Creating Matterport Real Estate Virtual Tours, by Mike Burke

In this video tutorial Mike Burke explains how to create 3D virtual tours for real estate listings using Matterport. He provides an overview of equipment needs, compatible 360 degree cameras, Matterport subscription plans and pricing, and demonstrates the scanning and uploading process. Key details include advantages of the Ricoh Theta Z1 camera, tips for efficient scanning like starting at the front door and planning scans along natural pathways, marking windows/mirrors as features, adding trim lines between floors, and sharing the final 3D tour with clients.


Hey everyone, Mike Burke here with and in this video we’re going to dive into creating real estate 3D virtual tours using Matterport. 3D Virtual Tours are a popular service that agents ask for in our great additional service that we as real estate photographers can offer them as a way to increase our earnings.

Diversifying your services is a subject I get more in depth on in another video I posted called Maximizing Your Earnings as a Real Estate Photographer and I’ll link to that video up on the screen right now.

3D Tours have exploded in popularity this past year with the pandemic going on and people trying to be safe and not going into other people’s homes unnecessarily. With that high demand I think agents have really realized the value of these 3D tours and will continue to order them in the future.

In other words, I definitely think this is a service that you should have in your toolkit and be able to offer your clients. I think the most threatening thing to your relationship with your client is them asking for a service and you don’t offer it and them having to go elsewhere.

That can result in them working with somebody else in the future because that person offers them all the services they may want or need. In this video I’m going to break down Matterport 3D Virtual Tours for you by getting into the different cameras you can use to create them, the different pricing plans they offer, and also a real world demonstration on making one.

Alright, let’s get into it and first talk about the equipment you’ll need to get started making Matterport 3D Tours. So the gear you’ll need is some sort of support like a tripod which you probably already have for your regular camera, a compatible 360 degree camera, and your phone or iPad to run the Matterport app on.

There’s a few different options you can choose as far as cameras and support goes, and we’ll go through those now. I will also link to all of these down in the description below. Alright, let’s first talk about support options.

So I personally just use my regular camera tripod setup to support my 360 camera most of the time. It’s stable, it works great, and it’s a piece of gear that I have with me all the time. No extra gear to purchase or carry around with me.

The only downside to using your tripod maybe is that it’s a little bit bulky and annoying to move around the house, but that’s a small gripe in my opinion because I’m already used to doing that for when I take regular photos.

We’ll get into cameras in a minute, but if you’re using the big and bulky Matterport Pro 2 camera you’ll definitely need a tripod to support that, but if you’re using one of the tiny 360 cameras like the Theta Z1, you don’t necessarily need a tripod to support it.

I still like to use my tripod with the Theta, but some people like to go with something smaller and lighter like a monopod or a light stand. My problem with these is that they aren’t as stable, they’re easier to knock over, and they’re more difficult to position safely on the stairs.

With the tripod you can adjust the leg height and still maintain great stability even on the stairs so that’s not really a concern. Okay now let’s discuss cameras. The compatible cameras with Matterport are the following.

iPhone camera, Insta360 ONE R, Insta360 ONE X, Ricoh Theta V, and the other camera. Ricoh Theta Z1, Matterport Pro 2 camera, and the Leica BLK 360. We could pretty much eliminate two of these cameras off the list straight off the bat.

I’ve never personally even tried using an iPhone for this, but I really just don’t believe it’s a professional solution to creating 3D tours. I think it’s just there for you to try out Matterport for free and get an idea of what it’s like.

The other camera we can eliminate is the Leica. I’m sure it’s fantastic, but it costs a whopping $18 ,000. No thanks. So that leaves us with the Insta360 cameras, the Ricoh Theta cameras, and also the Matterport Pro 2 camera.

The highest image quality and accuracy out of these is the Matterport Pro 2 camera, but it’s also the most expensive at almost $3 ,400. Matterport also states that it has an accuracy rate of within 1% versus the 360 cameras that have an accuracy rate of within 4 -8%.

One of the advantages of the Matterport camera is that you can create floor plans from your scans, which is something you cannot do with the 360 cameras, probably because of these accuracy rates. I used to use the Matterport camera to create floor plans, but this is a non -issue for me these days because now I use Cubicasa to create my floor plans, which is super fast and easy.

