By David Jeffries

Where do you begin when you are setting up your shots for a real estate video shoot? You’d never run your camera on Auto for stills, so why would you ever leave your video image to chance with anything but manual settings. Having a good place to start is key. Let’s dive into our basic settings and the thought process for what to adjust and when.

Video Format – 4k, 1080p, 720p?

You have so many choices, depending on your camera, on what file format you will shoot in. Do you want to shoot 4k? Maybe 1080p60? Consider your final delivery and the platforms the video will be viewed on.

Almost all of our work is shown and marketed on Facebook. Knowing this, we shoot entirely in 1080p60 for our ground level footage and 4k60 for drone. This allows us to slow any shot by 50% and still have a completely smooth render. If your camera does not shoot 1080p60, you will have to be even more careful with movements and staying smooth. Cutting a 60fps clip to 50% will often smooth out small shaky movements and stop you from needing any stabilization in post (ex. Adobe’s Warp Stabilizer). As you will see below, your frame rate will impact your shutter speed but more on that later.

Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO

As I went over in the previous article (Exposing Interiors for Real Estate Video), you will most likely be using your histogram to set your exposure. Adjustments in your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO will all impact how your image is exposed and what the final image quality looks likes. Taking into consideration what each adjustment will make can go a long way to improving your final image.

Shutter Speed

The general, almost gold standard, is to set your shutter speed at 2x your frame rate. So if you are shooting 1080p and 60fps, you would want your shutter speed to remain constant at 1/120th. This produces the most natural motion blur and looks very pleasing to the eye. Too fast of shutter speed and you will lose motion blur (think old war movies), too slow and you won’t have a clear image due to too much motion blur.

(*Note for Sony Slog2 shooters – Rarely will we break this rule, but you can something crank up the shutter speed to tame an over exposed exterior when shooting in Slog2 with its 1600 ISO. If the clip is too sharp, you can add motion blur back in After Effects.)


Aperture comes down to knowing your lens. You may be tempted to open up your lens to draw in more light, but you have to be sure that your image isn’t going to get soft. We run a fairly standard f/5.6-6.1 for interiors. Running Canon glass, this is a nice sweet spot in our experience. We have associates that run f/2.8 and have great, sharp images, so know your lens.

For exteriors, we will often run f/10+ to avoid having to break out an ND filter. In Slog2, we experienced some bad color artifacts even with high quality ND filters. To stay consistent, we tighten up the aperture and dial in the exposure with the lowest ISO we can run and sometimes a faster shutter.


ISO is the real champ for our team. We shoot all our RE videos on Sony’s A7sii. The camera is a low light champ and has an amazing ISO range. Consistently we will shoot between 1600 and 25600 ISO for homes. This produces very useable footage when exposed properly and allows us to shoot without bringing in extra lighting.

With our shutter locked at 1/125th and aperture at f5.6, we dial in the right exposure for our shots by simply adjusting the ISO. You need to once again know your rig and know the limits of your ISO. From old Canon video days, I remember being a little worried to get to 3200 ISO, now that would be low! Get your camera out, test – test – test – and test again. See what you can push and still get useable footage.

Putting it all together! Your Video Setting Cheat Sheet

For real estate video, you can use the following as a quick starting guide to setting your exposure.


4k or 1080p – 60FPS

Shutter – 1/120th or 1/125th

Aperture – f/5.6 (Or as wide as you can go and know it’s sharp.)

ISO – Dial in to set a proper exposure (See Exposing Interiors for Real Estate Video)


4k or 1080p – 30FPS

Shutter – 1/60th

Aperture – f/5.6 (Or as wide as you can go and know it’s sharp.)

ISO – Dial in to set a proper exposure – it will be lower than shooting 60FPS since your frame rate is slower.


Considerations for outside – tighten up your aperture and lower your ISO. Exteriors are great since we are rarely hurting for light.