Blog

Matterport Tours are Picking up Momentum in North Texas

It’s been a very exciting first quarter for us at Metroplex360.com!  Here are some highlights of what we’ve been up to!

50+ Matterport Tours in 2017 and Counting.

We’ve been receiving a massive increase in requests for Matterport 3D Tours and are now running a team of three trained professionals to better serve your scheduling needs.  We’re excited to be serving new clients including Darling Homes, new Keller-Williams Realtors as well as new partnerships with nationwide agencies that trust Metroplex360.com for fulfilling their tours.

WP Matterport Shortcode Updates.

Matterport Service Partners across the world use our WordPress Plugin  to easily embed their tours in galleries on their websites.  Our plugin allows tours to open in a pop-up lightbox that floats above the website rather than being confined to the area provided.  In addition, it’s easy to display tours in a grid!

Faster Photography Delivery Times.

We’re now offering 48 hour turn-around time on photography and have a dedicated team of artists that have taken our photography to a new level of excellence.  We’ve made sure that existing clients will still experience the same level of attention to detail and high-dynamic range photography.  It’s just gotten better!

Google Streetview Parterships

With the sunsetting of the Google Business View program, we’ve partnered with GoThru.co to continue offering massive, immersive Google Street View tours — and now are offering a free Matterport Tour with every order.  Get the best of both worlds!

 

Keep Checking Our Portfolio! 

We always upload our latest shoots to our portfolio and Matterport page.

2016 has been an Incredible Year at Metroplex360

 

As 2016 comes to an end, we would love to thank the Realtors, property management managers and marketing teams as well as the small businesses that we’ve had the pleasure to work with. We’ve had the busiest year yet and created over 150 Matterport Models and provided HDR photography services to over 30 apartment communities across the state of Texas.

Our Matterport 3D Virtual Tour has become a cornerstone of our business. In 2016, Matterport’s platform grew to include VR for Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear as well as improved navigation with the ability to zoom for a closer look, view labels on floorplans and link to exterior content and other models using MatterTags.

In 2016, we began offering extensive Google Street View publishing services, created 3rd Party Matterport Tools and launched www.matterapps.com (MP2SQFT+ Square Feet Calculator for Matterport, MatterStats RSS Feed for E-mail and Web and an upcoming Matterport Tour Enhancement Project) as a joint project with the We-Get-Around Referral Network.

We’ve made great connections with the geniuses at Matterport and Planitar — two leading visionaries in the world of 3D Virtual Tours, launched a Google Street View conversion service with Planitar at www.mp2sv.com and hope to work closer with Matterport in 2017.

We continue to develop and innovate on our Easy Interactive Floorplan product — the first Interactive Floorplan for the web that works on all modern browsers, tablets and phones!  We added hotspots for photos, videos and even Matterport Tours along with improving performance and touch controls!

We’d love to thank valued clients such as W3 Luxury Living, Pinnacle, Implicity Management, Landon Homes, Susan Bishop Realtor, the Kenny Conoley Team, Dan Smigrod / We Get Around Referral Network, Outhouse, Elevated Plans, Atria Living and Weinstein Properties. There are countless incredible clients that we get an opportunity to serve.

2017 will be here soon and as Realtors relist their homes and apartment management set their budget — we’d love to be the service provider that you call to create high quality visuals!

Call us today!  1-888-METR-360

Matterport Featured on CNN Money

“Realtors are taking home sales beyond glossy pictures. Potential buyers can now ‘step foot’ into more homes in a shorter amount of time by viewing listings in 3D and virtual reality.”

As one of the premiere Matterport Service Providers in the state of Texas, we are thrilled to see CNN.com’s recent video article – ‘Virtual Reality is the new open house’.

We love how CNN has demonstrated how incredible the Matterport Showcase Tour is as well as showcasing the VR capabilities that will soon be fully released!


Source

If you are looking for a trusted Matterport Service Provider in North Texas, contact us at Metroplex360 today! Call us at 888-METR-360 to schedule a tour today! Want to see more? Take a look at our gallery of over 100 tours.

