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Samsung Gear360 2017 review

The much anticipated new Samsung gear360 comes in more miniature and cuter look than its predecessor. Its light and pocketable making it much easier to hold for extended period of time. The new Samsung 360 comes with a new 4k 360 degree video capture with a dual f/2.2 8.4 megapixel lenses that sticks out on both side of the camera. FeaturesThe main appeal of this new camera is that it can shoot and record in 4k or broadcast live on facebook. With a improve longer battery life and a memory space that support up to 256GB of micro sd card, you can record up to 130 minutes of video and that’s something really impressive. The most important improvement would be its compatibility with other brands of mobile other than Samsung. The 2017 model supports a variety of phones including iPhone 7, 7+, 6S, 6S+, SE running iOS 10.0 or later. Galaxy S8, S8+ S7, S7 edge, Note5, S6 edge+, S6, S6 edge, A5/A7(2017) running Android 5.0 or later. The reason I believe is mainly due to the high processing demand required by the phone thus only selected models are recommended. Samsung’s new HDR landscape feature allows you to take much better quality images and its specially useful for landscape or real estate photography . You will also need to put it on a tripod to keep the camera steady to minimize little or no movement for best quality.                                                                                                                            Gear360 vs Theta S testTodays review is to find out whether this camera is good enough for real estate virtual tour and how it compares up to the reign king of consumer 360camera the Ricoh Theta S. The main concern would be the specs downgrade from the initial 15 megapixel sensors to only 8.4 megapixel. This affects still images, since it can only produce 15-megapixel JPEGs rather than 30-megapixel ones. Samsung tells us that the new sensor is better for shooting in dark environments. Frankly, for casual users, a 15-megapixel image is plenty, but it would be interesting to see if the lower resolution would have any noticeable effects on 360-degree panoramas — something we’ll look at when we get the chance to review one. Megapixels are less of a concern when it comes to video. So we put the 2 of them to a test and let you decide.We can see that the colours especially the green areas outside the balcony are more saturated from the Ricoh while the colours taken by Samsung Gear360 appears to be more natural. On the interior, it appears Gear360 photo quality is nosier only view in when view full screen. Otherwise both photos appear decent when view on mobile phones.From the above image comparison, we can see its slightly expose on the Samsung Gear360 at the balcony view while Ricoh still maintains a decent backdrop showcasing the beautiful scenary outside. By now i think you would have concluded which camera is more suitable for you after viewing from the 3 examples above.ConclusionThe new Gear360 is retailing at $350 and only available in white. As you can observe from the comparison we took, the Samsung gives a more natural colour though slightly grainy when compare to the Ricoh. You would also need to get additional memory card as the camera does not comes with built in memory. As this test does not include video footage comparison which the Samsung will win hands down, we would just focus on our objectives today to find out which one is the better one for 360 photography. Overall, we would recommend the new Gear360 based on the overall value it provides. For $130 cheaper and quality almost equivalent to the Theta camera, that’s something you definitely can consider if your phone is compatible with the requirement of the Gear360. Otherwise in terms photo quality and user friendiness, Ricoh Theta still reign as the best consumer 360camera for photos.

