A couple of days ago, you may have read my post about the web site called WellcomeMat, where REALTORS can upload their videos or slide shows of their real estate listings. Here's the link to that post: WellcomeMat Free Real Estate Video Web Site. A couple of questions came up in the comments, that I'm not sure were answered in full, and I wanted to address those in this post.
In my previous post I also mentioned Real Estate Shows. For the novice, or the agent who is too busy to do a full video tour of a listing and doesn't want to hire a professional videographer, Real Estate Shows is the better choice. You just upload your photos and create a slide show, then choose your special effects and music. And the cost is only $125 per year.
But for the agent who wants to offer a full video tour, WellcomeMat allows you to upload your video that you have already produced, or find a videographer in your area to create a more professional tour. There is no cost to just upload your videos or slide shows to WellcomeMat.
Now for the real purpose of this post: How to actually create your own real estate listing videos. (These are the questions that were left unanswered on my previous post.)
- You'll obviously need a video camera, hopefully with a high quality lens and end-result. Many of the good still-shot cameras now come with a built-in video mode. I've been using the same one for about 3 years now. It's an Olympus C-5060 Wide Zoom, 5.1 megapixel with 12x zoom.
- You need a tripod. You can get a lightweight tripod on Sams Club for $25. I have one of those, but I also have a heavy duty tripod that adjusts more and is able to be raised a little bit higher.
- Lights. If you really want to record your entire listing in video mode, you will need lights for the dark spots. You should also educate yourself on the different types of lights and how they effect the color balance. This is where I draw the line. When I'm creating videos at home, for my You Tube vlog channel, I have lights with both warm and cool properties. But I'm not going to carry them to my listing appointments. So I use still shots in the rooms that are either too small to get good video footage, or where I just can't get enough light. When I create my video, I mix the still shots with the video footage, and use transition features in between.
- Video editing software. Since my camera uses a CF card and an xD card, I don't have to worry about actual film, and I can toggle back and forth between the cards with the push of one button on my camera. Whichever card I used, I then insert into my computer's card reader slot. (I had my husband build my computer so it has the exact specifications for my needs.) I have my camera set to save the footage as an .mov file so it will open into QuickTime on my PC. I paid $30 to upgrade to QuickTime Pro, so I could save from there, and do simple cutting, copying and pasting if nothing more is needed. If more is needed, (and for combining still shots with video footage, more will definitely be needed) I use CyberLink Power Director, with the upgrades that allow you to export/save your file in whatever format you need. The format needed to upload to WellcomeMat, or any video sharing site, is some type of Mpeg. I use Mpeg1 for WellcomeMat and Mpeg4 for You Tube. But as I said in my other post, You Tube is not professional enough for my tastes.
- Background Music. Since you have to be very careful about not violating any copyright laws, you'll need royalty-free music. I get all mine from www.Incompetech.com. Not only is this music royalty-free, it's actually free as well. And you can browse by genre or by feel. Just right click and save to your computer, then import it into your editing software. With CyberLink, I can crop the length of the track so it ends with my video footage, and slowly lower the volume so it tapers off at the end.
I have to admit, I'm a total technology geek. I actually enjoy doing these things on my own. And as with everything, the more you practice, the better you get at it. One of the comments on my previous post was asking me where I find time to do this. Well, I suppose you could call it a hobby. (Everyone has a hobby) I can't spend time in the sun (Go figure. I'm born and raised in Florida, but I can't spend time in the sun.) and I can't afford to shop all the time, so a year and a half ago, I got hooked on You Tube. I now have a lot of online friends and have even met some in person. While I'm by no means a professional videographer (which is obvious), I have learned a lot, and expect to get even better with time. My next laptop will most likely be a Mac, strictly for video editing. And my hobby has enabled me to offer something to my clients, that most agents cannot.
I hope this helps some of you. I realize that I'm much geekier than most people, but hopefully some of you will enjoy this information, and even use it in your real estate business. You'll find that creating an actual video will eliminate the distortion that is seen in most virtual tours.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that most computers come with Windows Movie Maker. It's an easy way to start and you can find walk-through videos on You Tube that will show you how to use the program.