Shoot a real estate video with your smartphone

Early in 2017, I published my online video training series 'How to shoot n edit real estate videos'. It was a project that I undertook in response to the wonderful feedback that I received from a video that I had previously uploaded to YouTube in late 2015 called 'How to shoot and edit real estate videos'.

It's a great feeling to know that my video series has helped other videographers get started in real estate video production. Even better, I now have an evolving series to which I can publish more training content based on feedback and questions I continue to receive.

Case in point, I've just added a new title to the video series called 'Shoot a real estate video with a smart phone'. You can check it out below.

Part 1 (on location) shooting a real estate video using my smart phone (i.e. mobile phone) and DJI Osmo Mobile. This video is part of a training video series.

To be honest, I've never been fan of smartphone videos for three big reasons:

  1. Auto-focus. Every smartphone I've ever owned would find focus, then go out of focus to find focus again, constantly.
  2. Auto exposure.
  3. No wide angle lens.

I'm sure there is an app (or 10) out there that bring manual settings to smartphone cameras (if you know of any good ones, please leave details in the comments section), but I've never had the patience to look, find or use any.

Likewise, no doubt there are some decent wide angle adapters for phones out there. For example, I was recently told the Moment 18mm lens for the iPhone 7 Plus was rather good.

But the lack of default, manual video settings is what has kept me away from getting serious with smartphone video. Well, that and the fact I've spent a lot of money on DSLR cameras and lenses.

But all that aside, the reason I produced this video was to help beginner videographers who perhaps didn't have the funds to go out and spend lots of money on gear. My goal was to provide them with a starting point, a (very) basic production kit using a device they no doubt already owned.

As you can see in the video, I used my Samsung S7 with a DJI Osmo Mobile. To my surprise and absolute joy, the app that came with this hand-held gimbal allowed me to lock focus (hooray!) and set a constant exposure! I only realized this was the case when I was on location, so that really cheered me up.

Thanks to my now having manual control on the smartphone video settings, it was a rather enjoyable experience, apart from one thing - the lack of a wide angle lens. Not having a wide angle made things very difficult at times although it did challenge me to find new perspectives which was good.

While on location I also discovered a cool video selfie mode that enabled me to present to camera and the DJI Osmo Mobile would track my face as I moved around. What a great feature and one that would bring a series DIY capability for real estate agents to shoot their own real estate videos.

However, I've since had some interesting feedback (as follows) which I tend to agree with:

  • Real estate agents should stick to selling homes and leave video production to the professionals
  • Videos like this suggest that real estate video production is easy and cheap and anyone with a smartphone can do it.

Certainly relevant points. Indeed, real estate agents who are serious about selling homes might well be better off sticking to what they know best.

In my experience however, real estate video production on a smartphone is far from easy. It's a lot more tedious and the results are nowhere near as good as what they would be if produced with 'real' video cameras and/or DSLR's.

Things get more tedious if you introduce audio recording too. But we'll leave that for another day.

Learn how to shoot n edit real estate videos!

This course if by far the best real estate video production course I’ve seen anywhere on the web.
— Roman P.

Aussie video producer, Dave Dwyer has created an online training video series that discusses various production and editing techniques for real estate video production. This course is ideally suited to videographers who aspire to create and run their own video production business with a strong focus on the real estate industry.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'd particularly like to see other real estate videos that were produced using smartphones. Please feel free to leave comments and links below.