VR Experiment (Mi Sphere Takes the Cake)

What have I learned about 360 cameras? 

For one, the Gear 360 was trendy and cool when it came out. Alas, its time has passed. The new affordable alternative is the Mi Sphere, created and shipped by Xiaomi from China. The best thing about this 360 camera, is that they do not have copyright limitations in China. Xiaomi has ripped off all the great features of a dual lens 360 camera. The still shot resolution is large enough to create beautiful virtual tours. So after playing with the Gear360 I returned it to Amazon. The best part about that camera was the iPhone and Mac compatibility. The Mac Desktop Application is supposedly coming for the Mi Sphere, so I shall wait. 

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In the meantime, the PC desktop application works. I am a little disappointed the Gear360 software was not compatible with my new device. The Xiaomi Mi Sphere PC software is tiny on my high res screen, thus I need to use the magnifier to see what is going on. However, it does stitch the images/video together quite nicely. I will be making Virtual tours in no time. ^_^

At this time I am packing up my things, and moving to a new place. This means I will have 2 empty homes to photograph and experiment with for my new hobby. I wont have a product until November, but when the time comes to share it I will be able to host these tours on my website with a word press plugin, I am considering “iPanorama” or “WP Virtual Tours” … I pay for a hosing service that I am not truly using. My dream is to add another domain to my hosting and sell links to realtors, The guests will be navigated to my alt domain and get to interact with potential homes as much as they would like. 

Very excite!

ThreeSixtyCameras Comparison: Gear 360 vs Mi Sphere

Many Thanks to Ben from “Life in 360” on Youtube, check out his review on the Xiaomi Mi Sphere 360 camera: 

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Virtual Tour Programs for WordPress

iPanorama is a program I’d love to experiment with. I would like to learn how to use programs that can create virtual tours with 360 degree panoramas (and have WordPress compatibility). I wonder … what is it the perfect tool for me to build virtual tours? What can it do? What else is important to include? What else do I need to make an efficient tour? 

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Short Code: ipanorama id= “3224” width= “100%” height= “240px”


I might also try the WP Virtual Tour plugin for WordPress, it shows how the portals work as hot spots, that is essential functionality for my tours.

I also found a pano embed tool for WordPress, but you would need one of those $$$ programs to create your tours first. 

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VR and Real Estate

Recently I have been looking through postings on Zillow.com and other Real Estate websites to look at home listings in my town and what they are selling for. It’s interesting at this time not many listings include video or virtual walkthroughs. New Virtual Tour technology has not effected the realtors in my area yet, and this technology is here. My goal is to figure out how to make beautiful virtual tours, and market them to people who are really making money. Starting with my neighborhood Realtor! 

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What will be involved?

  1. First I need a 360 degree camera, I picked the Gear 360 (2017) video camera. 
  2. Then I need a program to edit and publish virtual tours, I’ll try iPanorama for now. I choose this program because it is a WordPress plugin that has been tested with my current version on WordPress. It seems like everything I need for $25.
  3. $250 later I will have everything needed for a DIY Virtual Tour. I can’t wait!

First I will need to install the memory card, possibly charge the battery of the device. I’ve already downloaded the app for my iPhone 7. Then I will need to find a tripod that is minimalistic. I’ll go to an open space and experiment. Once I have some footage I’ll play with my demo of iPanorama. Once I create a few 360 degree panorama views I will try to add hotspots or portals that will navigate you from one center image to the next just by clicking. Lots of these programs offer free trials with watermarks. Which isn’t what I want for my finished product but it is great for experimenting with what is possible. I hope to investigate the possibility of voice over, logos, ect. Thanks to iPanorama I have a way to embed them on my website if all goes well. Further down the line I might consider a tour hosing site like “TourBuzz.” This is a program that is marketed toward Real Estate Agents. It costs $15 a tour and it is extremely shareable and includes all the bells and whistles important to the target audiences (the Seller, Potential Buyers and the Relator). 

What are companies charging for tours? 

  • 3000 sqft = $200-$500
  • 2br=100 euros

What is out there as far as virtual tour companies? What is a fair price to charge clients? Top 11 Most Innovative Real Estate Virtual Tour Companies

11. Our first contestant is OpenHouse charging a monthly rate. $30/mo and a staging fee of $60 per photo. 

10. Real Tour Vision is next These guys are selling programs that are for a diverse variety of clients. They want $100 for their Real Estate software. 

09. ImagineAHome wins, they are using drones, WOW. They want $100 for 5 Images and $235 for 8 scenes, every extra scene is $20. The portals/hotspots work beautifully, it’s truly a premium virtual tour. 

08. Imagemaker360 offers tours and web hosting for tours a business would sell to their clients. It really polishes all of the issues a realtor might have with virtual tours. 

07. Houssmax is expensive, but they have an algorithm that lets you figure out what your tour would cost. My example was a townhome less than 2500-3000sqft estimated price $300. This includes 30 still shots and 120 sec of video. They will charge $0.17/sqft for anything over 3000sqft (until you get to the next price range.) They are marketing to get everything a potential buyer would want to know. 

06. BlueLaVaMedia pricing starting at $125 for their basic package and up to $250 for the full house package. 

05. Planitar brings the consumer an “iGuide,” this pricing example is for a company in Arizona. They want $50 a tour, or $50 a month. They include all the bells and whistles. 

04. 3DScanExperts are hardcore, they are making tours for VR headsets. This experience is full submersion, it feels like you are at a showing. They still want $500 for a home with 2000-4000 sqft. 

The rest of these are the big fish in the sea, the professionals $$$$: ADhocStudioStartVR, and Floored.

Ok, so now I’ve browsed through what the Pros are doing. I will need to do a test run before I can decide on a fee that would make virtual tours worth my time and overall investment.  It seems like $100 a tour would be a great price, and maybe I could add logos, voice overs and blue prints for extra fees. I will ponder these questions for now. 

Live, Love & Inspire!

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