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Lasting Impression

This morning (21 April 17, 10am), a Panoleh subscriber (Mr Tan) was sharing with me how he utilize Virtual Tour which I think is very smart. Mr Tan is a Real Estate agent in Singapore who focus on resale market, he will have situations when he has a very nice unit in a good location that will have many enquiries to a point that he is not able to handle, he will also have situations when the unit is not nice and the location is unattractive that he will not receive much enquiries. For the former situation, Mr Tan will send the Virtual Tour to the interested buyers to view the house remotely and most of the time when any interested buyer asked to meet, the transaction will be closed. It is a very efficient process and very effective result that Mr Tan can better utilize his time on other priorities. As for the latter situation, Mr Tan will market the unit in property portal with Virtual Tour. Base on Mr Tan’s experience, he told me that he will receives about three times more enquiry calls when he marketed units using Virtual Tour compare to units he marketed without Virtual Tour. The marketing term for this is called “Improve Marketing through visualisation”, I have shared this in my past article. In this article, we will discuss about one of the impact Virtual Tours have on potential buyers, which is creating Lasting Impression.Why Lasting Impression is Important when Marketing a Property?Do you want to leave a lasting impression to your prospects on the property you are marketing? If yes, why? We humans generally make decisions by information through our senses transmitted to our brain. For Virtual Tour, it affects the sense of sight (ophthalmoception). We will not make decision to buy a property by the smell of it, by the sound of it (property don’t create sound), by the touch of it, by the taste of it. Therefore, the only way to impress a buyer or creating a lasting impression by their senses is by visualisation. When you make bookings for rooms for your vacation, after you have filtered the price and location, what is the decision factor to book which hotel/room to stay (assuming the review score is same)? Most of the time, the hotel/room which have nicer pictures will get your business. Putting this example into property marketing, it does the same, property buyers including myself have too many choices in the property portal even after filtering, most of the time, we will shortlist the listings that provide a lot of information and more importantly, nice images because it leaves me with good impression of the house and the effort of the agent. My definition of nice images doesn’t really means how nice the house look in those images, more importantly, the images needs to give me a good idea about the layout, the size, the height and the proportion of the property so that I can imagine how I want to renovate the house and what type of furniture I will get if I buy the house.The last thing any marketer want is a buyer see their advert and then forget about it the next moment, or worse, don’t bother to see the advert even when it is just right in front of the buyer’s sight. One of the main reason this happens is because the advert is not attractive enough and it couldn’t catch the eyes of the buyers. If a marketer couldn’t even give a good first impression to a buyer, they can forget about giving a lasting impression to the buyer. Therefore, impression is very important in any form of marketing. First impression attract your buyer’s attention to see your advert/posting/listing. Leaving a lasting impression to your buyer will make them keep coming back for new updates and also higher chance of them sharing the news with their friends. How to Create Lasting Impression?To create lasting impression, we must first know how to create a good first impression. Very seldom do we have situations when we do not have a good first impression on certain things and then it created a lasting impression on us. I remember going to a coffee shop with a friend last month and he ordered a plate of fried noodle. When the fried noodle was served, it give me quite a bad impression as it looked dried and burnt. However, my friend keep recommending me that I must try so I reluctantly took a small portion to try. The taste of the fried noodle was so fantastic that I ordered a second plate and the following week, I went back to that same coffee shop for the fried noodle. Now, I will go to that coffee shop once every week for the fried noodle. From this personal experience, we learn that lasting impression can be very powerful and it can be very “addictive”. The visual of the fried noodle failed to impress me but the taste of it did create a lasting impression. When marketing a property, like I have mentioned earlier, there is no way to impress a buyer’s senses other than visual. Since visualization is the only senses we can impress a buyer, first impression is therefore very important in order to have lasting impression. One of a very good way to impress buyers to your listing is to show good images, feature beautiful images, put a short yet eye capturing title to your listing. Like marketer, real estate agents will want their listings to be read and seen by the potential buyers instead of skipping it like a junk message. As a property looker, once we click into a listing, we will stay on a listing to see all the information and images provided repeatedly if they are comprehensive.Having Virtual Tour will be even more impressive because with it, potential buyers can relate the Virtual Tour with all the information provided in the listing. It gives us a more pleasure experience looking into the listing and we can visualise the house much easier even without physically being there. Feature good images and eye capturing title on your listing to create good first impression as a hook, provide Virtual Tour and comprehensive information to make that good impression lasting. Doing all the steps might not impress every single person who come across your listing but it will definitely generate far better result on creating lasting impression than putting minimum effort.  

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Why virtual tour is a must for rental agents

Why virtual tour is a must have for rental agents?Ever thought you wasted too much time on unnecessary viewings and there’s a better way to gauge interest of your viewer? All these can be achieve while you save along petrol, parking and miscellaneous fee while getting a more potential interests from buyer with something as simple as a virtual tour? A virtual tour is an online tour that allows a user to experience and help user see the house as if they are there in person, that’s why its call virtual reality. Imaging being able to see the house and get a better feel of it all from a mobile phone even from thousands of miles away. http://bit.ly/2o0hsbVVirtual tour can be use to showcase properties that your expat or foreigner customers enquire about. With just a Whatsapp away, virtual tour can easily be shared and view on mobile or desktop devices at the convenience of their own home. Virtual tour besides impressing your expat viewer looking in from overseas can also value add by using it as evident for your tenant to keep a record of the condition of the house at the end of the rental lease in case dispute. It can also be use for tenanted properties especially when its hard to make time for everyone to meet at the same time . Typical experience a user goes through while looking for properties online.Virtual tour is not only about avoiding those traffics and narrowing in down potential viewings, a virtual tour has time and again proven to attract more views and gain more interests from buyer looking from properties online. Being a huge market place online and constantly overloaded with information when a buyer look for houses online. Typically this is what happens usually and buyer goes through. First, they are turned off by poor quality photos and lack of information about the listing of the house. Secondly, they also hate and dislike fake listings of houses that don’t exist or already sold but its still being advertised online. Now you know why a user can get really frustrated while looking for houses online. A virtual tour solves this by giving valuable sufficient information about a house. Now home buyers can view from the comfort of their own home and avoid all those unnecessary hassle and this creates a win win for agents and buyer. On agent’s end, theres no better feeling than to receive a potential call from a buyer who already liked the house and is ready to commit or find out more.How With a simple 360camera and a super easy to use virtual tour creator like Panoleh, creating your own virtual tour is now never easier than before. After taking images of the house with a 360camera, real estate agents like yourself only need to upload the images to Panoleh and start creating their virtual tour. It is meant to be as simple as it sounds. A more detail guide can be found here.

