Archive for January, 2009

We are very pleased to announce many new features on our virtual home tours here in TC. You can read all about BlueLaVaMedia in the our latest Grand Traverse virtual tour newsletter for January 2009. We now import your Traverse virtual tours directly into the most popular social bookmarking sites which helps promote further syndication of your listings online. You will also be very pleased to know that our new virtual tour links (SpiderLinks(tm)) are search engine friendly and get indexed by all search engine spiders! As a final note please keep your eye out for our new Social Networking Workshop that will be open to all TAAR members. This will be a free service provided by Jason LaVanture of BlueLaVaMedia. Take some time to read more about these new features and upcoming events in our newsletter found here: Traverse City Virtual News
Enjoy the weekend!!! Team BlueLaVa
Order a Northern Michigan virtual tour – 877-941-TOUR (8687)

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Here is some information for all you Canon SLR users out there. I have been shooting interactive virtual tours here at BlueLaVaMedia for a little over a year now using a Canon 20D camera with a 17-85mm 4.5-5.6 EFS IS Canon lens. I also use a Canon 550 flash on a bracket attached to the RTV Rotator and use the flash for all my images.

This allows me to easily balance the exposure in the rooms with the ambient light through the window, as many of the homes here in Northern Michigan have great views. We are now approaching our one year anniversary here at BlueLaVaMedia and I have created well over 200 Traverse City virtual tours. We are continually expanding our client base and so far everyone that we work with has been extremely satisfied with the quality of our virtual tours. Exposure is good, white balance is not a problem, the tours are very sharp and RTV continually adds more and more features to the system giving Jason and I something new to talk about nearly every month. Overall in my humble opinion the 360 tours look just great!

As we all know in our industry virtual tour quality is extremely important. Many online shoppers will form their first impression of a property, the seller, business owner or a listing agent from the tour. At least that is what my friends all tell me when I tell them what I do now.

Anyway, all was well and good in my world except…when I photographed a property that had very white or light colored walls. In this type of home I would definitely have a problem with a dark vertical banding where the images were stitched together. It was time to do some trouble shooting. It was not an exposure inconsistency issue as my overall exposures were dead on. I then decided that since I was using flash that it must be related to that. I tried two different types of flash diffusers as well as bounced the flash off the ceiling where applicable. My flash also has a built in wide angle panel that spreads the light wider then my lens. Nothing was working and I was getting frustrated as I still had light fall off at the image corners.

I then tried some spins without flash and still experienced the problem. I tried closing the lens down more, to the “sweet spot” and still light fall off! Ok so what next??? I tried a newer 580 flash (I have a good relationship with my local provider so I was lucky enough to borrow it.) I also have a Canon 30D and I tried that, still the problem persisted. At this point I figured it had to be the lens, so I tried an inexpensive Sigma 18-55 lens. (Borrowed that too) and it seemed to help the problem. It was however still noticeable. What’s a photographer to do????

Well not to long ago I was reading my favorite monthly publication Outdoor Photography and looked over the initial test report on the new Canon 50D. What to my wandering eyes should appear than the addition of a lens peripheral illumination setting to correct light fall off at image edges. All of that testing for not. It was a problem that Cannon has had all along and they have now presumably fixed it.

I haven’t had a chance to borrow one of those yet though. (Don’t know if my Canon provider likes me that much) I still love my Canon system and have quite a few other lenses so I am not about to change. I still use the Sigma because the problem seems a little less pronounced with that lens (I have no idea why) and I have become pretty darn proficient and fast at using Photoshop’s dodging tool to blend the issue when necessary.

In the meantime I am saving my pennies for that 50D or maybe even the (by then) 60D camera. Well in closing I hope some of you Canon users will find all this helpful and save some time by realizing it’s just the nature of the beast or should I say, the Canon sensor!

Good luck out there!

Jim Blue
Michigan Virtual Tours
Order a virtual tour today! 877-941-TOUR (8687)

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Real Estate Giant C-21 has announced that they will no longer be running television ads as of Jan 2009. The entire marketing budget that was once for running national campaigns on TV will be moved over to online advertising and marketing. This is comes as great news for online property marketing companies offering powerful listing tools and virtual tours such as the RTV provider network.

Interesting C-21 was the very FIRST in the business to start running television spots back in the seventies and now are the first to declare that online marketing is where they are placing their bets. According to the article listed below the lead generation from online marketing increased 237% while their cost per lead fell 62%!

With so many homes on the market and listing inventories at an all time high putting marketing dollars where the best return is yielded just makes “cents”.

Read the entire article here with your Inman account:

Good luck out there!

Real Tour Vision
Virtual Tour Software
Order Virtual Tour Software – 866-947-8687

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We are very happy to announce that the live RTV talk called “The Formula”starring Jason LaVanture and Cheryl Waller has achieved quite a large following. Nearly 200 RTV virtual tour providers tuned in on Jan 21st at 7:00 Eastern for the airing of The Formula, episode 3. Team RTV talked about the value of social networking and how you can put the networks to use for you, your real estate business, and virtual tour business.

Moreover, RTV staff also reported that the talk show, which normally airs for one hour, went a whopping 1.5 hours and most listeners chose to stand in on the entire call as opposed to leave early for the season premiere of the American Idol show.

For those of you that missed out and would like to listen in on the next show where all audience will be able to do live Q & A with Jason and Cheryl please contact us today. To register for the next show be sure to visit your TMS now! If you would like to be a guest on the formula please contact

“You guys are great!”
Thanks–Ryan Gorman

“I really enjoy the webinars and am getting a lot from them.”
Mark Bonham
United Country – Bonham Auction & Realty
Indianapolis, IN

“Thank you for hosting the webinars and giving us this valuable information.
It is truly appreciated.”
Shane & Tina Hatter
Buckeye Virtual Images

“Great webinar!!!”
Rob Lenthe
Remote Global Viewing

“Another great webinar! I learned so much that my head is spinning (A Full 360). There is just not enough time to cover everything in enough detail to fully understand it, so I’ve decided to join the Inner Circle and learn from the gurus how to supercharge my business. Thank you so much for your guidance.”
Dale Beard
Home Shopper Tours

Next shows:

Formula LIVE Q&A
Feb 4, 2009 7pm EST
Social Networking Q&A
Register Now Within Your TMS!

Formula Episode 4
Feb 18, 2009 7pm EST
Exposure Engine and e-flyers
Register Now Within Your TMS!

Good luck out there!!

RTV, Inc
A Global Virtual Tour Company
Order a Virtual Tour – 866-947-8687

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Recently, Tinus le Roux from Virtual Africa had a run in with a Rhino during a virtual tour shoot. You have to watch this video and see for yourself just how dedicated our network is to our getting the job done!

You can take a look at the resulting images on their Virtual Africa blog

Posted by RTV
International Virtual Tour Company

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