Making Your Own Walk-thru Video

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HOW TO DO IT

Smartphone and tablet cameras get better all the time, so why not use yours to save some money on your next listing? If you are paying a professional videographer to make videos, you are pouring money down the drain.

Since these cameras continue to get better year after year, it makes it easier than ever to use them for taking professional photos and videos, so plan on using yours for your website and social media.

But whether you're shooting with an iPhone, iPad or an Android device, you need to take sharp, clear images that people will love to look at and will represent your company in a professional way.

The phone you already have has a very new camera, since so many of us are caught in the marketing spiderweb of our cell service provider, which “gives” us a brand new smartphone every year, or two.

So here are the secrets to making your smartphone videos and photos a lot more professional in four tips:

  • Using the Light
  • Find the Unique Angle
  • Smart Ways to Help
  • Edit Like an Artist

Oh, yes, do read the whole article as there are two methods of making your video.


1. Using the Light

Photography is fundamentally just a process of capturing the way light falls on a subject. A great subject in poor light will always look bad. Smartphones do best in natural light and struggle in low light.

Using the built-in flash almost always creates bad images. Try not to use it.


The image below shows a typical daylight photon the left and a morning or evening shot that takes advantage of the natural light.

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2. Find the Unique Angle

This is where you can make your shot look different than countless other photos that are all over the real estate world. It's what photographers call "composition" and it's about using all of the elements in your video to tell a story.

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To help you do this, go into the settings of your camera app and turn on gridlines. This is called the "the rule of thirds" but all you need to know for now is that our eyes naturally fall on the places where these gridlines are. So before you take your shot, look to position the camera so that the elements in the frame are sitting along these lines.

On an iPhone, you can turn on the camera grid in Settings.

On Androids, however, it is not so simple since Google made the software open source, each phone manufacturer can do things their own way. For droids, that means you have to find the grid control on your own, unless there actually was a printed user guide that came with the phone. Good luck on that one.

Let’s get back to the gridlines. When you position the main subject in the center of the viewfinder, it becomes almost static. The viewer’s attention goes straight to the center of the screen and gets stuck there.

Imagine now, a video or a picture of a subject positioned off-center, maybe up or down as well. The viewer is then encouraged to look for the main subject and further explore the remaining video. The image above was shot from the right-middle, giving a nice composition.

Notice where your eyes went.

As another example; if there is a unique piece of furniture in a room, use this technique to focus on it, but indirectly.

And, if you don’t believe me, start paying more attention to television ads, the ones you remember because you always look at the same part of the tv screen when one of these ads is run.

My wife and I laugh about one recent ad that started with a beautiful woman leaning a bit to her left. The lighting seemed to always force you to look at her left breast, which appeared to be naked.

It wasn’t.

But the bra company went on to claim, I think, something about how comfortable their products are. Of course, I don’t know what that company was, and my wife doesn’t either, but I do know that I liked the ad. Maybe there is another tip here - don’t make the shot so good that the message is lost!

In order to get a unique angle, try to position yourself down low or up high when taking your shot, rather than just standing with the camera straight in front of you like everyone else. Changing the angle will make a real difference.

Pay close attention to what's in the foreground or background of your shot to add more visual interest, and don’t feel like you have to keep moving! It’s fine to stand still and move the camera as you take in a room. Position yourself in a corner, or other place, where you can see the entire room.

You’ll most likely end up with lots of short videos, which is just fine. But keep them short, say 5-10 seconds per room or feature You don’t have to show every nook and cranny in the house. If you try to shoot the entire house, in and out, the video may be too long, or be rushed as you move around.

Always take your videos holding the phone or tablet in landscape mode. Videos taken vertically, or in portrait mode, do not look good.



3. Smart Ways to Help

While smartphone cameras themselves have gotten much better, there are also some ways you can use to help take stronger photos. The first is something you already have - your headphones.

On most modern smartphones you can use the volume up or down button to begin or end a video instead of tapping the screen, though that may not work for all phones.

You can also plug in your headphones and use the volume buttons on the headphones, if available, to snap a video. Photographers call this a remote shutter release, and you can use it to get a steadier, sharper shot.

You may also be tempted to try some of those external camera lenses you can mount to your phone. Don't do it. They're more trouble than they're worth, and they can make your videos blurry and less professional. Instead, just focus on composing good shots with the camera on your phone.



4. Edit Like an Artist

One of the things that most people who take smartphone video don't realize is that the difference between a good video and a great one is usually the processing that happens after the shot.

If you want to use smartphone video for professional use, you need more control. You need to use an editing app.

Editing is not hard, but you do have to learn to use the software. No, you should not outsource it because you can do it yourself for free. And much faster You will avoid countless message back and forth, along with the frustration that comes with it.


There are many good video editing packages out there, so just Google “best video software.” What do I use? I’ve bought many, but I always seem to come back to iMovie on my Mac.



5. Just Take Still Pictures

This doesn’t sound as cool as the video we discussed above, but it works very well. And it’s easy, too. Just walk around and take lots of cool shots. Then sort them out and keep only one or two for each room, or outside view.

Now comes the fun part. Using Powerpoint, or Keynote for the Mac, create a slide show of your images, adding text to the slides as desired.

Then export the files as an .mp4 video! You can even add nice background audio track if desired.



6. The Last Step For Either Method

Now the you have your Masterpiece completed, all you need do is export the .mp4 to YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia.

Your all set to use Realtor Support Services!

Well, that’s it. No further sales pitch here.

Have Fun!

Richard Hill
H&H Media Group