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Hiring A Virtual Tour Photographer vs. Doing It Yourself

10 years ago, if I needed a Virtual Tour, I will definitely hire a photographer over doing it myself (DIY) for few very simple reasons. If I am to DIY a Virtual Tour, firstly, I will need to get a good DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera which will be very costly. Secondly, I will need a software to stitch all the photos into a panoramic image (360 image) which will spend about 10 minutes for every image. Thirdly, I will need another software to create a Virtual Tour with all the panoramic images which will take about an hour to 2 hours. Lastly, I will need to subscribe to a hosting service to host my Virtual Tour so that my viewer can see the Virtual Tour which I have created. In a nutshell, if I DIY a Virtual Tour 10 years ago, I will have to spend a lot of money on camera, software, hosting subscription and also a lot of time wasted. It make sense in this situation if I hire a photographer to do the Virtual Tour.However, as technology advance, all the above mentioned issues do not exist anymore. Today, we can easily find 360 cameras (cameras that can instantly take panoramic image) at different price range and different quality or even using smartphones (The quality might not be as good as the 360 cameras) to take panoramic pictures. This 360 cameras eliminate the issue of needing to get a DSLR camera and software for photo stitching helping users to save time and money. More importantly, there is also online software like www.panoleh.com which allow user to create a Virtual Tour in 5 to 10 minutes that help to host the Virtual Tour. We will explore on the pros and cons on hiring a Virtual Tour photographer and doing it by yourself. Hiring a Virtual Tour PhotographerFor people who know me, I was a Virtual Tour Photographer previously. My clients came from all sort of industries like education, interior design, real estate agents, real estate developers, tourism, etc. For different industries, they have different purpose for the use of Virtual Tour. For example, tourist attraction and schools takes Virtual Tour to show their potential patron/clients a glimpse of their facilities and what they can expect if they make a visit. Interior designers used Virtual Tour to help them showcase their beautiful work and serve as a very good testimonial for them to attract potential clients. Real Estate developers used Virtual Tour to show the layout of the units so that potential buyers can visualize better rather than only showing 2D layout. Real Estate agents used Virtual Tour to market the property to attract more potential buyers. Click here for articles to understand how Real Estate agents make use of Virtual Tour. At the later stage of my Virtual Tour Photographer career, the enquiries from education and tourism industries maintained, however, enquiries from real estate agents and developers (they make up 80% overall enquiries) dropped tremendously. Reason is because 360 cameras in the market is very affordable and online software like www.panoleh.com is very easy to use and affordable. The pros of hiring a Virtual Tour Photographer is that they will literally do everything for you and you can rest assure of the quality. Basically, they will help you to take high quality panoramic photos and then create the virtual tour. The cons of hiring a Virtual Tour Photographer is that they do not come cheap. Market rate in Singapore charge about $120 for 1 Virtual Tour with 5 scenes at a size of between 100 square metre (SQM) to 120 SQM of the property. Any extra scenes or bigger size of the property will have additional charges. If you are a real estate agent, you will also need to fix additional appointment with your client and the photographer to take the photo of the property. Depending on the budget and circumstances, if hiring a Virtual Tour Photographer is costly for you and/or you find it difficult to fix time for the photographer, you might want to DIY a Virtual Tour which we will be touching on the next session.DIY Virtual TourDo you browse website? Use smartphones? Use social Media? Utilise property portal (for real estate agents)? If your answer is NO TO ALL THE ABOVE, then do not waste your time reading on. Do you still remember how much time it took you to learn how to use a smartphone? How to create a social media account and post your activities? Creating a Virtual Tour on your own in www.panoleh.com is even easier, in fact it will become very easy after you have created 3 to 4 Virtual Tours on your own because it only takes 3 simple steps (Click here to understand how to create a Virtual Tour). Most people takes less than 10 minutes to create a Virtual Tour (It might take more time if you are creating a Virtual Tour with many scenes). I will need to spend about 3 to 4 minutes to create a Virtual Tour of a flat with 3 bedrooms of 8 scenes. Another advantage of creating your own Virtual Tour is that it helps you to save cost. In fact, creating an account in www.panoleh.com/register is free and you can create 1 Virtual Tour with maximum of 5 scenes with the free account. If you need to create more Virtual Tour, you can check out the price plan at www.panoleh.com/plans, 1 Virtual Tour with maximum of 25 scenes can be as low as $0.25. Other than saving cost, DIY a Virtual Tour also help you save the trouble of fixing extra appointments with your clients (if you are a Real Estate Agent) for the photographer to take the photo shoot. Which Should I Choose?Whether to hire a Virtual Tour Photographer or DIY a Virtual Tour depends very much on your budget and which industry you are creating the Virtual Tour for. For example, tourist attraction usually has bigger budget and has very big space that require many scenes for the Virtual Tour, it make sense for them to hire a professional Virtual Tour Photographer. For professions like real estate agents, every dollars and cents put into marketing will eat into their profit and the property they market is usually of a smaller scale compare to tourist attraction, it make more sense if they DIY a Virtual Tour on their own since it will help them to save money, time and also lesser hassle to fix extra appointments.

