Archive for July, 2012

DSLR video can be an outstanding addition to virtual tours but…

The recent release of the Real Tour Vision Fusion virtual tour software as a service supports full motion video.  Exposure Elements, Real Tour Visions’ San Francisco Bay Area virtual tour provider is fully on board with this technology offering.  What an ideal marriage of media types for a virtual tour with the emerging DSLR video capabilities.  Businesses and Real estate professionals can now add full motion video clips to virtual tour productions.  This is a grand benefit that often has one overlooked component for a professional production; the use of the built in microphone on  DSLR cameras.

How a better microphone affects your video clips…
DSLR cameras, taking advantage of the large image sensor in the camera, can make incredible video clips with silky smooth playback that can greatly exceed the video quality of a typical camcorder but lack in final delivery quality unless the quality of the microphone is addressed.  Exposure Elements did a significant amount of research and found that for a reasonable cost the microphone quality could be greatly improved.  After our research we bought a Rode  VideoMic.  This was a microphone with a street price of about $150 that was well suited to the type of work that we wanted this microphone  to do.  We identified three benefits from replacing the internal camera microphone; 1) better microphone location, 2) better microphone design for our use, and 3) better overall sound quality.Better Microphone location
The first area of improvement was getting the microphone off the camera and above the camera.  Rode was meticulous in this area of effort by adding a hot shoe mount and coiled cord.  By offering this configuration we could mount the microphone on a boom stand and purchase and extension cable for placement if we were some distance away or mount it directly above the camera on the hot shoe. 

Better Microphone design for our use
The second area of improvement was closely tied to the first one and corrected a severe limitation of the on camera microphone.  The Rode VideoMic is referred to as a “shotgun” microphone.   This means that the microphone is tuned to capture sound at a significantly higher volume if the sound originates from directly in front of the microphone.  Sounds to the side and in general sounds “off-axis” will be greatly reduced.  For virtual tours when we are trying to capture sound in front of the camera this is a highly practical design and differs from the on camera microphone which is designed as a “unidirectional” microphone (meaning that it pics up sound in all directions equally).

Better Sound Quality
Finally, the sound quality of the microphone is outstanding. It features a broader frequency response than the on camera microphone and has built in isolation and noise reduction circuits to help filter out different types of noise such as camera vibrations or wind noise.  

The final recommendation… 
Exposure Elements found the Rode VideoMic to be an excellent investment and would highly recommend it to all our Real Tour Vision colleagues.  It will dramatically improve the audio quality of your video clips which ultimately means a better reputation for you at a very small cost.  Here is a sample tour with a video clip featuring the use of this microphone.  Tour using Rode VideoMic for audio on video clips

Stan Davis
Exposure Elements – San Francisco Bay Area HDR Virtual Tours
Order a virtual tour: 408-431-0461 (m)

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St. Augustine Real Estate Virtual Tours by Listing Solutions Are Fusion Powered!
Experience the latest technology in St. Augustine Real Estate Virtual Tours. Listing Solutions proudly presents “Fusion-Powered” Virtual Tours. These highly interactive and informative marketing tools will change the way that people view St. Augustine Real Estate Virtual Tours. Listing Solutions is an online marketing company that specializes in helping REALTORS® and Home Owners, professionally promote their property.

“The new Fusion Powered Virtual Tour platform is unlike any other St. Augustine Real Estate Virtual Tours that you have seen. RTV has done a great job of providing us with the very best virtual tour platform available and we have been busy speaking at Offices in the Northeast Florida area sharing the new platform. The initial response has been overwhelming. Our St. Augustine Real Estate Virtual Tours have always been top notch, but this platform will change the way that people view property online”, Dave Hall, Vice President of Marketing for Listing Solutions.

St. Augustine Real Estate Virtual Tours now have the ability to seamlessly integrate the virtual tour on to YouTube. This is one of the new features that have been developed to assist with getting noticed in the search engines. The new system is packed with Web 2.0 features that REALTORS® will find invaluable. Click on the You Tube video below to view one of our latest St. Augustine Real Estate Virtual Tours.

Dave Hall,
Vice President of Marketing
Listing Solutions
(904) 540-9962
Visit Our Website

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Interactive 360 virtual tours are changing forever both with current and future virtual tour technology…What really makes an interactive 360 virtual tour experience a true experience and most importantly what does all this mean to you the business owner?

