Blog Tag: flash virtaul tours

Word of Mouth

I’ve done presentations, fliers, cards, emails; all the advertising out there, but the best and more efficient advertising is word of mouth. Word of mouth has been Perfect Images best advertising campaign. And what makes this work?, Being always on top of the game. Working with a company that is always up-to-date with the latest virtual tour software and offer the best customer service out there. In the last couple of months Perfect Images has received over 10 new orders from customers that have heard about our company and the efficiency with what we work, and they have been all recommended by other Realtors. This is only possible with the support of a company like Real Tour Vision.

I am very excited about all the new services Real Tour Vision is offering to us virtual tour providers so that we in return can offer to our customers. We can now offer floor plans with our tours and with the new TMS system. We can now offer a much faster 360 virtual tour turnover time here in the Treasure Coast and much more is on the way. All of this combined gives the Real Tour Vision provider the very best in virtual tour technology at a faster pace than ever before.

We get a lot of compliments for our tours, but the best part of it is that we work with a company that is always there for us and is always improving its technology so we can be the number one virtual tour company!

Best decision I have ever made! Real Tour Vision thank you for your support.

Claudia Jaramillo
Perfect Images
Virtual Tours of the Treasure Coast

Improving the Virtual Tour Experience

Take the next step in the virtual tour experience and add an interactive aspect. Some virtual tour providers allow comments or recorded voice-overs to guide viewers through a non-interactive presentation. But, if you added an interactive aspect to it, you now get the complete package. So, why not add interactive hotspots on the tour and allow viewers to become immersed in their ‘own’ interactive tour of the home? With a simple point-and-click of a mouse, viewers can ‘walk’ from the kitchen to the family room.

Not only do you give potential buyers full control over their own ‘personal tour’ of the home, but you can also allow them to hear a professional pre-recorded informational message highlighting key features of the home. Want to see it? Just point-and-click!

The pivotal key to any business is the ability to bring in customers and keep them happy. Giving your potential clients the ability to not only view, but also ‘control’ their own tours gives you the ability to ‘personally’ introduce homes while allowing clients to ‘walk’ through the home at their leisure. Once they find their dream-home, the next step is to refer their friends! The question is, to whom will they refer them?

Cheryl Waller
Treasure Coast Virtual Tours

Camera Flash Life Expectancy

In looking at how many pictures we take and how many times the flash on your digital camera is used I decided to do a little research about the life expectancy of a flash. After talking with a couple camera experts, I found out that the typical internal camera flash is rated to flash about 100,000 to 300,000 times before it burns out. Now this may sound like a lot of flashes but
when you break it down for 360 virtual tour shooting it may not last as long as you hope.

If you consider that the average tour has 5 pans and 10 stills then you figure that you shoot at least a minimum of 70 pictures for this virtual tour, not including all the retakes when the pictures didn’t turn out correctly. Now let’s say that at least 4 of the pans or 48 pictures plus 6 of the stills were taken indoors giving you at total of 54 indoor pictures. And let’s say that you used your flash on at least 70% of the pictures or 38 photos. That means that you have used 38 flashes for this one tour. Now to be realistic lets add at least another 12 pictures to this total to cover poor shots that were deleted off the camera. We have now used 50 flashes for one virtual tour shoot.

Let’s say that you shoot 4 – 360 tours a day for 6 days. In one week you have used about 1200 flashes! Inside of 51 weeks (giving you a week off for vacation) you have used 61,200 flashes (not including all the pics from the family vacation). Now out of our 100,000 plus flashes that we are supposed to get, we have used a little more than half of the useful life of our flash. At this rate it is not unlikely that the built-in camera flash may die within 2 years time.

So when you think about getting your next camera keep in mind your flash usage and how long you plan to keep your camera. You may want to make sure it has a hot shoe for using an external flash. An external flash lasts about as long as the camera’s built-in flash, but I would rather burn out a $200 flash than burn up the flash on a $400+ camera rendering it useless. For those of you who currently have a camera that has a hot shoe for mounting a flash, I would recommend that you consider investing in an external flash. This will allow you to save the built-in flash on your camera. In the event that your batteries in your external flash die you can still use the flash on your camera as a backup to finish the shoot. An external flash is also stronger than your camera’s built-in flash.