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Virtual Tours and Videos

Difference between Virtual Tour and VideoEvery week, we conduct training to teach real estate agents on how to create their own virtual tour and one of the common question we face is that the trainees will mistaken Virtual Tour as Video. For example of some questions are, “Can we put the Virtual Tour into Youtube? What type of Video file is Virtual Tour on? Can we download the Virtual Tour Video? How big is the video file?” Very often, we have to spend time to explain the difference between Virtual Tour and Video. To this point, if you still think Virtual Tour is a Video, let me tell you that VIRTUAL TOUR IS NOT A VIDEO.So what exactly is Virtual Tour? In simple terms, Virtual Tour is a simulation of a location using multiple panoramic images (360 images). For better illustration, click here to see an example of virtual tour. As for Video, it is a visual media product which features moving images. Sounds complicated? Just on the TV now and you will know what I mean by video.If you have clicked on the link which I have shown as a virtual tour example, you will understand the difference between a virtual tour and a video. In a virtual tour you will only see still images while in a video it shows moving images. Now we have a better understanding of the difference between Virtual Tour and Video, we can go to identify in what circumstances it is better to use virtual tour or video to improve your marketing.Improve your marketing by Virtual TourBack in year 1994 when virtual tour was first introduced, it took days to create a virtual tour. As technology advance, virtual tour can be created on our own in less than 5 minutes. Not only is it easy to create, virtual tour can also be done at a very low cost unlike the past. For the convenience and low cost of creating a virtual tour, this is one of the best methods to capture potential buyer’s attention due to its impressive visual nature and its fun nature when navigating a virtual tour.  In my last blog, I have stated how advancement of technology and education affect a buyer’s demand. Buyer today are less impulsive, they do much more research and comparisons before they buy. More importantly, they want to see detailed information. In property context, Virtual Tour is the “detailed information” which buyers today want to see because it shows every detail of the property visually.  This will naturally attract eyeballs if you are marketing a property. What is the most important aspect in marketing? It is to attract as much attention as possible so that you can have more potential buyers. Whether it will be converted into sales will be depending on your sales technique and other unforeseen circumstances. If you are looking for new ways, low cost, time saving and yet high potential to attract many potential buyers, virtual tour is definitely a tool for you to do it. You may click here for a free account to create virtual tour.   Improve marketing by VideoComparing to virtual tour, video should be better known to most of us. Video marketing is a very common and effective way of marketing, which is why till today we still see advertisement on TV. Video marketing is a very good way to get your message across to your potential customer and if you are creative enough, your video might even have the chance to go viral and get across to many potential customers. Other than getting messages across, it is also a way to stamp your own brand, letting people know your existence and constantly remind them about you and how good you are. Video Marketing can be as good as it sounds, however, it is also very time consuming and costly. Personally, I do video on my own and I can share some experience with you. Creating a 3 minute video can take me up to 2 full days which include one full day of taking the video and another day doing the editing. For beginners, it might even take up to 5 days just on the editing of the video and another 2 to 3 days to take a video, ironically, it doesn’t guarantee you viewership after all the hard work because there are many creative video online. If DIY a video sounds troublesome and you still want a video for marketing, you can consider hiring a professional videographer. I cannot judge if it is cheap or not because I only hired a videographer once which is a friend of mine, after “friendship price” I was charged $500. If you think that DIY a video is troublesome and hiring a videographer is too expensive, video marketing might not be a suitable option for you. However, bear in mind that if your video go viral, your video can be reached to many people whom will convert to more enquiries and it will convert to more sales. Virtual Tour or Video?“Should I use virtual tour marketing or video marketing?” There is no right answer to this because it is all up to personal preference. However, with the ever increasing number of social network visitors and users, I will recommend to do both video marketing and virtual tour to increase your branding profile. For real estate agents, video marketing is good to have but virtual tour is a MUST HAVE. We foresee that virtual tour is the way how people in the future will view property in social media, property portal and websites. I always like to tell people “Be the one to set the trend. Don’t be the one who let the trend set you up”. 