Let’s start with the old days, I personally was not in the business in the 80’s or 90’s but what I can gather from the residue, is that the virtual tours where pretty much just a 2 inch by 2 inch slideshow. Believe it or not, some of this technology still lingers out there today. Sure, they may have blown the socks off folks in the 90’s but in 2012 they are drastically dated. In today’s market and especially with the emphasis that we now put into our mobile market local business owners must constantly be on the lookout for powerful marketing weapons like one of our interactive virtual tours.

Today the standards have changed. Good images shot in true captivating HDR and enhanced with the latest state of the art software, combine professional stitching, utilize professional voice overs or true to life CG automated voices.  Ultimately this helps to create the smoothest and cleanest 360 virtual tours. One can easily begin to see that our virtual tours are not like just any other virtual tour out there but more like a powerful tool to be able to assist in creating the ultimate viewing experience.

The bottom line is that really good virtual tour systems of today can help you create a true interactive 360 virtual tour experience for you and your customers alike and can assist greatly in you being found online. This equals exposure and sales for your business. They really do offer a truly new experience that one has to see to believe.  Give us a call today and see for yourself. Our interactive virtual media presentations are literally a work of art!

Mirage Virtual Tours Inc  is based in Southern California and specializes in 360 Interactive Virtual Tours and support to make your Interactive 360 Virtual Tour Experience a true Experience.

Mirage Virtual Tours Inc
Order a virtual tour: 877-678 4795

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Hello RTV virtual tour providers out there. I just wanted to share something very exciting with you all. Recently I made a DIY Merlin Stedicam for under $40. The pro version is about $800. The handle is from a speed jump rope so it has a bearing in it. The universal joint is from a local hobby shop for R/C cars and together they make a handy gimble. I changed my tripod head to a pistol grip ball head for the spherical virtual tour shots and had the two way laying around so I stuck it on the help level the camera.

There are a bunch of YouTube videos on how to make these but this is my version. Just need to practice walking with it. I used a 2.5 lb counterweight which doesn’t bother me but if the rig needs to be lightened they can stack heavy washers and extend the weight down to add leverage to the fulcrum of the gimble to keep the camera upright.

I have also been experimenting with Magic Lantern ISO Overrides. Here is a video to see the difference. Note ISO 100 for a base then look at 160, 320, 640. I shot at 100 and 640 and barely had a difference but an increase is shutter speed. Faster shooting is always good for my Myrtle Beach virtual tours!

Dan Conklin
Myrtle Beach
Order a virtual tour: 843-254-8412

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Dear RTV:

I’ve just got to congratulate the entire team on a truly magnificent achievement in the new Fusion virtual tour system. I’ve never seen anything like this. You’re a good 14-18 months ahead of anything else out there! I did my first two virtual tours on it this week and the response has been fantastic.

I think the computer generated voice over brings a whole new dimension to the interactive virtual media presentations. My new customers were in awe and agreed that it gravitates the viewer to the items being highlighted, and makes the viewing experience more enjoyable. Best of all it took less than a couple minutes to add to the virtual tour.

The ease of compiling the new flyers, virtual tours to YouTube, Craigslist ads, e-brochures and more were a real pain in the old virtual tour system since it had to be updated weekly. RealTour Fusion has really helped me save time and make more money!!  I enjoyed the webinar last night, even though I was a little late in getting in.

Please see the comments below from Mary Rocco, first time in her office, Rich Realty in Orland Park.
The second virtual tour is for a builder in New Lenox, and this is the second virtual tour from him.

“Dear Jim,
Thank-you for all your hard work, you did a great job and I’m very
pleased with how it turned out. I do think when the agents in my office
see your work they will be calling you to make there listings look as
beautiful as mine. Hope to work with you again very soon. – Mary”

Again, to the entire team over at RTV, many thanks for creating the most superior virtual tour product on the market today. I’m not sure if you can really call these virtual tours anymore. They’re more like a work of art!

Mary’s Virtual Tour:

Camelot Homes Virtual Tour:

Thank you all so much!


Jim Griffin
LaVelle Studios LLC
New Lenox Virtual Tours & Real Estate Photography
Order a virtual tour today: (800) 472-4356

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