I recently posted a video on Cubicasa, and I’ll link to that up on the screen right now. If you do a ton of Matterport tours for your business, then I think that would justify the cost of the Matterport Pro 2 camera, but if you’re just starting out or only do a few virtual tours here and there, then I definitely think one of the 360 cameras are the way to go.

When it comes to 360 cameras, the best of the bunch in my opinion is the Ricoh Theta Z1. This would be my number one recommendation out of all these cameras, including the Matterport Pro 2 camera, because I think it’s the best blend of image quality and value.

It comes in at around $1000, which is a decent amount of money, but the image quality is almost indiscernible from the Matterport Pro 2 camera, and is less than a third of the cost. Let’s take a look at a few seconds of these two cameras side by side, so you can compare the image quality for yourself.

Not that noticeable of a difference is there. The Theta Z1 has impressive image quality for such a little camera. It has dual 1 inch sensors, which is the largest sensor size out of all these 360 cameras, hence the best image quality.

It also scans considerably faster than the Matterport camera, which is a huge plus because it gets you done on site much faster. Probably the biggest downside to the Theta is the battery life. If you have to do multiple properties throughout the day, or if you have to scan one very large property, then you’ll most likely run out of battery.

Luckily there’s a solution to this. They make this little 2 inch extender that will raise the camera above the tripod and give you access to the ports on the bottom, so you can then plug in a USB power bank, which should provide you with plenty of power for the day.

Thank you to one of my Patreon supporters who turned me on to that tip. The remaining 360 cameras all fall within the $400- $500 range. I don’t personally have any experience using these myself. Mainly because I just don’t think the image quality is up to snuff from what I’ve seen online.

I would highly recommend spending a little bit extra money and just getting the Theta Z1. So to sum this all up, I think the Ricoh Theta Z1 is the way to go as far as camera choice goes and just using your regular camera tripod to support it so you’re not buying and carrying around any extra gear than is necessary.

The Theta Z1 has amazing image quality that rivals the Matterport Pro 2 camera. It’s less than a third of the cost. It’s very small and easy to carry around and it also scans much faster than the Matterport camera.

In a lot of ways I’d say it’s even better than the Matterport camera and it’s way cheaper. Again, I’ll link to all of this gear down in the description below. Matterport offers 4 pricing plans that are pretty straightforward.

First is the free plan which is really just there for you to try it out and get a feel for what it’s all about. It only hosts one active space that you can only view privately. It’s not shareable online so you couldn’t use it for like a client or something like that.

Next is the starter plan for $9 .99 a month and as the name suggests this is the plan that I would suggest starting out with. It supports the 360 camera such as the Theta Z1 and it allows one user up to 5 active spaces.

It does not support the Matterport Pro 2 camera and any extra features that that supports such as floor plan creation. It’s not a big deal for me as I stated earlier I use Cuba cost it for floor plans now anyway.

So obviously it makes most sense to stick with this plan until you outgrow the 5 active spaces. It doesn’t make sense to pay for something more expensive when there’s no reason to. Above that is the professional plan for $69 a month.

Once you outgrow the starter plan this will be eventually where you most likely end up as it allows for 25 active spaces and 5 users. It supports all the 360 cameras and the Matterport Pro 2 camera so if you wanted to go with the Matterport camera this would be the cheapest available plan for that.

It also gives you access to all the other features such as floor plans. Finally we have the business plan for $309 a month. It’s quite a big leap from the professional plan at $69 a month. It allows for 100 active spaces and 20 users.

Obviously this is ideal for a business that does a lot of volume for virtual tours or a business that maybe has a team of photographers. who are out shooting every day. It of course supports all the cameras and gives you access to all the features as it’s the most expensive plan.

So again, I would just go with the cheapest plan possible and only upgrade if necessary. Personally, I’m not a big fan of these subscription plans and I wish I would just take an a la carte approach where you could pay per active space for a given amount of time and extend that amount of time if necessary.

There’s so many things these days that are subscription plans and it’s kind of annoying having all these monthly subscriptions but it is what it is, I guess. Now I’m going to take you through a real world job I did recently and share with you some tips that I’ve learned over the years doing Matterport virtual tours.

