8 Expert Tips to Film a Great Home Tour Video

This post was sponsored by Ted’s Camera Stores. Thank you for supporting my blog’s wonderful sponsors.

Wow, Perth – what a crazy time to sell a house! The real estate market in WA – well really, the real estate market in most of Australia – is going nuts at the moment. In some parts, homes are being snapped up in days. Things are competitive between buyers and lots of properties are receiving multiple offers, so it can be a really good time to put a house on the market.

My sister and her hubby bought their first place recently, and I went with her to some home opens. We’d arrive EARLY and some of these houses already had lines of people queuing down the driveway and down the road. It was mental. And they’d be under offer within a couple of days. Lots of houses are selling in days.

Last month, property prices across Australia increased at their fastest rate in 30 years, and in Perth, houses are selling at their fastest rate in 15 years. And understandably, they’re fetching their owners good prices. New findings from CoreLogic found that since January, Perth house values have risen tens of thousands of dollars. (I can’t lie, it’s actually very tempting… we have also thought of selling our house to take on another project!)

Photo by Kaylee Garrett.

It makes sense that sellers right now are making the most of the competitive market for buyers to get the highest selling price they can for their home. When Western Australia had a COVID-19 lockdown last year, we saw a huge uptick in real estate being listed with home tour videos. Made sense – videos showed people who couldn’t travel far from their homes what a house was really like.

What surprised me though was how many people during lockdown were making offers on a house without even visiting it in real life – these big life decisions based just off photos and video. I was astounded – it really showed the power of real estate videography in effective property marketing.

You know I love a home tour – whether it’s in real life or virtual. The other day I had a home tour of my friend Larisa’s new-build and it gave me so much pleasure; it was so fun to see how she had brought all her ideas for her dream house to life.

But I love VIDEO home tours almost as much as seeing homes in person! As much as I love stunning house photography, there is something you can capture with interior videography that you can’t get with just photos. How great is it that the internet means we can virtually tour a home on the other side of the country (or the world) simply from our desk or through our phone?

Photo by Paul Hanaoka.

Real estate agents are now totally leading the home tour video trends, with lots of them now marketing their properties with property tour videos that really show the feel and atmosphere of a place. While we’re so fortunate not to be under strict COVID lockdowns at the moment, it’s clear that real estate video marketing is only going to get bigger and more widespread from here. A video is a great way to give your home an edge when selling your house in a burgeoning real estate market, and whatever you can do to attract multiple offers to get the price you can for your home, the better!

Real estate aside though, there are other reasons you might be interested in filming a home tour, whether you’re planning on outsourcing it or doing it yourself.

  • To show off a realistic take on your home if you have a home or interiors Instagram account (or even a ‘before the reno’ tour – I love watching these!)
  • To show off your talents as an interior designer, architect or stylist
  • To promote your AirBnB through social media
  • As a personal project to keep to remember the house you love
  • Because you’re a really cool blogger with a house blog 😉
    Photo by Heather Robbins.

Today I’m picking the brain of Matthew Grahame, who is a photographer and expert writer at Ted’s Cameras, Australia’s most beloved camera store who specialise in helping people find the right camera (no matter your photography skill level or budget, which I like!). Matthew is the brain behind all the great tips over at Ted’s photography blog, where he shares loads of photography and videography tips for all skills levels.

He knows ALL the tricks when it comes to filming a great home tour, whether it’s for a real estate listing, your folio, or just to share with your followers online. Here are some simple steps that you can take to produce stunning home tour videos.

Tip #1: Tidy up first

“We are not trying to be funny here,” laughs Matthew. “Obviously, you will have already thought far enough ahead to clean and tidy your home before you start filming, but we have to make a point of saying this as it can be surprising the things that we miss during filming which become glaringly obvious during the editing stage.”

He’s right – I see this all the time when we shoot homes for House Nerd or for publications – and for some reason I swear it’s harder when it comes to your own house! What might seem like normal house things lying around to you, might look like clutter to someone else; especially when it’s filmed or photographed.

Did you spot the phone charging? I almost didn’t either. Photo by Roam in Color.

So try to be a little bit more scrutinising than you would usually be. Put away gadgets like phone chargers and computer speakers, tuck cords away neatly, hide toothbrushes in a draw, trim back unruly plants and cut brown or decaying leaves, clear kitchen and bathroom counter surfaces of most items, leaving just a few pretty, styled items on show. Only through lots of practice, with lots of photo and video shoots done at our home over the years, have I become any good at the “home shoot” whizz-around, where I have now achieved pro level at stuffing unsightly stuff in cupboards. (A quick trick? Use your laundry hampers to whizz around the house and collect up stuff).

“You want to pay special attention to clearing up clutter, cleaning reflective surfaces which can show up fingerprints, and if you really want to amplify your presentation, consider hiring furniture or artwork as is often practised during house sales,” says Matthew.

Tip #2: Mount your camera on a tripod

Nothing says amateur home movie like shaky and bumpy footage. “Luckily, this problem is easily fixed by mounting your camera on a tripod,” says Matthew. “Using a tripod makes it easy to pan your shoots smoothly and precisely, while it also helps you to fine-tune your framing in order to create stronger compositions. The best tripods can be set both low and high, so you can experiment and find the best angle to showcase each room, while video-friendly tripods feature fluid heads for smoother and more cinematic movements.”