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Why Virtual Tours is Not Only for Beautiful Properties

Last week, I met a friend for a drink and the topic of buying a place came up. She was planning to move out of her current rented place and buy a house with her boyfriend. Having scheduled 4 of her viewings with Agent A on 14 Feb 2017, curiously, I asked her, “of all dates, why 14 Feb? It is Valentine’s Day.” Immediately, she cancelled all the viewings.This scenario may sound familiar, and I am sure the thought of preventing these waste of time ever occurred.When you use Virtual Tours to market the properties you represent, the cost and time savings are significant. Viewers who have been through the virtual tour will be able to decide if it’s the property they seek. When they eventually call you, the interest is genuine and your chances of closing the deal are higher.In this article, let us explore how Virtual Tours can help you market properties in your portfolio, be they beautiful or unattractive ones.Why Beautiful Properties need Virtual Tour?Have you ever wondered who the first property agent to use photos to market properties was?When did every real estate agent started following suit?Most importantly, why do you use photos to market your property?The answer is obvious; photos produce results. This technique, “Improved Marketing through Visualisation,” takes advantage of the simple fact that, we humans are Visual Animals.We make decisions by what our sight provides. We are impressed by what we see. We turn our heads to look at beautiful things. If you have a beautiful property in your portfolio, why limit its potential? A beautiful property should be shown off, catching as many pairs of eyeballs as possible. Show it to potential buyers who can afford it, or even those who may not at the moment.Why, you ask. Because it gives them a dream, allowing them to walk through the property as though they are there and visualizing how it’s like to be actually there. People who are impressed will share it with their friends, they will tell their friends and colleagues, or even share it on social media. Hence, it makes a highly effective but yet cost-free marketing tool. As a result, you will get more calls from potential buyers, which is what you wanted in the first place.Why Unattractive Properties need Virtual Tour?Several years ago, I was looking for a home as a newlywed. My wife and I were looking for a 3 room HDB (Housing & Development Board) resale flat near the city. We browsed through various property portals, going through numerous listings. The first thing we did was to filter out those that had no images or insufficient details, even though it might have been in our desired locations. In the end, the ones we shortlisted had something in common - they had many photos and detailed descriptions.Why did my wife and I filtered out those listings initially? For the simple reason that we do not have the luxury of time to go for so many viewings. Also, I felt that the agent might be hiding something, hence the lack of confidence to provide sufficient photos and information. Yes, I may have possibly missed out on better units, though I believe that the agent who put in the effort, deserved the deal.Make a DifferenceThere are more than 100,000 listings in property portals. Even after filtering by area and other basic requirements, there are at least 50 to 100 listings to sift through to our dream home. So how do you make your listing stand out from the rest? Should you hide as much information as possible, because the property you are marketing is not attractive, and still hope for calls from potential prospects? Or do you put as much information as possible and be totally transparent, to attract potential buyers who are genuinely interested?The answer should be rather obvious by now. Virtual Tour is definitely one of the ways to attract these potential buyers to look into your listing. It is all about law of large numbers, when there are more people looking at your listings, the chances of conversion into a successful sale will be higher.With the advancement of technology and education, demand from buyers will be higher. Buyers will want more information, details and transparency before they commit to buy a product. Virtual Tour will be the future on how buyers view properties. It is your decision to set the trend first, or to follow the trend after.