By Ben Knorr
Real Tour Vision Lens Engineer and Camera Setup

360 Virtual tour of a Church

A landmark church with a poor virtual tour contacted us to ask if it was possible for a virtual tour to show the peaceful serenity of a large church without “blowing out” the windows. It’s a shame that the stained glass was barely visible.

We sent a copy of a virtual tour we’d done of a home with an indoor pool (the blue water is clear and bright), and their concerns were put to rest.

Real Tour Vision technology is what makes all the difference!

Dawn Shaffer

Is it “Snowing” Outside Your House?

As a real estate photographer and a virtual tour provider, I often peruse and other sites where virtual tours and listing photos are posted to gage them against my own work and make sure that my offerings and services are of higher quality than that of my competitors.

One problem I notice again and again on the majority of pictures I view (both stills and panoramas) is “blown out” windows which make it look like a blizzard is raging outside! Since I’m not viewing listings in Antarctica, I know that this is actually because the photographer doesn’t know how to expose the scene for both inside and outside light.

The reason this happens, without launching into a full-scale lesson on dynamic range (the range between the darkest and lightest areas of a scene), is that exterior light (sunlight) streaming through a window is typically much brighter than the ambient light and/or the artificial lighting inside of a room. While the human eye is the most advanced lens on the planet and can adjust lighting levels so that you see more even lighting in a room, even the most expensive camera lenses don’t come close to duplicating this kind of dynamic range.

I live in Los Angeles and often shoot very expensive homes with great views of the beach or mountains, so it is very important for me to adequately capture the view. So, a few “tricks” are necessary to make sure that the end result is a scene or a photo where both the interior and the exterior are properly exposed.

First of all, choose your camera angles carefully. You can often choose camera angles that minimize window glare and still for the most part properly expose the interior. If you shoot a sunny window straight on (i.e. at a 90 degree angle) you will most certainly get a partial or total “wash out” if you expose for interior lighting. However move your tripod so that you are capturing that window from an angle of 10 or 15 degrees and voila!!

You can often capture the exterior scene with very little effect on the interior lighting (you may have to use the “dodge” tool for some minor tuning up around the window). Of course, you may have a window across the room that you are shooting straight on, so that may only solve your problem with one window. Also, sometimes we don’t have the luxury of total flexibility when choosing our interior angles due to room features, furniture or objects we are trying to shoot around. That’s when a little “Photoshoppery” comes into play. Yes, you’ll need a little bit of Photoshop knowledge to do this, and (duh) the Photoshop program itself.

There are a few ways to do this, but here’s what I do. First, you must have a camera that contains selectable metering spots or zones (not all do) and also you must use a tripod to match shots exactly. Also, if possible when lining up your shot, try to not have anything partially or totally in front of the window, because it may create problems for you later. When a window is partially or totally in the shot, you are going to capture two shots. First, expose for optimum interior lighting (the window will be partially or totally blown out to white). Next, without moving the camera, move the meter point so that it is exposing for the window. Immediately, the window scene comes into view while the rest of the room goes somewhat dark. You now have two identical shots, one with optimum exterior lighting and one that exposes the interior properly.

Repeat this process for all shots that include windows. Now, time for a little Photoshop magic! Open up Photoshop and pull up your duplicate shots. Now go to your picture where the window scene is optimum and push in pretty tight on it (200-300%) so you can be precise with your selection work. Now use the polygonal lasso tool (or if you have a more rounded or irregular shape to trace, the magnetic lasso tool) to trace the window. I usually trace outside the window frame, and then if necessary, use the “dodge” tool to lighten the frame up.

Now, select the “move” tool, which will automatically cutout your selection, and drag the window over to your “interior” picture. Push in again real close on this picture so you can place your window exactly where it should be on top of the “blown-out” window. Now flatten the layers of your image and VOILA, you have just “composited” an image!! You have a shot where both the interior and window scene are perfectly captured and exposed. If you are doing this for panoramas, I recommend stitching the scene first, once with the window shots and once with the interior shots and then compositing the resulting images. This is because if you choose to do it picture by picture before the stitch, you will find that you are often cutting out and replacing the same window twice or even three times due to the overlap of the pictures. If you are an RTV provider and have any questions on this process, I’m glad to answer them personally, visit my website and drop me an email.

To Your Success,
Lawrence McBride
Virtually There Media