New Virtual Tour Options, At Less Cost
Over And Above Photography has been offering 3D virtual tours for several years. The hardware and applications we use were developed by and are maintained by Matterport who is a world leader in 3D capture technology.
Recently Matterport announced their new “Cortex” AI-powered image-processing software. This amazing new technology allows consumer level “one-shot” (Insta360™ ONE X and Ricoh Theta V) cameras to be used to create Matterport 3D spaces.
The new “entry-level” solution creates the same 3D Dollhouse and Floor plan modes for clients who don’t require the accuracy, performance, and image quality of Matterport’s professional products. What this means for the business owner, real estate agent, or just interested consumer is that it is possible to create 3D spaces for much less investment and ongoing cost than it has up until now.
The following is what we are being told at this time concerning costs:
- The approved cameras cost less than $400.
- It will cost around $20 for the processing of a model.
- Hosting on Matterport servers (Required) will cost $10/month for up to 5 models.
Note Matterport has not yet confirmed the above costs.
How does the new technology differ from the professional level option
- Much less resolution with the current consumer cameras than the Matterport Pro 2. 30 MB vs 134 MB for Matterport Pro 2. This will affect the quality of the dollhouse and floor plan views as well as individual scans.
- Can not order floor plans for spaces.
- Less accurate measurements since not using infrared measuring by camera.
Over And Above Photography has been part of the beta testing of this new product.
We recently did the St. George’s Hall conference room at Trapp Family Lodge using both the Matterport Pro 2 and the Ricoh Theta V. You can compare the models below
Ricoh Theta V
As you can see in the Dollhouse and Floor Plan Views (to view click icons in lower left of model) are markedly better in the Matterport camera model. The image quality when moving inside the model is also better with the Matterport but certainly acceptable for the Theta V. It all depends on your needs as to resolution.
As a company that strives for the best possible imaging the new Cortex technology will augment our current offerings providing us ways to get better results for our clients using the approved consumer level cameras combined with our current equipment. Improvement should be possible in the following ways.
How does the new software help professional users?
Large Open Areas – The Infra-red sensors on the Matterport Pro-2 Camera have a limited range of 6 – 10 meters. This can create difficulties when capturing large open spaces. By using Cortex, we can align the same, high quality imagery, using image-processing to align when out of range for 3D Scanning
Small Spaces – When capturing a full 3D model, the Pro-2 Camera can have difficulty fitting into smaller spaces due to the span of the tripod and the device itself. With the ability to add scans from a smaller camera mounted to a monopod, we are able to add views in tight spaces that were impossible before.
Sunlight – As demonstrated above, the Pro-2 camera’s infra-red sensor cannot penetrate direct sunlight, thus creating holes in 3D models where sunlight is present. This can happen when there is a large window without blinds or if there is an open garage space. This also happens when capturing patio areas where sun is unevenly streaming into the space. With Cortex image-processing, these areas can be filled in and captured without alignment issues.
Image Distortion – The Matterport Pro-2 camera creates amazing 134 megapixel imagery, but struggles with objects that are too close to it’s image sensor. This is often seen when the camera is close to the rails in a staircase or a window with multiple sections. The result is that images are sometimes mangled. By using alternate cameras that have less problems with short range capture, we are able to serve customers with high expectations image fidelity. While imagery may fall short of the quality of the Pro-2 camera, it may make the difference between an accurate representation of a product and one that compromises the subject.
Outside spaces - up to now scanning outside has been difficult, or impossible, due to sunlight overpowering the infra-red sensors. With the Cortex technology we should be able to add more landscaping and other details to a model.
With the combination of 3D Scanning and AI-powered image processing for generation of 3D models, we are excited about Matterport’s continued dedication for innovation and the increasing strength of their 3D Showcase platform. We expect to see increased interest in multiple markets creating more demand and opportunity to use Matterport 3D Showcase as a marketing and documentation tool for our existing and new clients.