image and video capture during house walk through
February 24, 2021 6:17 AM   Subscribe

How can I capture good quality images and video while walking through an empty house?

I'm touring residential properties, a quick walk through of about 15-20 minutes with other people. I need to capture the interior of the property, both inside and out, while I walk. Since I'm busy looking around, asking questions and being present while negotiating an unfamiliar environment, I can't really focus on operating a complex camera.

I have very basic level photography skills and can negotiate around the settings with some practice.

We have an iPhone 6plus and a Galaxy S7 cell phone as alternatives to use for this. It's possible we could use a selfie-stick for this walk through and record plus take images. That doesn't seem optimal as the OS on a cell can get busy doing things and not respond quickly when you need it.

I have a Panasonic Lumix camera that has a good point and shoot function and an image stabilized Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS lens. While this is a candidate, it's also somewhat complex to be fielding while you negotiate a muddy exterior or stairs. I'm definitely going to try this camera next time to see how it goes.

I'm thinking an action cam, like a GoPro might be the thing to use. I need to capture wide angle field of view in a mix of lighting, a lot of it is kind of poor, like in basements or it's an interior shot of a room with natural light sources. I need to be able to switch between taking a video and taking images as I go and if it gets dropped while on uncertain footing, it can survive that.

This is not for commercial purposes so much as to give a third party a good view of the site visited and for them to be able to mentally recreate the floor plan and interior. My Canon point and shoot is not getting this done. I'm using it now because it's very easy to use but the output isn't sufficient.
posted by diode to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My personal recommendation is a hand-held gimbal (a miniature active stabilization handle) attached to either your phone or a GoPro type camera, then a strap so the gimbal is attached to your wrist. You can get a DJI OM 4 for like 150 (and OM3 for 20-30 less). There are Chinese ones for half the price. Keep in mind if you want to use a heavier camera, the matching gimbal will obviously cost a lot more.
posted by kschang at 6:34 AM on February 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I don't have a camera recommendation, but more a technique rec since I've been viewing some walk-throughs lately as we are looking for a new place:
(1) move slowly and stay put slowly panning the camera where possible;
(2) hold and aim the camera a little higher than you think you should (the last video tour I watched I felt like I was a 8 year-old kid, not an adult walking through the place).
posted by chiefthe at 6:37 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bring your own lighting. Still cameras generally have a flash, video cameras dont. get a video led light for it. Even with an onboard flash you still may want supplemental lighting.

There are plenty of hotshoe mounted battery power led light panels or ringlights for cheap now. GoPro's and others probably offer dedicated accessories.

it will make a world of difference to the video quality with adequate light.

Figure out your recording time. And make sure devices and their batteries can handle that .

There are also nice dedicated 360 cameras that it's possible might be better suited for a walkthrough in case the viewer wants to see something you aren't directly looking at.
posted by TheAdamist at 8:36 AM on February 24, 2021

Best answer: I love this question. I do this a lot, but where I'm recording for other people to see the house. It's hard to capture a room through a small phone camera!

I think a gopro would work great. Gopro on a gimbal would be even better but probably not needed.

It sounds like you are budget conscious - I would look for an amazon knockoff gopro that still has a wide field of view.
posted by bbqturtle at 9:08 AM on February 24, 2021

Is there interest in having the floor plan created automatically? MatterPort claims that output from certain consumer-level 360° cameras can be processed to generate measurable floor plans with reasonable accuracy.

Canvas might be a similar product for newer iPhones that output point clouds.
posted by UrbietOrbi at 8:05 PM on February 24, 2021

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