Blog Tag: 360 virtual tour

By Jove it’s the Camera

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)

The Formula Episode 3 Has Great success!

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

Running a Remote Virtual Tour Business

After shooting virtual tours full time with RTV for Four Years in Tallahassee, FL, I have been able to step away from the helm and let the business run itself. For the first 3 years I pretty much just winged it. I had never run a virtual tour business before, but RTV gave me all the help and motivation I needed to keep it going. At the 2 year mark I had an intern and a contractor and at about the 3 year mark, I realized I was feeling pretty secure with the income from the business.

Then it happened… 6 months ago my Fiancé Bonnie started to look for a good job to compliment her Graduate Degree, and that meant that I may have to consider moving away from my business. I did not know what would happen to my business if I did that.

Not knowing whether Bonnie would find work in Tallahassee or not, I began looking for a full-time employee. I put an ad on Craigslist with exactly what I was looking for, and I received a ton of responses, but no one fit the bill. Time past and Bonnie ultimately left town for a job she found in NY. I moved into a friend’s house while I prepared my Tallahasee virtual tour company for the transition. At this point, I wasn’t sure what I needed to do, but with Bonnie already in NY, I knew I needed to do it fast. A friend of mine, Kevin, needed a full time job, was computer literate, a photographer, and asked me if I’d consider him… I immediately began his training to take over my Tallahassee virtual tours business. I spent about 2 months working beside him and slowly he did more and more on his own.

So, now I had a real employee and after about 3 months I found myself still in Tallahassee, but no longer working on tours.

Could it be I could just move to NY State and everything would be fine?

Could I just go pack up my car with what little belongings I didn’t put on Bonnie’s moving truck and just drive?

No. Not Yet.

How would I manage the Tallahassee virtual tour business and keep an eye on Kevin’s work / scheduling. How would I keep track of finances from NY State? We spent another month working out the kinks of running a remote office. We set Kevin’s Outlook Calendar to sync up to mine. All Scheduling is now done through there. I set up Credit Card Processing through QuickBooks rather than PayPal. I completely switched to QuickBooks Online so I could keep track and be in control of finances from NY State while allowing Kevin to send invoices, make deposits, and take phone orders from Florida. I used QuickBooks online payroll to pay Kevin and direct deposit his paycheck. Then, I packed up my car and drove away… I had to pull over and cry once I realized what I had just done, but two days after leaving sunny FL, I was walking my dog in a light snow.

As I write this, Kevin is out shooting 2 tours today in Tallahassee, FL and I am going through QuickBooks to make sure everything for last week is in order. Even in a tough economy with a winter sales slump, I am running my Tallahassee virtual tour business sitting in my new remote office in NY State.

Myles Lasco
Tallahassee Virtual Tours
Order a Tallahassee Virtual Tour (850) 491-3909
Visit our virtual tour blog

Cold-calling Virtual Tour Sales at Open Houses

Increasing sales and breaking into a new market are challenging, however we were very pleased to sell two virtual tours on two consecutive weekends after making cold calls at Open Houses!

This first sale came when we arrived at an Open House and the Realtor was just happy to see anyone come through the door. I don’t know how well homes are moving in your area, but it is a bit dismal here. The Realtor was familiar with the product of virtual tours. We brought along an information packet and a virtual tour marketing CD with examples of our Northern Illinois virtual tours. We were telling her to “take a look at our work on our web site” when she suddenly asked how soon we could shoot the home she had for sale. We said we could do it right then.

The following week, flush from our success, we again went out to Open Houses. We approached one Realtor who was showing a home for a colleague and found her to be receptive. She was soon to be listing a condo for sale and wanted a virtual tour done. (She had been selling Real Estate in California before moving back to Illinois and knew the value of a virtual tour.)

As many Realtors are using their self-photographed slide shows, many are resistant to using a professional photographer. We emphasize our tours are a compliment to what they are currently using. We also explain how a directional tour lets someone experience how the floor plan flows in a home. They quickly find that our virtual tour is far superior to what they had originally been using.

We know the value of RTV 360 virtual tours first hand. We became part of RTV because of the experience we had with their service while we were selling our own home. While researching virtual tours on line, we thought RTV had the best product to offer hands-down. Mike Willett, another RTV provider from a neighboring community, filmed our home and was instrumental in our association with RTV. He has proven to be an invaluable mentor.

Thanks in part to the marketing power of the RTV virtual tour, our home has sold. We are moving to Mississippi and we will be offering RTV virtual tours and fulfilling a marketing need in the area as a virtual tour provider.

Jean Jordan
Northern Illinois Virtual Tours

Order a Virtual Tour (815) 520-5290

Visit our Virtual Tour Company Blog Archive

Most Secure Places Article Lauds Areas of Maryland

BakerB Solutions provides interactive virtual tour and marketing services to real state agents throughout Maryland, District of Columbia and Northern Virginia.

Recently, Yahoo published a list of the “Most Secure US Places” and parts of Montgomery and Frederick Counties were ranked as #3 on the list. This study ranked cities on the following criteria:

* crime statistics
* extreme weather
* risk of natural disasters
* environmental hazards
* terrorism threats
* air quality
* life expectancy
* job loss

To see the full article, click here:

This factoid is certainly helpful to our clients when promoting our market area, especially to out of town buyers who are not as familiar with our area. This also allows those buyers to narrow their home search to view properties in Bethesda, Gaithersburg and Frederick that have a BakerB Solutions Interactive virtual tour.

Should you need to have a 360 virtual tour done of an upcoming listing in any of these secure places, or any nearby areas, including Rockville, Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, North Potomac, Potomac, Montgomery Village or another city, please contact us immediately at 301.424.8272.

We will help you promote your home to get it sold as quickly as possible! Just look at one of our recent testimonials from Teresita Vignale of Long and Foster.

Alex Saenger
BakerB Solutions
Montgomery County Virtual Tour Company
Order a virtual tour – 301-424-8272