Real estate is often seen as the entry point for many aspiring drone operators, and while it’s true that real estate agents often realize the value of aerial photos and video, it’s also a cluttered space, as many drone operators target these clients.
To stand out from the clutter, you need to provide a great product. Here are some tips on how to do that:
1. Prep the exterior of the house:
There are many things you can do to improve the look of your final product that don’t have anything to do with your video equipment or settings. The top things include: turn on all the interior lights, water the driveway/sidewalk, remove vehicles from the driveway, and park your car out of sight.
2. Plan the exterior shoot:
You should aim for 10 second clips of smooth video, keeping in mind that the final video should be no longer than 3-5 minutes. Your camera will dictate the quality at which you can shoot, but 1080p with at least 60 FPS should be used, and if you’re using a GoPro or similar, you should set the Field-of-View to Narrow. Higher frame rates will allow you to slow shots down even more without losing the smoothness of the video.
Outdoors, you should be using a Neutral-Density filter as well.
Using a satellite map of the property you are shooting is a great way to plan your shoot. Planning the shots and route you will take beforehand will optimize your time and make sure that you aren’t pressed for time with regard to battery life.
Also consider what time of day you would like to shoot. Sunset often offers better depth, while sunrise tends to have less wind and people, and of course you should consider the direction the property or home faces.
3. Prep the interior of the house:
If you aren’t planning on shooting the interior, you should consider it. This can be a great value-add for clients. If you do plan to shoot the interior, make sure to consider the following: turn all the lights on, including accent lights, dust and vacuum the house, clean the windows and mop the floors, open all window shades and curtains, counter tops and tables should be cleared, no light items should be left around, and all ventilation should be turned off.
You may also want to consider purchasing some battery-powered LED lights to place in the corners of the room as accent lights.
4. Plan the interior shoot:
Shooting interiors of homes is tricky. The air currents created by the drone, and the influence of nearby surfaces makes flying smoothly all the more difficult, and there is some risk involved, so make sure you are confident before attempting. Prop guards can be a good idea just in case.
Since shooting smoothly inside is all the more difficult, planning is especially important. Try and combine movements wherever possible (as in a pan and ascent at the same time, etc.), as this makes the shoot more interesting.
Focus on getting smooth 5-10 second portions, and if possible, shoot at a frame rate of 120 FPS, as this will give you even more options in post-processing to get smooth video.
As much as possible, try and stay towards the corners of the room, as this makes the rooms you are shooting look bigger. Try and cover the main rooms, but don’t worry about shooting every little bathroom and closet.
5. Make sure to do some post-processing:
Post-processing is your cheat tool. Shaky video, imperfect white balance and color, lens distortion and more can all be covered up using some simple post-processing techniques. Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro are ideal, although you can use the tool of your choice, and even iMovie or similar will offer you some options.
Slowing down video that you’ve shot at a high frame rate will create smoother-looking video, and stabilizers can help reduce shake or vibration.
Transitions are important, and make sure to ask the realtor if they want any other options added – voice-overs, listing information and more can be great upsell products that don’t require much time.
If you don’t edit video yourself, check out some freelancing sites, where you can get video editing services very cheap (try envato.com and their affiliated sites, or upwork.com), while clients will pay a much higher amount for a well-edited video compared to raw video. Don’t forget music for the soundtrack, and you can find stock music on websites like musicbed.com.
We hope these tips give you some help in planning awesome real estate shoots, and standing out from the growing crowd of drone operators looking for real estate work!
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