Ten Reasons why Ricoh Theta S is a Bad Street View Camera

As a trusted Google Street View photographer, we take the quality of our work seriously.  For years, we’ve produced industry leading panoramic photography.  Our methodology is to shoot RAW HDR photography using a Digital SLR Camera, a Fisheye Lens, and a panoramic tripod head (panohead).  HDR photography generates a high-dynamic range — wherein the image contains details within dark and bright areas.  We can adjust each scene to look gorgeous!  Each image is shot at f/9.5 – an aperture ensures that each image has a great depth-of-field.  This is very important when shooting rooms.

One of the challenges of offering high-quality panoramic photography is that it’s extremely time consuming to process the imagery, thus it demands a premium pricepoint.

Recently, Google began to promote the Ricoh Theta S as their featured camera for Google Streetview submissions.  It’s fast and it’s easy to use.  Google boasts that at the $350 pricepoint, you will be able to experience ‘Exceptional Quality’.  You can even use their new Street View App to publish ‘Photospheres’

https://www.google.com/streetview/publish/

Our findings are that this neat device is the perfect opportunity for a new generation of lazy streetview photographers offering a subpar product.

Ten Reasons why Ricoh Theta S is a Bad Street View Camera:

  1. Quality is NOT Exceptional
    In our recent tours, we actually found that the quality is quite low.  Certain areas of the image were fuzzy due to lighting differences and the two cameras being unsuitable to the task.
  2. Image size is limited to 5376 x 2688.
    Google Trusted Photographers must submit images at at least 6000px width.  You are limited to using the Street View app to submit ‘photospheres’ or upscaling your images to proceed.
  3. Image Quality is Highly Compressed JPEG
    Professional Photography demands RAW images.  We shoot in HDR, which combines the data from 3 separate images with 24-bit image information.  Theta shoots JPEG files that average 1MB each, contain JPEG artifacting, and the inflated megapixel count isn’t true 1:1 pixels.  When editing, the image cannot be adjusted easily without exacerbating the flaws in the low image quality.
  4. GPS Data is stored, but is relative to your Phone
    The promise of automatically stitching images shot with the Ricoh Theta S is decimated when the photographer realizes that the coordinates are relative to where they stood while taking images.  Google attempts to automatically map the images, but the results are completely inaccurate and many images are automatically link-locked, forcing the photographer to strip the GPS information and reupload.  It’s still necessary to set ‘North’ to on each image and manually link the tour.
  5. F/2.0 offers little Depth-of-Field
    Any architectural photographer will tell you that you should set your camera to f/9 or higher to retain detail throughout the scene.  Ricoh Theta S is limited to a f/2.0.  Ricoh’s web based viewer massively distorts the images when displaying them as spherical projections, which warps the image in such a way that this isn’t noticeable.  It is noticeable in street view.
  6. Ricoh Theta S is a 360 Selfie-Camera
    Any event photographer will tell you that you should use a camera with a low aperture (f/stop) to capture faces and unfocus the background.  As the Ricoh Theta S is limited to f/2.0, it’s perfect for capturing detail up close — not in the distance.  Why do you think that the majority of the Ricoh Theta examples on their website are selfies?
  7. Ricoh Theta S creates a Market for Amateur Street View Photographers with Low Pricing
    This camera opens the door wide to a new generation of photographers excited to jump on the Google Street View bandwagon.  This is unfortunate as it will flood the market with competition that is not apples-to-apples.  Low quality tours at low prices that confuse consumers and create distrust towards professional solutions.
  8. Google Street View App Doesn’t Post Trusted Street Views, is Unreliable and Lacks Features
    The suggested workflow for the Ricoh Theta S is to shoot imagery, which is then directly sent to a phone to upload with the Google Streetview App.  The streetview app does not take advantage of the ‘HDR’ mode available for the camera which offers a slightly better image (but not comparable to HDR on a Digital SLR).  The Street View App also does not allow users to blur license plates or faces.  The Street View App does not allow precision positioning of photospheres on Google Maps.  Connecting scenes is easy, but one cannot set ‘North’.  As GPS comes from the phone, not the camera, ‘North’ is often wrong and results in jumping between scenes also spinning the viewer around to face the wrong direction.  Finally, attribution for the tours will be given to the Google Account that was used, not the Trusted Street View photographer, even if he/she is using the same Google Account.  You cannot post directly to a ‘Look Inside’ tour either.  Your tours just get added to the photo highlights.  Not great for SEO.
  9. Proper Workflow is Silly
    In order to not use the Google Street View App, a photographer will need to upscale their images to 6000px width and strip out GPS information in order to injest and then manipulate their tours with freedom.  Upscaling images is rather gross and I frowned upon myself when doing it (so no need to frown on me).  These steps are rather silly and are a ‘work-around’ that should not need to be experienced on a new piece of tech.
  10. You Look Silly using It.
    If you’re a professional, you certainly want to look like one to your clients.  Having a DSLR camera with a panohead looks rather authoratative.  If you are have an IRIS360 device, you look like a Rock Star.  If you have a little selfie stick on a tripod, it’s a little bit embarrassing.

