Matterport for Everyone

In this article:
On India's 75th Independence Day, we offer some practical tips for everyone interested in Matterport 3D virtual tours.

This article is for those new to Matterport 3D virtual tours. We explain what’s involved in a simple language, so that everyone can try out 3D scanning without the need of professional equipment or the technical know-how.

This is also not solely intended for those trying to make a profession out of 3D scanning services, but for the common man who can use the platform for something as simple as digital documentation of their property. We show how anyone can create a virtual tour for fun or for work.

No More Phobia

Nomophobia is a term that represents anxiety while away from a smartphone. Otherwise called as mobile addiction. We are all addicted to our cell phones to an extent – it’s time to make the habit productive and fun. 

iPhone for Matterport - Adostrophe

Grab your smartphone, install the Matterport Capture app and start scanning your room right away. The free plan allows you to keep one model active, which means you can share it with friends and family.

Traveling? Great! Scan your hotel room (when it’s presentable and personal items hidden away) or the lobby when there aren’t guests or staff around.

Matterport Axis in India - Adostrophe

Once you’re comfortable with scanning 3D virtual tours with just your smartphone, you could consider investing in a motorised mount like the Matterport Axis shown above. This automates most of the tricky alignments and rotating in a pivot. 

As Matterport Capture Technicians, we take up projects that are mostly inbound requests. In certain rare cases, such as a hotel owner – they won’t even understand what 3D photography is, unless a live demo is given or they try it themselves. If this innovation becomes popular, the potential is immense in India with more than 75% of real estate still not digitized. This again hints at the employment opportunities for the workforce available in the country.

For inspiration, see the gallery of models that were created by smartphones, in the bottom of this article (External Links).

Where to Travel?

Sorin Mihailovici is a traveler who throws darts at a map while blindfolded. He then visits the place where the dart has landed, no matter what.

Unlike earlier, we now have plenty of safe and affordable options to travel, stay and experience the new environment. If you don’t want to let the choice go to chance, plan a trip to war memorials and museums in India – you’ll be surprised how accommodative and friendly the curators are.

If you travel solo or as a group, there’s always an opportunity to get a virtual tour created, as simple as whipping out your phone to take a photo or a video. Here’s an example:

Click Play on the bottom left corner for highlights. Experience the virtual tour otherwise by clicking to move to the next scan point and panning around for a panoramic view.

As a company which offers these virtual tours as a paid service, we had to use professional scanners. However, your smartphone can do something similar – the idea is to practice instead of worrying too much about the quality.

How to Use the Content?

Alright, now you have the URL ready and have already sent it to your friends over WhatsApp. Next, think about how you can make it popular, even if it doesn’t translate into a financial gain immediately.

 – Upload the scans to Google Maps/StreetView from the Matterport account. This will not only enable the property to be visible to a large audience, but will also motivate you to contribute to the society in general. 

 – Send the model link to the property owners and ask for their opinion. If they like it, they might just ask you to scan more even if it’s not a paid project. That’s a great start!

 – Immortalise the 3D tour:
If you’re done creating the Matterport tour, go ahead and spend some time organising the Highlight Reels. You can now also add descriptions to make the scenes tell a story. Creativity is the limit!
Immortalise your work by screen recording the highlight reels (in a mobile or desktop device) to turn it into a video. Here’s a sample:

As a beginner who’s testing the waters, you can just use the Free subscription plan in Matterport to capture a space and record it into a video like the above sample. Then, archive the model in your Matterport account, so that you can scan the next location, without having to pay anything more.

The Downside of Upgrading

If you’ve created enough tours using your smartphone, you might get tempted to upgrade. Beyond investing in a Matterport subscription plan, purchasing a 360 degree camera (like the Ricoh Theta X) or the professional scanners would be the next step.

Breaking even and getting paid projects might take a while. It is important to set the right expectations and be prepared. One way to do this is to follow the official social media channels to see the awesome content created by others globally. Every so often, someone is selling their equipment because they don’t need it any longer.

Matterport with BLK360 G2 - Adostrophe

The Lecia BLK360 is the highest upgrade you can ask for, at least, in terms of compatibility with Matterport. The image above is of the new version G2, that was released recently. As on 15th August, 2020, the new laser-based scanner is not compatible with Matterport, while the older model (G1) still is.

The newly launched G2 is smaller (making it flight-friendly) and faster (5 times compared to G1). In terms of picture quality, the device features HDR with 4 cameras.

Matterport’s in-house scanner, the Pro2, is around the 4 lakh bracket, which uses Infra-Red technology. To purchase the Pro2 scanner, visit the official site for info on Value Added Resellers (VARs).

Laser scanners, however, are preferred in sectors like Architecture where accuracy is a priority, BLK360 devices can scan larger areas faster and with more detail, compared to the Matterport Pro2. Another advantage is the ability to scan outdoors in direct sunlight – a critical consideration in luxury real estate and universities.

So, the catch is the cost factor with these professional cameras. Also, they are surely not as portable as a smartphone or a Ricoh Theta Z1. 

We do not have any official information on when and if the Matterport Pro3 would be launched. It was intended to be able to scan even in direct sunlight, by adopting LiDAR instead of InfraRed. 

Making India a Better Place

Google Local Guides keep posting images and reviews on Google Maps so that others benefit from the unbiased information. Through the Matterport platform, panoramic images can be uploaded directly to Google Maps (Streetview) along with connections. This means that a user can move from one end of a store to another by clicking on the arrows. 

Virtual tours can also be a more interactive form of experiencing a place, in cases such as elders being unable to travel. You scan the location and send the link to them so that they can pan around and move to any section, at their own pace. Use a compatible VR headset, to take the experience to a new level altogether.

Contributing to digitization and documentation, has many long-term benefits such as availability of data for launching new projects. Presented right, the masses can learn to leverage these innovations to turn a profit.

Read more on the pilot project between Google and Bangalore Traffic Police at the end of the article.

Matterport for Hotels in India - Adostrophe

Matterport tours are popular in the Real Estate and Hospitality sectors. Home buyers and guests can view the property they way they want to, unlike a traditional photo or video. 

Sending a link to the target audience is easier, without the need of large-sized files. For these businesses, the Matterport 3D tours are a unique and modern form of digital marketing, in a competitive marketplace. The photographers contribute to the economy by making these establishments profitable.

Tips for Advanced Matterport Users

If you have created a virtual tour yourself or through a professional, here are some tips for a customised presentation to your audience:

  • To hide the ‘Presented By’ and contact details in the ‘About’ section, add a URL parameter (&brand=0) to the end of the link. For example – https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=GsDMPdiS6rb&brand=0
  • To display the virtual tour as a video, screen record the highlights and upload to YouTube. Adobe software is not necessary for basic capture and play. 
  • While scanning, plan your pathway in advance by doing a recce. Make sure the scan points are in a straight line and equi-distant. Mark windows, mirrors and trims as you scan and not towards the end.
  • To combine two separate models into one, contact Matterport support about the possibility and pricing.
  • Indian users can use this registration link to sign up at Captur3D for free (75 credits) – https://captur3d.io/free-trial?ref=adostrophe
    Captur3D can enhance your Matterport models with advanced overlays, floor plans, staging, custom branding and more. 
  • You can also download a single scan point as a panorama to use on your Streetview profile.

The above embed is from a Google Maps – Streetview upload. Notice that a user can pan around to the pool and zoom in, without having to leave this web page.

External Links

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