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Ricoh Theta SC Review

Ricoh has recently release a new camera to their 360 camera lineup after a year of anticipation. It is  deem as a more budget friendly model with adequate specs to give it’s older brother the S model a run for it’s money. The Ricoh Theta SC is designed to make 360 photography more accessible with a simpler interface and a lower price point. For still images, users won't see much differences between the Theta SC and the Theta S. Both cameras uses the same pair of 12 megapixel sensors measuring at 1/2.3" and both use dual f/2 lenses. Internal software stitches the data from both sensors together to create simple 360 images. Both also share similar 8 GB of storage will keep up to 1600 images internally without an SD card. You can also always change the memory card inside by yourself but it might void the warranty so that is not really recommended. 1. Design Ricoh Theta SC has a candy bar design very much similar to the theta S except slightly bulkier in dimension. Its got a softer, powder coated metal finish and its sleek design is very practical. The camera’s layout is simple , allowing you to use with just one hand or it can be operated remotely by connecting to your smartphone. Its small form factor allows you to easily slip it into your jeans or inside your bag . It also has a number of colours to choose from and Ricoh’s fans would certainly be delighted that their prayers are heard because previously only black colour is available on the theta S.  A glowing LED to indicate that it’s recording, a Wi-Fi light to let you know if wireless communication is on or off, and an indicator that differentiates between photo mode and video mode 2. Image QualityThe Theta SC is believe to share the same camera lens and capabilities with the theta S. With 14 megapixels and capturing image size up to 5376x2688 pixels. We have make a comparison of the photos in the below example and our conclusion is that both images looks almost identical. Images taken by the 2 cameras are sharp with little saturation thus giving it a vibrant look with little detail lost.  The camera is best work during daytime and the night photography is also pretty decent due to it’s f2.0 aperture. It is still best images in the 360camera category that you can get below $1000.Below is a comparison of photos taken with both different camera. Ricoh Theta SRicoh Theta SCVideo QualityThe Theta SC only shoots in 720p instead of 1080p. Stretch that resolution around into a 360 view and video quality will be rather low when uploaded onto youtube or facebook. That footage is also recorded at a very choppy 15 fps and clips are limited to five minutes instead of 25 on the theta S. You’ll be able to store several hours of footage on the included 8GB of storage, but the individual video limit still remains. There is also no HDMI port, thus live streaming function is not possible.  Theta SC sample videoConclusion 360 photography and virtual tour is definitely going to be the future of real estate marketing as the VR popularity continues into a new era. The Theta SC currently retailing at $488 and it is consider really affordable for the image quality it gives. It provides the same image quality as the theta S and that is sufficient enough to recommend this as the go to camera to get if you decided to start marketing your properties with virtual tour. Even though its video function is relatively sub-par , but usually its not really practical if you aren’t doing a lot of live streaming and video recording. This is no doubt our favourite camera in terms of value & quality walking into 2017. 

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How to Take a Good Panoramic Photo for Virtual Tour