Buyer beware!  Ricoh Theta S is not a proper Street View Camera and should be avoided by professionals.

Compare Ricoh Theta S (with current firmware/HDR):

Nikon DSLR w/Fisheye Lens

Matterport Tour with Showcase Reel and 3D Dollhouse:

Our findings are that the Matterport Tour offers the best balance between user experience, mobile first design and marketing features such as the 3D Dollhouse, Floorplan view and Showcase Reel.  For Google Street View, nothing compares to old-fashioned professional panoramic photography.

Ricoh Theta S wins for laziness.

I’m offering the group of clients who ‘beta tested’ this now retired service a credit towards an upgrade.

It’s Raining in August — Summer is Over!

We’ve been quite since June on our blog and are now taking a moment to catch our breath after an amazing (hot) summer with photo shoots across Texas.  It’s been raining cats and dogs throughout Texas, which is bizarre for August — which is the perfect bookend to a very busy month!  Since June 1, we’ve shot 52 Matterport Tours, visited over 20 apartment communities and shot over a dozen homes!

It’s been an exciting time for the Matterport platform as EXTERIOR panoramic tours are now available as well as an official Google Cardboard app for viewing in VR!

Additionally, we’re now launching Google Street View interior tours powered by the RICOH Theta S camera.  We’re currently testing and offering free street view for apartment communities that place an order for Matterport tours during the month of September.  Ask us about it.  We’re having fun with the tool, but don’t believe all the hype.  This little ‘Gadget of the Year’ device does a reasonable job, but with a very low aperture, it lacks the depth of field that you get with the Matterport Camera or traditional DSLR panoramas.  We’ll be posting examples and covering it a bit more in the following months.

Night Photography in Houston, TX

Modern Luxury!  3 Story Clubhouse – over 8,000 SQFT!

This amazing tour really takes advantage of the Matterport Dollhouse functionality as the third floor is only accessible via elevator or staircase.  We’ve contacted Matterport with an idea to tie the ‘MatterTags’ feature in with 360 Exterior Views and changing scenes as we’d love to let our clients ‘use’ elevators to access other floors in a model.  What do you think?

Sample Google Streetview with Ricoh Theta S

Using the default firmware and the Google Streetview App, we snapped a few ‘free’ tours for clients recently.  We’re looking forward to testing the Ricoh Theta S out further by using the native app with it’s HDR functionality that is not found in Google Streetview’s App.  We’re also looking forward to the ‘improved quality’ that the new firmware promises.  I’d love to see a fixed 2.0 aperture camera compensate for depth of field though …. stay tuned! 🙂

I am a bit critical of Google Streetview as I believe that the interface is extremely cumbersome and confusing for visitors.  For photographers, the ability to upload, refine and edit the way that the tour is composed is quite terrible too.  For a platform that has been available for so long, it’s amazing that a photographer does not have the ability to go to a control panel wherein all of their tours can be viewed, reviewed and revised.  For that reason, interior Street View tours are a bit of a gimmick.

Schedule Multiple Apartment Portfolio Photo Shoots

It’s officially summer – the ideal time to book photo shoots for your apartment communities.

At the end of May, we were able to shoot 5 amazing new properties for a client with locations ranging from Aubrey, TX to Seabrook!  We’re working with multiple management companies to rapidly create an amazing portfolio of their new communities and would love to work with you too!

Matterport 3D Showcase vs Google Street View

Metroplex360.com is a Matterport 3D Service Partner and Google Street View Trusted Photographer.

We believe that both products are separate and are not competing technologies.  We’d love to break down the differences to help you choose which is right for you!

msp-logo

Why Matterport 3D Showcase is Better than Google Street View

Easier Navigation
Navigate seamlessly through a business, home or apartment using the mouse, a touch screen or your keyboard.  Zoom in and out of a doll-house or floorplan view. With Matterport, exploring is exciting!

