The Ultimate iPhone Listing Video

This article was originally published in Realtor Magazine:

You can always hire professionals to do video for high-end homes, but the new iPhone makes it financially feasible to shoot a great video for any listing. Let me show you how.

I recently wrote an article for WA REALTOR® Magazine that laid out the steps to create a high-quality real estate video on an iPhone. Now that I have even more experience with the technology, I thought it was time to break down the steps with an example of a video I actually created, with a few more details on how to do it effectively and make the video look professionally shot.

The video embedded here took about 10 minutes to shoot and about 20 minutes to edit and stitch together on my new iPhone 6. These are all one-take video clips, using Instagram’s Hyperlapse app for the video capture and the Videolicious app for the editing. It was a vacant home (which has since sold), so I need to create a video that focused on the overall property a bit more than the interior.

I’ve shot a few videos on older models of iPhones and Androids, but the iPhone 6 Plus really stands out because of its optical stabilization. This is critical for making the video look like professional marketing. Add the Hyperlapse app’s digital stabilization features, and many of these shots look like high-end equipment rolling along a stable rail or dolly.

Here are some additional tips for how to shoot, edit, and distribute the perfect listing video with your iPhone 6:

Highlight all three dimensions. When you’re planning out horizontal panning shots, find spaces where there are objects in the near and distant fields of vision. You’ll note that they seem to visually move in different planes. This really maximizes the benefits of video, and produces an effect that you can’t get with still photography.

Mix up your clips. Pan up and down. Tour the home and travel through the neighborhood in order to keep the viewer’s interest up. Intermix video clips that are short enough to catch the viewer’s interest and move on to the next scene quickly.

Keep it digestible. It’s an awesome tool, but using the time-lapse function too much can be overwhelming for the viewer. Watching a home tour at warp speed just isn’t comfortable. Try time lapse out at 1x or 2x speed first. Also, it may be tempting to walk through the entire home, but it can become disorienting. The camera doesn’t react well to light changes in different locations. You can always shoot the whole listing, breaking up your clips and picking the best ones later. But unless the listing is tiny, you just don’t need to show every room. You should be able to tell the story in less than two minutes.

Think small. I specifically intended for viewers to watch this video on a small-size screen, so watching it on your phone is the best reference point. More and more users are going mobile, and streaming high-quality video is much easier with a smaller frame size.

Your ultimate goal is to create a video that is short on facts and long on visual beauty. I didn’t list an address in this video or voice it over since it was already sold, but you could add both. The intent of the video, though, is not to tell the viewer everything about the home. It’s to quickly entice them to have an emotional reaction and contact you for more information.


  • All opinions expressed herein are personal opinions and do not constitute the position or views of any organization. Sam DeBord is CEO of Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO). He has two decades of experience in the real estate industry, spanning real estate brokerages, mortgage lending, and technology consulting. He has served as President’s Liaison for MLS and Data Management with the National Association of REALTORS®, a REACH mentor, and on the board of directors for NAR, Second Century Ventures, and California Regional MLS. Sam began his career as a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is a recognized real estate industry writer for publications including REALTOR® Magazine, Inman News, and the Axiom Business Books Award-Winning Swanepoel Trends Report.