1. LightingLight and illumination are the basics of photography. The very word “photography” comes from two Greek words, phos meaning light, and graphis meaning drawing. Hence, photography can be described as “drawing with light”.If you ask me to name the most important thing in photography, I would say light. Without light, there is no illumination. In a room without illumination, everything is pitch black. You can’t see a thing. Taking a shot – assuming your camera allows you to – produces a solid black photograph. You switch on a lamp, and you send light across the room, and everything is illuminated. Now you can take a photograph and show something in the picture. You realize that your eye and the camera both needs light and illumination to work.Photography is about capturing light and recording it, whether on paper, or more frequently now, in a digital format. As a photographer, you can control the amount, intensity and duration of light required to create the picture. One advantage of using a 360 Camera is the ease of use. There isn't so much to take note of when position for your shot unlike traditional camera's concern about capturing the right lighting. The concern is only when under dim condition is where quality will be affected generally. So what you need to know most importantly is only 2 simple things when taking photo with a 360 Camera. Firstly, switch on all the lights in the room and pulling up all the curtains to allow as much sunlight as possible. This will be sufficient enough to get good quality shots with a 360 Camera.2. BalanceProfessional photographers usually toggle with the balance of the camera to frame the idea shot, expressing the feeling they wish to portray out of a photo. Even for the leisure photographer, do you remember the last time when you were taking different shots of your food or photo of yourself just trying to find the best photo that portrays the desired feel? The benefit of using a 360 Camera is you only need to remember to keep your 360 Camera straight up. Because of the nature of the surrounded image that 360 Camera produce, balance is not a significance issue, thus another plus point of why 360 Camera is a must have. 3. Above waist level    This is very simple and straightforward. Always make sure your camera is taken above waist level, ensuring your image will give your user an eye-level point of view. Avoid placing camera on the floor or anywhere lower than the waist will provide a more professional looking result.4. Right camera settingsWith numerous camera settings available, for a beginner this can be both confusing and daunting. Manual exposure, aperture priority, ISO, shutter speed may all sound demanding for a normal user. Another reason why we highly recommend the Ricoh Theta cameras is because of it’s ease of use. Its like the Apple of all 360 Cameras with its user friendly settings and control. Users new to 360 photography need to know only one thing, and that is setting your camera setting on the phone’s app to HDR mode. Ricoh did a great job in creating simple settings like HDR mode for beginners so now anyone can take great photos. HDR stands for high dynamic range, and it essentially takes a series of images, each shot with a different exposure from darkest to lightest. This is currently only available for the Theta cameras. So if you are using a Theta camera, remember to set it to HDR mode before shooting. Another common problem of using a 360 Camera is shooting in fluorescent lighting. The lighting and illumination will look distorted in images. The solution to tackling such problems is changing your shutter speed to 1/50, or shooting it with auto mode may work as well. 5. StagingHome staging is the act of preparing a home for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property's appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want. People usually use arts, painting, accessories, lights, greenery and carpet to stage the home, to give potential buyers a more attractive first impression of the property.After understanding the importance of staging, there is only 2 main point that user should take note of when taking photo for their virtual tour. 1. Always make sure the home is kept tidy and presentable. Giving potential buyer a homey feeling or a visualisation that this is their future home, is vital in deciding if this is going to be their future home. A good first impression always count nevertheless. 2. Engaging a professional stager. Empty homes leaves an empty feel to some buyer after viewing it. You can’t really blame them as there will always be viewers with poorer imagination, so do consider it a worthy investment as a professional stager can transform an empty home into a dramatic one that everyone dream of owning. Leaving a deep impression of that home is vital so eventually it will help you to sell off your home quicker. Notice the significance difference in an empty and staged home? There's a reason why 80% of the population are not artistes because they have bad visualization. So its your job to show them and help them visualize a home they will live in the future. On the day they sign the option to purchase, you be glad to find all this worth the investment. There are many home furnishing company that provide home staging services . Look it up in google and you will find one easily.6. User experienceLast but not least, user experience is also another important thing to take note of when creating virtual tour. You should always try to place your camera at the middle of the room so your viewers can navigate easily. Also try to keep to a recommended minimal amount of images or scene in a virtual tour . Ever heard of too much of anything is no good. Same logic applies here as too much images can be confusing sometimes and that will leaves a bad impression to your prospective buyer. We recommend an average of 7 to 10 scene per virtual tour . For larger landed homes, try to keep it under 20. ConclusionWith this 6 basic tips, you are ready to start taking your panoramic photos for your virtual tour. Follow the guide here for a more detail step by step on how to do it. 

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How to Create a Virtual Tour in 5 minutes

