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Shooting Real Estate Videos

My New Journey into Real Estate Video

Thank you to iPlayerHD for inviting me to write this guest post.

I am a licensed real estate agent in Minnesota and I live about 30 minutes north of the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul.  Minne-so-cold as we call it here.  About 8 months ago the “video bug” hit me.  I was thinking that it would be pretty cool if I could take videos of my own real estate listings.

I was very excited to jump in to this endeavor.

To begin with, I did a lot of research on the internet. I was really impressed with the videos that were taken by professional photographers and a few real estate agents. Most of them were using DSLR cameras. (Digital Single-Lens Reflex).  And when they were shooting real estate, a lot of the time they were using a wide angle lens.

So … I purchased a Canon 60D DSLR camera and it came packaged with an 18-135 mm lens.  From what I had read on different camera forums, this unit would allow me to take fairly good videos.  And it was pretty reasonably priced for medium ranged equipment. (I bought the camera and lens for about $1100 from B&H Camera and Video).

I also found a 60D course on line that came with a couple of instructional DVD’s.  Actual videos and instructions on “what all the buttons were for” and some beginning instruction on how to use the camera in video mode were extremely beneficial to me.  Sure beat trying to read the small print manual that came with the kit.

I did some more research and found out about tripods, sliders, and stabilizers that help make those videos shot by the pros look so smooth. I also needed some software to edit the video.  So I spent some more money and picked these items up as well.

I felt pretty good about this.  I was now starting to learn some things. I was following a few camera/video blogs and forums, and had some good equipment.  But here’s the truth:

There are not many things that you can do well just by watching DVD’s and having decent camera/video gear available!   You have to gain the experience of using it! 



I needed to get out and practice. And I got a break right away.  My real estate broker gave me permission to video one of his upscale listings in St. Paul, MN.  I shot the video and at the time I was really happy that I got the first one under my belt.

But when I went to edit the footage, I found out that the whole video had an ugly blue tint to it!  I discovered that I had the ”white balance” setting all screwed up!  Boy … what an awakening that was.  I tried to adjust it somewhat in the editing software but it didn’t come out very well.  Lesson learned big time on my first real estate video!

So … while I was happy that I got my first video shoot done, I discovered a couple of things right away:

  1. Make sure you take your time and check all of your camera settings twice before you press the record or shutter button!  ( Especially the “white balance”)
  2. As far as video goes, getting those smooth gliding shots with a slider or walkthrough clips with a stabilizer is a heck of a lot harder that it looksThis takes a lot of practice to get good at it.  I’m getting a little bit better though … I’m working at it.

I am still practicing everyday with all of my equipment.  I want to get really good at shooting video and that’s going to take some time.  I really love all of the things that I am doing and learning.  And for me it’s a lot of fun.

But, in my opinion, the biggest hurdle for me is understanding how to shoot videos under different lighting situations.  Learning about light and how it affects your camera settings, the lens, and your finished video product is one of the most important things to learn!

A suggestion to other newbies: don’t buy more cameras or lenses until you understand the camera/video gear you have now.  Use what you have and get good at it before buying other more expensive trinkets!

And keep studying. There is a ton of free education about shooting video on the web: forums, groups, etc.  Then practice with your equipment and be patient with yourself.  Remember, all the pros that shoot those smooth and beautiful videos had to start from someplace too.  Hope you found this helpful.

Just my two cents worth.   From a ”rookie” with a long way to go.

Mike Billiard

Licensed Real Estate Agent

LaBelle Real Estate Group

Zimmerman. MN  55398

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