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Tips for Clients Shooting Video of Their Homes

By: Stephen Doemland on in  | 

Even with most counties scheduled to move into the green phase of the COVID-19 pandemic plan as ordered by the commonwealth, it’s understandable if you have clients who aren’t comfortable having a parade of people in and out of their home.

One solution is to have your clients self-film their properties, allowing you to put together a video marketing piece to help sell their property. To make sure that your clients record that absolute money shot and give you the most to work with, there are some tips you can teach them to ensure they get digital gold!

Make it look good!
Just like staging for an open house, the video should help the viewers visualize their belongings in the space, not your clients. Ask them to remove most, if not all, of personal items from visibility before filming.

Bright sunny day.
When preparing to film the space, your clients should turn on every light in the home. Open the curtains and blinds and film during the middle of the day, taking advantage of the natural light the property has to offer. If there’s a room that’s especially dark, consider moving a lamp from another room when filming that space.

It’s important for your clients to be aware of any changes in exposure on their devices during this process. To mitigate this issue as much as possible, they should avoid pointing the camera directly at the brighter light sources.

What about the tech?
The vast majority of your clients will be filming with a cell phone. If there are multiple phones available in the household, you should instruct them to use the highest quality, widest angle camera available. Usually, this will be the newest cellular device in the family.

Get the perfect shot.
If your clients have a tripod to mount for their cell phones on, wonderful. Most of them don’t, so these tricks will help:

  • For stable, usable footage, tell them to tuck their elbows in against their sides. This will provide the best possible footage with the tools available.
  • Hold the camera horizontal and with both hands.
  • Stand in the doorway of the room and start by standing square in the doorway. From this position, they should rotate their entire upper body slowly panning across the room from left to right. When they reach one side, they should pause for a moment and continue back the other direction. Have them repeat this twice smoothly for each shot to make sure that you have usable footage.
  • Repeat this process from all “vantage points” in the room. Best vantage points are anywhere shows new detail, previously not be visible in the shot. Consider shooting from a seating area, window or the opposite side of the room from that initial shot. In smaller spaces, one-shot may be all that is needed.
  • Be aware of reflections. Not only mirrors, but also stoves, refrigerators and other large appliances, windows and any other items have reflective surfaces. Re-positioning in the space will help eliminate this issue.

Transport initiated.
There are several options to transfer files, but not all are created equal. Try not to send the files via text message or email. Often these services reduce the quality of the video to make downloading easier and have file size limitations that will prevent your clients from being able to send the complete video files.

Instead, opt for a service such as Google Drive, iCloud, box or DropBox (which all offer specific amounts of free storage) to transfer the video files.

Time to get creative!
There are several FREE – yes free – video-editing programs to start with. I recommend one of the following pieces of software, both work with PC or Mac.

  • DaVinci Resolve is a more advanced solution. This is a great option if you’re looking for a free, professional and robust piece of software that will allow you to edit and grow as a video editor. There’s a paid, professional-grade version of this software that unlocks even more professional features, but the learning curve may be a little steeper.
  • OpenShot is an option for those who are less technically inclined and are looking for something similar to Apple’s iMovie. It’s a basic video editor and is fairly easy to use for beginners. Although a beginner option, this program still packs some great features such as unlimited tracks, a title editor and even some 3D animations that you can include in your videos.
  • Royalty-free music is available for free directly from YouTube for your videos. If you do not want to include credits, search using the criteria attribution not required.

Now you have all of the pieces, you can start editing! As you put all of your materials together, think about how you would move through the home, walking through at a pace that feels natural.

Happy editing!

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