Shooting family videos with an iPhone is quick and easy. Could it be this simple to shoot a property?
When I first got into filmmaking, I remember saving up my money to buy my very own Super VHS camera. Not only was it heavy and loud, but the video quality was awful. It’s when you stop and consider that a cellular phone (yes the iPhone is actually a phone!) gives you full 4K resolution at 60 fps that you realize how far we’ve become.
Since the camera has evolved quite a bit in the last years and not forgetting the fact that we (almost) always have our iPhone in our pocket, should we consider using it to film a property?
Here’s the good and bad in using your iPhone for real estate videos.
- It’s cheap
- You use equipment you already have
- Considerably lighter than DSLR cameras
- Video resolution and quality (especially on recent models) is impressive
- Setup is quick
- The viewing angle is quite narrow giving the impression the house is smaller
- There is no depth of field (the image is flat, no separation between the foreground and background)
- It’s arguably tough to create a professional look since it can look like a family video.
Accessories you should buy
- Wide angle lens
The lens of your iPhone offers a pretty narrow field of view which makes it challenging when you are filming a property. Furniture in the way, a tight bathroom or any small rooms are especially hard to film.
If you invest in a wide angle, you can stand at the same location and see a lot more. This will make the room look bigger.
Be careful in buying cheap wide angle lens. The reason why they’re so cheap is because the quality of the material leaves a lot to be desired. A cheap lens will in fact give you a wider view of a room, but you’ll also be confronted to what my good friend Simon calls them: parenthesis walls.
I personally recommend this lens. It’s not cheap per se but it’s considerably cheaper than a DSLR lens. If you’re serious about shooting real estate videos with your iPhone, don’t buy the cheap 10$ lens. That way, your viewers won’t feel like the walls are closing in on them, figuratively.
2. Camera gimbal
Even though your iPhone removes excessive shakes by using a built-in stabilizer, purchasing a camera gimbal is a must even if you’re shooting with a professional camera. A gimbal is a motorized stabilizer that quietly keeps the camera in center even if the camera operator is moving.
It allows you to create cinematic shots that look professional all while adding movement. You can now recreate the view someone walking around the house would have. It’s a great cinema tool to create a connection with the viewers since they are more engaged than a traditional left & right pan that you see on a tripod.
I’ve used the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 in the past and just like the stabilizer on their drones, it’s the best bang for your buck.
- A professional video app
I personally recommend FilmIC Pro. For US$14.99, the app gives you complete control of your iPhone’s camera. This means you have separate controls over the exposure and focus (the built-in camera app on the iPhone controls both at the same time).
You can always use the default camera app if you want to save time and avoid tweaking manual controls. But for US$14.99, it’s a solid buy.
So, should I shoot real estate with my iPhone?
If you’re a realtor looking to film your own listings and save a few bucks, definitely. Just make sure you have a recent iPhone model and that you buy the lens and camera gimbal. You can also shoot a quick video and get it online before you hire a professional videographer.
If you’re a professional videographers, filming with your iPhone won’t give you the same professional look as a DSLR camera. Since it’s your job to make the property look the best it possibly can, filming with your smartphone is not advisable. Plus, if the client sees you filming with your iPhone, they might ask themselves: “why am I paying for this?”.
What do you think? iPhone or DSLR for real estate videos? Let us know in the comment below.