Tip #3: Use a wide angle lens

Have you ever visited a house you saw in a real estate listing to think it feels a lot smaller in real life? I swear this was me when I started house hunting as a first home buyer – that said, most of the homes in my budget WERE teeny-tiny apartments, so this is not surprising 😉

There is a reason real estate photography shoots are usually done with a wide angle lens – and honestly, despite what you may think, it’s really ISN’T to trick you or set you up into thinking a room is bigger than it actually is. Wide angle photography is used for real estate listings because it can show you the WHOLE room or space so you can get a feel for it, and see from photography how a home’s floor plan works and how rooms flow into one another. With a standard lens, you simply usually can’t capture most of a room effectively, says Matthew.

“When filming indoors, lenses of a standard focal length or longer will often be too long, which results in much of your room being cropped out no matter how far into the corners you set up your gear. The answer is mounting a wide-angle lens on your camera. Wide angle lenses make it easy to fit in every detail and characteristic of your room with minimal effort with the added bonus of making each space appear larger than it actually is.”

Tip #4: Harness as much light as possible

Photo Heather Robbins.

Maybe your bathroom gets the best light at 10am when the sunlight hits the window? Shoot that room then. “Dark and gloomy scenes are just as detrimental to your home video tour as the bumpy footage that we discussed earlier,” says Matthew. “To counteract this problem you need to allow plenty of light to enter your space so your camera can work its magic.”

If you live in the home you’re shooting, you’ll also know when the best natural lighting occurs in each room, so make a plan of what room you’ll shoot at what time. “Take note of when the main windows of your home are treated to the most natural light and open up your curtains and blinds to let in as much of this light as possible,” says Matthew. “If you are lucky, you may be able to make use of the beautiful natural light that is available during the golden hour, which is the period just after sunrise and before sunset. If natural light isn’t serving its purpose, you can turn on your overhead lights or even consider using a portable LED lighting kit to illuminate your home.”

Tip #5: Pan and zoom slowly and sparingly

While we all want to unveil our inner cinematographer, Matthew says you should save this desire for your short movies and keep your home video tours simple and gimmick-free. “Minor panning and zooming is fine and essential for showing your rooms as a whole, but using these techniques too often or too quickly can be distracting and take the attention away from the space that you are attempting to showcase.”

Tip #6: Find the best angle to shoot from

Photo of Heather Robbins.

The best angle for filming your tour often differs from room to room, says Matthew. “You will need to familiarise yourself with various framing techniques and use them all to produce a complete tour,” he says. “For larger spaces you can set your tripod in the center of the room and pan from one corner of the room to the next and then turn your camera around and reproduce the same shot facing the other way. Alternatively, you can attempt a full 360-degree pan; for these shots your tripod should be at around eye level.

Smaller spaces should be filmed from a corner. “Oftentimes this shot is filmed from a low angle with the camera being angled up slightly to fit the room in the frame, without too much of the ceiling being visible,” reveals Matthew.

Tip #7: Don’t neglect the exterior

Time to mulch, people. There’s a reason real estate agents advise making sure your garden looks neat before it goes on the market, you want your outdoor areas to look great too. “You want to paint a picture of your home as a whole, so some of your video tour should focus on its exterior elements,” says Matthew. “Include anything that is a selling point of the home, such as the inviting main entrance, or the carefully tended garden and lawn.

“External shots are often taken at night, so turn on the outside lights and make good use of that tripod.

“Alternatively, you should consider utilising a drone to do a fly over and produce a bird’s eye view of your home – this is a great way to illustrate where your house is situated on your property.”

Drone photography of Fremantle from Mile High Images.

Tip #8: Add some finishing touches

Now that you have filmed your home tour video you can use video editing software to piece all of your shots together into a finished product.

Think about how you would be showing the house to someone if it were in real life, advises Matthew. “Sequence your shots in order, which will give viewers the best impression of how it would feel to actually walk through your home,” he says. “Avoid showing too many shots of one room and too little of another; you want to give a good overall view of your home but also keep your video short and snappy.”

If you are producing your video for real estate purposes, you can include some extra information, such as a plan of the space which will help the viewer make sense of the footage they are seeing, he adds.

And lastly, your backing track. “Adding some background music can result in a more polished work,” says Matthew.

Thank you so much to Matthew Grahame for sharing your tips and the Ted’s Camera Stores team for sponsoring this post! You can check out more of Matthew’s expert tips on all things photography and videography over at Ted’s blog. They have an epic online store, but with 18 stores across Australia, you can also visit in person and chat to a friendly face about the best camera for your needs. Maya x


Author: Maya Anderson

When Maya Anderson was thinking of a name for her homes and design blog, nothing seemed more fitting than House Nerd. Obsessed with everything to do with houses, renovating and interior design, Maya is a features journalist by training with a background in print and a focus on homes and real estate. She has been renovating her 1970s house since forever, loves dogs and can eat her body weight in dumplings.

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