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Video For Real Estate: 6 Ways To Prevent “Blown Out” Windows In Real Estate Video

blown out windowsReal estate agents across the country are starting to realize they will need to incorporate video into their real estate business to remain relevant. The reason is simple: consumers are demanding video.

Video says so much more than text or even the traditional medium of real estate  – images – could ever say. Through video a consumer can really get the “feel” of a home, lifestyle or location.

Video adds context that would otherwise not be possible. There are literally hundreds of ways to use video in your real estate business: video email, talking head, animation, screen cast, powerpoint, interviews, subdivision videos, testimonials etc. One of the most obvious ways to use video in your real estate business is with your real estate listings. (Yes, you should be making videos of your listings).

The real estate agents that are using video “the correct way” to market their listings are literally “killing it”. They have no “natural competitors” if you will. Certainly not any competition from real estate agents shooting videos with their iphone or iPad or those that add movement to pictures in iMovie or something like that.

I’ve seen it first hand. You are welcome to ask any of my clients. When a seller sees the kind of video my client is going to use to market their home, they see the value immediately.

In one case, one of my clients was competing against other real estate agents that were willing to lower their commission to 4.5% on a $1.2M listing, saving the seller (if it sold at 1.2M $18,000. My client held at 6% showing the seller a video of a previous listing I shot for him. The seller listed with my client. BOOM!

In another case, another one of my clients was competing for a $1.8M listing against more established luxury real estate agents. The other 2 real estate agents showed the seller embossed buyers books, a list of websites his home would appear on and a top 250 in Maricopa county agent list, pointing to their rank on a list (no seller really cares about). My client, which had NO luxury real estate experience in the Phoenix Metro area, brought ME to his listing appt. I wrote an article about it called My First Listing Appointment.

The agent did his thing, talked about market value, comparables, competition – agent stuff. Then it was my turn. I told the seller, “all those websites these other agents said your home will appear on and are listing as something unique to them… will happen automatically when your home hits the Multiple Listing Service”. Then I showed the seller one of my videos. I showed him how my video would help a buyer mentally move into his property, how I could get it ranked on page 1 of Google and YouTube (where buyers are actively looking for information) and how my video would give his property a story buyers could relate to. He listed with my client. (I guess the title rep you work with does matter after all huh?) Video is imperative for your real estate business.

One of the questions I get from agents around the country, taking my Video For Real Estate Agents course is “how can I prevent blown out windows in my listing videos?” This is a great question, one many real estate agents and videographers struggle with. In photography blown out windows can be eliminated by using flash or strobes to balance exposure levels. It’s not so easy with video though. Here’s why.

What Are “Blown Out” Windows?

Wouldn’t it be great to show interior and exterior features in your real estate videos? Sure would, unfortunately it’s very hard, because of blown out windows. Blown out windows are exactly that, windows that appear extremely bright in your shots. Blown out windows are a result of different exposure levels. If the exposure is greater outside than inside you get blown out windows. While blown out windows are a problem everywhere we see more than our fair share of real estate videos with blown out windows because it’s sunnier here in Arizona than any other place in the country.

I’ve learned light is always my biggest challenge in video, second only to audio. On EVERY real estate video I shoot for my clients I have to decide whether I will blow out the windows to show the interior of the room or underexpose to look through the window and make my shot dark. I choose to blow out the windows.

So, how do you prevent or minimize blown out windows in your real estate video? Well, there are a few ways. Some are FREE and some can be very expensive. Lets take a look.

6 Ways To Prevent Blown Out Windows In Real Estate Video

1. Shoot early or late. If you shoot early or late in the day, when the sun is near or below the horizon, the effects of direct sunlight are minimized. This balance between interior and exterior light is when you can clearly see the detail inside AND outside when shooting your real estate videos. It’s commonly referred to as “The Golden Hour” or “the Magic Hour” photographers and videographers prefer to shoot during this time.
2. Shoot on a cloudy day. When you shoot on a cloudy day, something we have very few of in Arizona compared to the rest of the country, direct sunlight is minimized which leads to more of a balance of interior and exterior light.
3. Use studio lights. This is not something a real estate agent will do but you could use studio lights. Studio lights can be used to bring the exposure levels inside the house up, leading to a balance of exposure between inside and outside, making the detail outside more clear. Now this is not cheap. A studio light capable of lighting a room to match outside exposure levels would easily cost $10,000 and likely double that.
4. Control Your Angles. You can control your angles when shooting your videos to always have your back to the windows or show as little of the windows as possible. While your shots would look better without blown out windows,  it will be obvious there is something missing in your video – windows.
5. Settings. You can adjust the settings on your DSLR  – aperture, ISO, White Balance and shutter speed to get the best representation of the room (don’t worry about the blown out windows) then in your editing software, add color correction or add a shape mask to define only the blown out windows. Adjust the exposure and saturation levels in your editing software (requires a professional editor : adobe, FCP7, FCPX, SONY Vegas etc)
6. Don’t worry about it. That’s right, you could just not worry about blown out windows at all. Consumers know what blown out wondows are, especially those here in Arizona. They have seen them first hand in their own homes, videos and pictures. You can simply not worry about blown out windows and focus on telling the best story of your listing you can.

So there you have it. 6 ways to prevent blown out windows in your real estate videos. As annoying as blown out windows can be, they pale in comparison to a worthless real estate video. By “worthless” I mean a video that a consumer would not seek out or even watch. What kind of video is that? Anything that talks more about YOU than it does WHAT consumers care about – THEM. Most consumers go online to gather information or solve a problem. All of your content, not just videos but blog posts, pod casts, screencasts, images, white boards, etc should be geared towards that. Create great content and they will find you. Promise. You in Phoenix and ready for someone that really CAN helkp you grow your real estate business? Fill out the form below.

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Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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  • Dylan Kurbel

    It’d suffice to get a ~$150 1000W Fresnel lamp with barndoors attached plus a $153 c-stand, maybe a diffuser would help but you could bounce the direct light off walls and skip any extra gear. $300 total easy. If you have $800 you could just get an Arri 3-Light Fresnel Kit that comes with stands, which would undoubtedly be sufficient.