The process is pretty straightforward but there’s definitely ways to be more efficient about it and save you some time on site. All right, let’s get into it. First thing obviously is to get your 360 camera onto your tripod or whatever support you’re using, I have my camera at about shoulder height.

Power up the camera and make sure it’s in Wi -Fi mode. Next, open up the Matterport app on your phone or whatever device you may be using and press the plus button to start a new scan. You can then put the address information in on the following screen and then continue on to the main scanning screen.

Here you will just want to make sure your camera is connected and if not go to the settings on your phone and connect to your camera via Wi -Fi. Now we’re ready to start scanning. I usually do my first scan by the front door and start building from there.

It’s not necessary to start there but that’s just my preference. Now just get out of the way so the camera can’t see you and press the scan button and your first scan will appear on the screen. Once it appears there you can preview that scan by tapping on it.

Now you can move your camera to the next position for your second scan. The camera needs a certain amount of overlapping data in order to stitch your scans together so you want to make sure your scans aren’t super far apart and that there’s a clear view from one point to the other without a lot of obstructions in the way.

If there’s not enough overlapping data you’ll get notified of an alignment error and you’ll have to move the tripod closer to your previous scan in order to rectify it. Now it’s just a matter of repeating this process until all the rooms on the current floor you’re scanning are done.

Now we’re ready to move to the second level so we need to talk about scanning the staircase. I would first start by doing a scan right at the bottom of the stairs. Next I would shorten one of my tripod legs and leave the other two extended.

That way my camera and tripod will remain level when I place it down on the stairs. It’s not a bad idea by the way to check your camera level every now and again while you’re scanning. Now you would just scan up the staircase moving the tripod up every four or five stairs until you reach the second level.

Once the floors button is on the bottom right hand corner, add a floor and name it whatever you like. Now you have a blank screen like you did when you first started and now you can scan the second floor just like you did the first.

One other thing you need to be aware of is what Matterport refers to as marking feature. such as windows or mirrors. Windows and especially mirrors can trip things up a bit so Matterport wants to know where these things are.

Just press the appropriate button for the feature you want to mark out in the bottom right hand corner and use your finger to mark out that particular feature. Just make sure the arrows are pointing towards the inside of the room.

As I said this process is pretty straightforward but let me share a few tips with you that I picked up over the years from doing these. First when transitioning from one room to another I almost always do a scan right within the door jam between the two rooms.

This allows the camera to pick up portions of both rooms and it makes it easier for it to stitch the scans together and avoid any alignment issues. Another tip is to plan your scans throughout natural pathways of the home as if someone was walking through the space.

It just gives your scan a more realistic experience. Also be more efficient with your scans and avoid any unnecessary scanning. You don’t need to scan every corner of every room. Sometimes you only need to scan one side of the room.

Just preview your scans and make sure that everything that needs to be seen gets seen. That’s what’s important. It’s also a good strategy to do your scans in front of junctions like in front of doorways or hallway entrances.

that can lead in multiple directions. Again, this is about being more efficient and avoiding unnecessary scanning and getting your job done quicker. Once you’ve finished scanning everything, there’s just a couple more things that need to be done.

First, make sure your floors are in the proper order. Next, just double check that you marked all your windows and mirrors. Now you need to mark out trim lines for each floor. Trim is one of the features you can select in the bottom right hand corner.

Select it and draw trim lines around the perimeter for each of your floors that will trim anything that lies beyond the borders of your model. Now, finally, all you need to do is press the upload button and upload your model.

Once your model has been uploaded and processed, you can then sign into your Matterport account to access it. There you can edit certain features like where you want your starting point to be. I like mine to start by the front entrance of the home so I usually choose that scan for my starting point.

They also give you the ability to download the screen capture photos and little videos. Personally, I never really use these for anything. Most importantly, you’ll also find the link to share the model with your client so they can implement it wherever they need to.

And so this is what you can do with thisają That’s really important. And so this works best even when you’re recording a live interview with another port. I hope this video clearly illustrated how this process is done.

And if you’re new to this, I hope you feel confident enough now to go out and create one yourself. If you did find this video helpful, please hit the like button and subscribe. I really appreciate your support and it really helps out this channel.

If you’re interested in supporting the channel in other ways, please see the link down in the description below. Thanks again so much for watching this video and I’ll see you again on the next one. you