Massive Number of Different Angles/Views
With Matterport, a home may have well over 100 different viewing angles that you can access as you walk through!  With traditional panoramas, each scene takes a great amount of post-processing and load time to view.  The same home may have 1 pano to every 10 matterport tours.

MatterTags / Schematic Floorplans / Added Features
Annotate items in the tour with a Mattertag to provide more information!  For under $40, you can also order schematic floorplans from a Matterport service partner and they are delivered within 24 hours.  That’s a great feature that takes advantage of the 3D Floorplan mapping technology!

Lower Cost
Matterport tours are affordably priced as the technology minimizes the cost of post-processing and developing the tour.

Sets a Standard for Quality and Consistency
Matterport tours are unedited tours — the Matterport Camera and Cloud platform creates consistent results and set a standard that can be trusted.

Google-Streetview-Trusted-Photographer

Why Google Street View is Better Than Matterport 3D Showcase

Indexed into your Google Listing
Your tour can be navigated directly from Google searches from the ‘See Inside’ option.Google-Streetview-Example

Outside Areas
Matterport is for indoor panoramas only.   Google Street View goes anywhere!

Higher Resolution / Higher Image Quality – Traditional panoramas can be post-processed and edited so they appear more like studio / magazine photograpy in nature.  This creates a very wide range of results in quality depending on the photographer.  If you use a great trusted photographer with a great portfolio of proven results, you’ll get great Street View images.

The Verdict –

Matterport is better for private residences, and detailed walkthrough tours as it has better user experience and overall engagement. It’s simply more fun!

Google Street View is better for search engine optimization.  Navigation can be very confusing as Street View tours are limited by the number of panoramas that are shot.  Taking a large number of panoramic tours is time consuming and costly, therefore, selective areas of interest are best.

Should I use Google Street View or Matterport?

Use both.  They both have a different purpose and are complimentary products.  Get a handful of panoramas shot for public areas that you want to market on Google; get Matterport tours of everything else!

Hopefully one day Matterport will be able to used to shoot exterior areas; and hopefully one day Google will work with Matterport to integrate their technology with built-in GPS into Street View.  It’s a no-brainer!

Book Your Apartment Photography and Matterport Tours

As Spring turns to Summer in Texas, it’s the right time to book us for community photography and Matterport tours!  We’ve started 2016 off with several amazing shoots with our friends at Pinnacle, America’s #3 Largest Apartment Management Company.  Pinnacle are masters at renovating and improving the value of decent communities in great areas — producing a first class product.  We love visiting their beautiful communities!

Avery at Southwestern – Dallas, TX – Resort Pool

2803 Riverside – Grand Prairie, TX – Model


Remember, we cover all of Texas and even travel!  In March, Implicity Management hired us to come to San Antonio for a set of photos for many of their communities!

Navona at Live Oak – San Antonio, TX – Night Photos

Astoria Apartments – Model Apartment


http://www.astoriaapartmenthomes.com – Website by Metroplex360.com (we make sites too!)

Realtors Offering Matterport 3D Tours in Dallas / Fort Worth

With 2016 fully in swing, the Dallas / Fort Worth Realty market is warming up towards summer.  We have been hearing stories from our Realtor friends about winning listings by staying creative and offering unique solutions to sellers.  Have you missed an opportunity by not offering Matterport 3D Tours?  Is your listing failing to attract buyers due to a lack of visuals?

Here’s a listing of awesome Realtors offering Matterport 3D Tours in the DFW Area:

The Hunter Dehn Group, Dallas, TX
http://hunterdehn.com/
http://hunterdehn.com/project/6335-pemberton/

The Heldoorn Team – Southlake, TX
http://www.heldoornteam.com/

DC Turner – Engel & Völkers – Argyle, TX
http://www.lantanarealty.com/

Liliana Hay – Liliana Hay Homes – Dallas, TX
http://www.lilianahayhomes.com/

Andy McCasland – Keller Williams – The Mitchell Group Keller – Fort Worth, TX
http://www.dfwhomeseeker.com/agents/24065-Andrew-McCasland/
http://andrewmccasland.yourkwagent.com/