Why Use Virtual Tours? Ever wish you can make your own virtual tour to impress your buyer but the cost and difficulty is holding you back? Many real estate agents understand and enjoy how virtual tour as a marketing tool is benefiting them but the steep learning curve and expensive cost to do yourself is turning them back. Alternatively they would engage a professional photographer to create virtual tour for them and real estate virtual tour services ranges from a $100 onwards and can go as high as $900. When did it get started - Invention of 360 Cameras. Previously with digital photography, the most common method for producing panoramas is to take a series of pictures and stitch them together. Ideally, in order to correctly stitch images together without parallax error, the camera must be rotated about the centre of its lens entrance pupil using specially design panoramic rotary tripod like the popular nodal ninja3. After taking the photos, Stitching software are use to correct parallax errors and different programs seem to vary in their ability to correct parallax errors. The most common and widely use are Ptgui and Hugin (free & open source). Ptgui is more user friendly and its software recognition system is also smarter in recognising photos when it comes to stitching. The only downside is that you have to pay additional software cost for using it. The whole process can be tedious and waste hours of time, that’s why it’s a better idea to pay a photographer to do it. As technology advances, Ricoh invented the world first portable 360 panoramic camera. These portable camera allows users to take panoramic photos in seconds by stitching photos up automatically with its sophisticated software. Soon more manufacturers and other marquee brands join in too with their own 360 Cameras. Making virtual tour is now a breeze with 360 Cameras compare to spending hours previously as mentioned. With technology help like this, anyone is capable of creating virtual tour in 5 minutes. What you need to get started To get started you would need 4 simple things, a 360 Camera, a tripod, mobile phone and PanoLeh (virtual tour builder software). 360 Camera We highly recommend Ricoh Theta S 360 Camera if you can’t make up your mind in the sea of cameras available in the market now. In terms of quality, price and mobility because of its easy to carry around and small form factor, Ricoh Theta S is the best at the moment from our experiences of using all other different cameras out there. The price of $628 is consider mid range but the quality produce by the camera for this price beats even some other more expensive cameras out there. Recently they finally release a cheaper version for normal consumer known as Theta SC. Quality of photos is equally impressive high with only slight difference in terms of video functions compare to the S version. Its cheaper price of around $480 convince us that this is going to be the next best camera in 2017 in terms of value. We are impress after trying it out for a couple of days. Click on the post for a more detail Ricoh Theta SC review. Tripod/Monopod You would need a tripod or a monopod to hold the camera while shooting for that professional look. A monopod is lightweight and thus more portable as it can be stow in a bag easily unlike a tripod. An affordable monopod starts around $40 at a slightly higher price but a cheap and simple tripod is also capable enough for the job. This is really down to personal preference and your needs. We highly recommend monopod from smatree for it’s quality and reasonable price. Phone A mobile phone is another essential item. Have you wonder why you don’t see photographer’s face or anybody in a virtual tour sometimes and how they manage to take that photo. Its because every 360 Camera can be connected to a phone via their own camera’s app. As long as your phone supports android/ios, any phone is suitable. The app can be found under the link for Ricoh Theta Ricoh Theta S - Android Apps or Ricoh Theta S on the App Store. Panoleh Last but not least after taking the beautiful panoramic photos, you would need PanoLeh to create your virtual tour in 5 minutes. Panoleh is a revolutionary platform to create simple virtual tour to present and impress your client. It is the most advance way to showcase property presentation to impress viewers regardless potential home buyer looking for a house or interior design ideas. No photography and I.T skills are needed to create this simple yet interactive virtual tour. With the help of its user friendly CMS platform, PanoLeh is the next generation most impressive presentation tool use to be use by many real estate professionals and interior designers to succeed and differentiate themselves in this highly competitive real estate market. How to do it After taking the beautiful panoramic 360 photos from your camera. If you still not sure, you can follow this guide here on how to take photos withyour camera. You can also follow our tutorial video for more illustrative video demo on creating the virtual tour. Sign up or login onto your PanoLeh account to create virtual tour. It’s a 3 simple steps and you can be a virtual tour expert too. Step 1  Name your virtual tour Select create PanoTour from the dashboard Next name your virtual tour. In this example, we name it 98 Oxford St. Autorotate function – you select yes if you would like to virtual tour to auto rotate when it plays. Remarks – Remark column is for you to keep personal information regarding the tour. End users would not be able to see it. Access control – You can choose to protect the virtual tour with a password. Step 2 Upload photos -Upload all the photos that you have took for this virtual tour Select the images you want to upload next. -Name the images so your user would identify which room it is. -Move the desire image to the top if you like to start the virtual tour with this photo(usually the living room or entrance). Step 3 Connect the photos -Drag the arrow into desire places in the photo and connect the room. - select the direction of the arrow and select which photo(scene) you would like this arrow direct to when user click on it. - Connect the rest of the room - Repeat for other scenes. - Click Publish Below is the sample of the finish virtual tour. Click on the link to view SAMPLE LINK There you have it. Virtual tour is done in 5 minutes all by yourself. No need for expensive photographer or difficult IT skills. After creating the beautiful virtual tour, its important to market it out to let your viewer or potential buyer see it. Follow how to embed and market your virtual tour guide to learn how to embed your virtual tour onto other property portal like propertyguru or personal website. The future of real estate marketing? With the help of virtual tour, real estate agents have consistently received more potential calls from buyers who like what they saw online. This allows the buyers to view at the comfort of their house away from the traffic and regardless it is rain or shine. Buyers can then do their homework and view only the shortlisted ones that they favour thus saving both parties time and convenience. The limitless advantages of this tool also allows real estate agents to market their properties to overseas buyer or investor. No longer the days where buyers only have pictures as reference for their potential investment, they can even immerse themselves into the environment by viewing with a Samsung gear VR or any virtual reality cardboard viewer. Technology has come a long way, with the wide adoption of virtual reality and affordable prices of a 360 Cameras now available to the masses, this is definitely the future of real estate presentation Sign up now to use for free

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