area you are in that is either a focal point or has motion.  I find that the three “Fs” are a great place to look first…faucets, fireplaces and fans.  Get those elements moving (turn on the faucet, get the fire rolling, etc.) and choose a part of the room where you have a good vantage of that feature.  Once you have the shot, move as far as you can from the object and zoom in on the moving element.  Slowly zoom out to the greater space and hold the final shot as you count 1-2-3.
  3. The Context Shot:  Every time I shoot a show with HGTV, they always preach, “Context. Context. Context.”  Consumers need to see the essential paths and parts of their daily lives on the screen.  For example, how far is it from where we cook the food and where we eat the food or what’s the path look like from the back patio for grilling to the kitchen.  Take your camera and again place it as close as you can to your chest.  Keep your zoom at the same level for the entire move.  Find a place in the space that can get the context while requiring you to move as little as possible.  Move the camera from a defining feature of the starting point (i.e., the refrigerator) to a defining feature of the contextual spot (i.e., the patio table).

In all of the above shots, lighting is still essential.  I’ll tap that in another entry; so, check it out.  For now, here’s a quick example of each shot listed above in this super short video.