I spent 6 days in 3 locations and came home with over 300GB of raw 4K video footage and 110GB of time-lapse photography. That was the easy part.

I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with RSL Queensland and RSL Art Union to produce a variety of promotional videos for their prize homes and apartments.

Each prize home lottery brings with it a unique set of challenges. In this case there were 3 apartments featured across 3 states. The project brief was to focus less on the apartments and more on the actual lifestyle on offer so it was important to gather as much location footage as possible.

The challenge of course is to review all of the footage and decide which scenes best showcase the properties and location in the time allocated for the TVC which in this case was just 15 seconds!

RSL Art Union Draw 365 – TVC

But there’s so much more footage!

I like to have too much footage when editing projects like this. It’s nice to have the dilemma of deciding which footage to use because it all looks so good, rather than not having enough.

So to get the best results for your efforts, it is super important to plan your shots and put together a basic schedule so that you don’t waste your time and miss key moments during the day/night when on location.

I research the area before I arrive. I note where the locals like to hang out and what attractions and events are nearby.

It was a cracker of a day in Sydney!

Certainly one of the most important things is to know what direction the property faces and where the sun will be during the day.

Some places look best in the morning, others late afternoon.

Good weather and sun position is key to getting great real estate video footage the choosing the right time of day to get the shot is crucial.

In Woolloomooloo, the sun rose behind the apartment which meant the deck and the apartment itself was in the shade for most of the morning.

This was the best time to shoot the city views as well as the majority of internal apartment shots before the sun moved across the sky and shone straight into the lounge in the afternoon.

Lifestyle Videos

My goal at each location was to shoot a variety of scenes showcasing ‘how the locals live’.

3 x social media feature videos were produced to showcase each location. These videos were exported to 2:1 ratio and are perfect for Instagram and Facebook.

Social Media Feature Video – Melbourne Apartment & Lifestyle

Armed with my Panasonic GH5 and an assortment of lenses, I walked just over 20,000 steps in Sydney as I shot a bunch of lifestyle footage.

Social Media Feature Video – Sydney Apartment & Lifestyle

I really like the 2:1 ratio. I think it makes for a nice change to 16:9 and can be really effective when used for feature lifestyle videos like these.

Social Media Feature Video – Noosa Apartment & Lifestyle

What did the client say?

I love it! These videos definitely tell a story and the music works really well too.

Things I love:

  • The transitions through to night/day. These are so great!
  • The way you use people in the video is awesome.
  • You have captured some really great location footage.
  • I love the zooming transitions and the music is so fun!
  • The fast tempo to slow tempo throughout the video, matching the music is great. You have used this across the social videos too. It keeps it vibrant.
  • The video is super engaging and lively!

I really liked this, Dave. I’m going to send this around to everyone!

K. Hamilton – Marketing Coordinator, RSL Queensland.


Once production was completed, I brought home 400GB worth of video and images back to the editing suite.

Ok, so let’s get editing. But where to start?

Before I do anything, I back up my footage. At least twice.

The data stored on those little SD cards can be worth thousands of dollars, and trust me, there is no worse a feeling than having that data disappear for whatever reason.

Yes, it’s happened to me 3 times now! I’ve had hard drives fail on me and I’ve lost data thanks to power failures.

Tips for making sure you never lose your data!

  • Get yourself an uninterrupted power supply (UPS)
  • NEVER Cut and Paste / ALWAYS Copy and Paste
  • Back up your data to at least 2 separate locations (separate hard drives)

If however, the worst happens and for whatever reason you do lose your data – don’t despair because all hope is not lost. In fact, chances are you will get your data recovered but the most important thing to remember is:

  • Do not install ANY data recovery software!!

I have lost data 3 times now and Alex from Computer Fixperts has recovered my data every time. These guys are truly the gurus of data recovery and I highly recommend them.

Data safe and sound? Ok, let’s get cracking.

I typically start with my time-lapse sequences because I’m always super excited to see how they turned out!

More often than not, you only get to see a very short few seconds of a time-lapse sequence in these promo videos.

So, for those who would like to see more, here’s the full set of time-lapse clips filmed from the balcony at the prize apartment in Melbourne.

Melbourne Time-lapse Sequences

Full time-lapse sequence – Melbourne apartment views – twilight and sunrise.

I really enjoy watching the cloud formations and how the wind sends ripples across the water.

The lights at night are stunning and although it was a cloudy sunrise, its great to see hot air balloons fly over in the morning, the glimpse of morning sunlight behind the buildings and how the clouds reflect upon the water.

Enjoying the views in Melbourne!

Sydney Time-lapse Sequences

Likewise, you only get to see a snippet of the Sydney time-lapse. So, here’s the full collection of time-lapse sequences filmed in Sydney.

A series of time-lapse sequences I filmed while on location in Sydney (March 2019) working on a project for the RSL Art Union (Draw 365).

Sort the rushes

Rushes are the raw footage, straight off the camera. This footage needs to be sorted and I like to group the footage with the most potential on a timeline.

I create a separate timeline for each location. Within each timeline I use titles to differentiate groups of footage. For example, I group all the internal lounge shots together, the deck, the views, bedrooms, externals etc.

I refer back to these rush sequences countless times throughout the editing process. So, to save time, before I begin any specific edits, I will go through all the rush sequences and perform my colour correcting and adjust things like highlights/shadows.

Editing the TVC in Premiere Pro

Putting the digital jig-saw together

Editing is like putting a digital jig-saw together.

You have a vague idea of what the final picture should look like and so you start piecing together the video clips.

It’s a sometimes tedious process of trial and error, playback and review, tweak and trim until finally those few seconds of edited footage stir an emotion that feels right.

For the TVC, my client had quite a lot of creative control. My brief was to start with scenery from all 3 locations. Graphics were supplied and used where requested.

The narrative is the backbone of the video

With only a 15 second duration, basically each second was edited to fit with the script.

I often refer to the voice-over as the back bone, the skeleton if you will. The video footage is then selected to visually re-enforce the script, word for word.

I thought dividing the screen into thirds worked nicely, so that was a technique I used twice in the TVC.

Television commercials need to meet a number of strict guidelines in order to pass for broadcast. One of those being only 75 words are allowed for terms and conditions which are to be displayed on screen at all times for a 15s commercial.

So its a real balancing act when dividing the real estate on screen. The lower thirds area has permanent graphics, while the main area shares supplied graphics and video.

I enjoy the challenge of finding creative ways to include all the required information on screen without making things too busy or hectic.

Once a 15 second sequence has been created and everything seems to flow nicely, the music is the final piece. It’s purpose is to create excitement on some level, but it needs to be very subtle.

RSL Art Union Draw 365 // Voice-over by Mark Greasley

The music needs to have a certain energy about it and most importantly be set to a level that doesn’t distract from the voice-over.

Music sets the tone

Music websites that I use include:

RSL Art Union Draw 365 – 30s Web Promo

I have produced over a dozen promotional videos for the RSL Art Union prize home lotteries now but this one in my opinion has been the most intense as far as production and editing is concerned.

It’s also been the most rewarding. Good luck to all those who enter!

Check out RSL Art Union Draw 365 here!

Dave Dwyer

Dave is a Video Producer and Photography based in Brisbane, Australia. With more than a decades experience in video production, Dave brings a unique set of skills and experience to his craft.

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