Blog Tag: panohead

RTV Launches Rotator XS at Provider Convention

RTV had much success with the launch of the new RTV Rotator XS over the weekend at the virtual tour convention.  Virtual tour providers from all over the world got first dibs on the new enhanced XS Pano Head. A hybrid of our X3 redesigned to photograph and capture full 360 x 360 Spherical virtual tour photography for use in the RealTour Fusion virtual tour system. The XS has a hinged arm to allow the camera to point up and down and also features a quick disconnect camera mount allowing you to quickly remove your camera from the rotator for shooting stills or video clips also supported by the new Fusion platform.

Weighing in at only 2 lbs. 10.3 ounces, the new Rotator XS The Rotator XS was designed with the same engineering excellence as the X3, and RTV is continuing a lifetime warranty on the unit.

The XS rotator will sell for $400  brand new, and will be included in our new FusionMax XS virtual tour builder kit.  RTV will continue selling the popular X3 unit for $300.00 and it will be included in our new FusionMax X3 builder kit.

XS Panoramic Rotator HeadCurrent RTV providers who are thinking about getting into 360 X 360 photography, RTV has not forgotten about you. The Rotator XS is built with the same rotating base as our, X3, and Mini allowing you to simply purchase the new XS arm and attach for an instant upgrade.  The XS has the identical pre-measured 12 clicking positions as its predecessors and depending on the lens you use, our rotators are capable of shooting 12, 6, 4, 3, or 2 picture panoramas.

We’re very excited about the new XS and the new kind of 360 X 360 virtual tours it will bring. Upgrade to an XS today for only $179 or purchase new.  We sold completely out of our first batch of  XS’s and upgrade arms at the show however RTV plans on having a batch of sixty in stock early next week. 


XS Panoramic Rotator HeadThank you all for coming to our convention and taking the 11 virtual tour classes that were held.  We’re going to be looking for a new convention center for next years virtual tour convention since we went over the hotel’s capacity at this years event.

Thanks for your continued support!

Team RTV
Order a virtual tour today: 866-947-8687
Virtual Tour Software & Digital Marketing Training

A Virtual Tour is A Virtual Tour – Not Really!

As a Realtor(r) with many years experience in down markets I knew the importance of keeping my name, expertise, and professional marketing ability in front of future clients. I went looking for a marketing tool to place myself in front of the whole pack of hungry agents. Since I own an Internet marketing company I knew that the Internet was the key. The technology I first found was the free programs from a major software company and I thought that this was a good solution. In fact I then went to a seminar and the program was pushed as a great way for an agent to make their mark as an above average agent.

I published two listings using this program and saw that they were far from the excellence I wanted. Being a perfectionist I looked for other solutions. I viewed at least fifteen tours posted on the local Mesa, AZ MLS that were offered by various companies using many different solutions to the “Virtual Tour” presentation for viewing on the Internet. My knowledge of the Internet allowed me to investigate even deeper as to what technology and provider would allow me to show case my listings in the best light.

I had a Samsung Digimax A7 camera I picked up for a reasonable price. Most real estate agents like reasonably priced products and services, as do I. The camera allowed me to make some adjustments just like the old 35mm cameras of the film age that I used to use. I then went off to photograph my first two tours using the free software. I was almost OK with this but saw that I used to do better photography with a film 35mm and my own darkroom. I was very disappointed at the quality even though the quality was equal to or better than most other agent self shot tours or tours shot by other tour companies. My photography background, classes, and darkroom experience told me that the point and shoot digital cameras would not give the quality marketing pictures that are needed in a down market to put me ahead of the rest. In fact I noticed that the majority of the virtual tours on the Internet were actually a slide show and not a true 360 Interactive tour.

I wanted technology that would allow me to tell my clients that they could have an interactive walk through virtual open house 24 hour per day 7 days a week to draw potential buyers to their home. I found Real Tour Vision and used their virtual tour software on a couple of listings and used my Samsung camera. I found out that the light blew out the windows, I did not get as crisp and clear images that I wanted, and that the photo shoot of each home was using up three to four hours of my time. This goes to show you that the best software cannot correct images obtained from a cheaper camera.

This was way too much time to spend, so I went to the Real Tour Vision provider forum to get advice and to see what other photographers were using. Boy did I get advice! These easy shoot cameras can be used for family photos, but to get great real estate shots better equipment is needed. Just like I have always been told when it comes to software and computers, junk in junk out.

