So you want to dive into the world of real estate video? Great choice! What will you need for gear? If you are coming from RE photography, you very well could have a great starting point, but video and photography are not always apples to apples when it comes to gear. It might make sense to upgrade/expand your kit. Let’s dive in!
Cameras for Real Estate Video
Starting with your camera body, I would argue that one of the most important specs to check is if your camera body can shoot 1080p at 60fps. That will allow you to slow your footage to 50% in a 30fps timeline and get some really smooth footage. We have not seen any need for 4K for our day to day RE video work. It is great for more styled corporate work, but outside of the GH5, you won’t be shooting 4k60, so only having 30fps is a big let down when you want to get really great slow motion. If your camera body can shoot video at 1080p60, you are good to go!
For a specific body, we would recommend the Sony a6500 – it’s just over $1000. This is a crop sensor camera and offers some great specs. Outside of 4k30, you get 1080p up to 120fps, Sony’s Slog profiles, awesome ISO performance, and 5 axis IBIS. If you have a lot of crop Canon glass, then a simple adaptor will give those lens new life. The IBIS and ability to shoot in a flat profile makes this a real winner for us. Lots of dynamic range and the great ISO are perfect for how low light RE shoots tend to be. (**The a6300 would be a great pick too, but if you can go for the IBIS, it helps a lot with manual lens.)
Lenses For Video
Truth be told, we shoot with only one lens on most of our video shoots for real estate. I could get into a whole discussion on focal length and detail shots, but we have landed on using one lens and showing off the flow of the house for our run and gun style. So for this kit, we are sticking with one lens.
So if you are packing one lens, go wide! A wide zoom lens can be really handy if you want some small variations in focal length. A 10-18mm on a crop body works really well, where a 16-35mm on a full frame covers almost the same range. Don’t feel like you have to get an F/2.8; F/4.0 models will work really well. Too shallow of focus can cause you to miss focus, you want to stay sharp.
For our kit here today, we recommend the well-loved Samyang 12mm F/2.0. It’s a steal at $279 and offers some great speed and true infinite focus. We never shoot autofocus for video, so with this lens we set it to infinite and go. We even have a piece of gaff tape holding this lens’ focus ring. This lens on the crop Sony equals about 18mm on a full frame.
You now need a gimbal to allow you to move smoothly through your listings. I recommend the Zhiyun Crane 2. Coming in at only $550, it’s awesome! Great battery life, easy to use and set up, and very smooth. I would recommend handlebars or a ring. It is much easier to run this rig inverted with a pair of handlebars. With stick style gimbals, it’s easy to get some side to side motion – handlebars help resolve that. The DJI Ronin S is another great pick, just slightly more expensive.
Not a requirement, but an external monitor makes it much easier to see your framing and move through a space. You will need a mounting solution for the Crane 2, check out SmallRig.com for lots of options.
When we started, we picked up a large Atomos monitor and recorder. It is great, super bright, but has one big drawback – it’s HEAVY! Stability in your shots does really improve with how you can handle your rig. Lighter is better! So our recommendation for a monitor is the SmallHD Focus. At a little under $500, it is not the cheapest, but it does offer lots of impressive features. Great color and brightness, histograms, focus assist, peaking, zebras, LUTs, and more. It is also very compact and has done well with batteries. Everyone on our team loves it!
For a more cost effective route, take a look at the FEELWORLD F5. At only $150, it’s hard to pass up and has many similar features. It will definitely help your composition and filming.
Adding it all up!
So for this kit, if you were to buy it all new, you are looking at an investment of roughly $2,500. Maybe you already have a camera body and lens that will serve you well, then you are ahead of the game! The addition of video into our business has truly been a game changer. It sets us apart and we are a one stop shop for agents and their marketing. See this as an investment and plan your return. If you sell 10 videos at $250, you’ve covered your expense and are moving into profit.
Here’s to new listings!