From the advice that I received I decided to invest in an additional $2,000 worth of software and camera equipment. I now can say that I have the ability to shoot weddings like I used to do with my 35mm film equipment and dark room. Most home self-shot photos are good, but they would not past muster as a marketing tool. I have not talked to anyone, except professional photographers or serious amateurs, that know what real photography is. In fact when I mention the following terms to the average agent their eyes glaze over like a deer in the headlights of a car: f-stop, exposure, lighting, depth of field.

I saw that an agent that I had done tours for had a different tour on a new listing. She told me that she had an old tour for the listing prior to my entry into the virtual tour business (she had the listing many months ago and it was taken off the market for some time), and I asked to re-shoot the listing to make it look better and to showcase the differences. See the comparison photos below of a Tour Factory Virtual Tour and a Real Tour Vision Virtual Tour. The kitchen on the top is from inside the Tour Factory technology and the same kitchen below is in a Real Tour Vision virtual tour. The quality difference is amazing. The windows in the top tour are blown out with light.

I have 100% of my listings with a fully interactive tour, and every home has closed escrow or is in the pending stage at this time, in fact I need some more listings as I’ve sold every listing that I have accepted this year. Even though I do not make my full living as a virtual tour photographer, I have more experience than many of the competing slide show and 360 tour photographers have.

Steve Knievel
Best Web Tour

The RTV Network Shares the Best Marketing Ideas

I am a new Real Tour Vision provider but not new to business in general. Previous experience told me that marketing was the key. I learned a great technique in the Tour Talk Newsletter called the “subtle tour” (Devised by Panorama Jack himself I do believe). Those of you privy to the Real Tour Vision newsletters and insider network tips know all about this!! This is at once good marketing and a way to help promote the local community.

I had a couple of obvious scenes finished (public square, etc.) and then I decided to pay a visit to the local Chamber of Commerce to see if they had any ideas for scenes that I hadn’t thought of.

Little did I know that the Director of Operations and the Membership Coordinator had just finished a conversation about how they could offer a value-added service to their Real Estate agent members. In fact they had been discussing the issue off and on for several weeks.

When I walked in and announced that I had started a virtual tour business and began describing the subtle tour. . .well let’s just say they were excited to no end! My timing couldn’t have been better.

They immediately hired me to create a tour of the Chamber office

And as “luck” would have it the Director’s house was for sale and on the market. The listing agent was a family member of the director in this case and I was also asked to shoot that property. Since this was my first 360 virtual tour I added extra scenes just to show all the great RTV virtual tour software features. Now I can’t wait to finish my subtle tour.

The clients were delighted with the quality of the 360 tours. The RTV system has all the tools I needed to create impressive virtual tours right away. I have also learned much through the community on the provider forums. There is a wealth of knowledge there about everything from how to shoot better photos to how to better serve customers. I just hope I can repay the favor and pay it forward as I learn the craft.

Thanks RTV!

Brett Weaver
SpotLight Virtual Tours

Big Ben’s Camera Corner

Choosing a Digital SLR Camera for your 360 Tours

There are several great options out there when it comes to digital SLR’s. They all take great pictures and the biggest difference comes down to you feeling comfortable with operating the camera. If you have never used a digital SLR before then I would steer you towards either the Olympus E410 or E510. Both of these cameras have live preview capability which means that you can turn the camera on, look at the LCD and see what the camera is about to take a photo of just like a regular point and shoot digital camera.

Most of the other digital SLR cameras require you to look through the eye piece otherwise called the viewfinder on a traditional camera to see the picture you are about to take. One of the best SLR cameras I have seen is the Canon 5D but it is very expensive and definitely “over kill” for shooting tours in my opinion. Whether you choose an Olympus, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony or Fuji film make sure that you test the camera in the store to get an idea of how it works as each camera is setup differently. Many stores or smaller local shops will let you take the camera outside of the store for a bit of time while you test it as long as you leave behind your drivers license. Just like test driving a car, test driving your camera is equally important in your decision making.

The next important thing to consider is how the camera feels when it is in your hands. Let’s face it, we all have different shapes of hands and some cameras cater to a smaller hand while other fit nicely in a larger hand. If you order your camera online without holding it first this is just the risk that you take.

Finally I go by the looks of the camera. When you show up to do that $3000.00 resort virtual tour, you want to look your very best and you want your camera to command respect. I HIGHLY recommend that you see how your camera looks when it is mounted fully on the Real Tour Vision panohead (Scroll to bottom of page). The more official that you and your team look the better. It is said that Real Tour Vision not only has the worlds largest virtual tour provider network but also the classiest so let’s keep it that way!

Feel free to contact me at the information listed below for more information about these cameras.

Ben Knorr
Real Tour Vision Lens Engineer and Setup Admin
Real Tour Vision
Grand Traverse Virtual Tour Company