We've all seen them, but how can you create one?
As you shop for your first or next home, research a new vacation location, or (like me) cruise around Street View, you might stop and wonder: “How are these 3D tours made?” The answer is less complex than one might think, thanks to Matterport, and its line of 3D modeling solutions.
From allowing the use of smartphones and third-party VR cameras for scanning to streamlining the acquisition process with its online platform and companion application to offering a reliable, field proof, 3D modeling solution like the Matterport MC250 Pro2 Camera, Matterport has been on the front lines of 3D mapping, helping enthusiasts and professionals alike.
On this occasion, we took the Matterport MC250 Pro2 for a test drive and these are our thoughts.
Equipment and Application Used
- Matterport Pro2 3D Camera
- Manfrotto MT190X3 Aluminum Tripod
- Kessler Crane Kwik Release Receiver
- Kessler Crane Kwik Short Release Plate
- 3/8"-16 Tripod Screw
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Matterport Capture App
Right out of the box, the simple interface of the Matterport MC250 Pro2 welcomed us into a pleasant start-up experience. With only two buttons, the operation demystified itself: one button to power up the unit, one button to check on battery life. Its design quickly proved itself not only to be simple and ergonomic, but also to be highly intuitive and appropriately robust. For instance, we truly loved the simple integration of the side handle. It allowed us to move and put the camera down easily while we prepared and planned our mapping. It functioned similarly to a contained briefcase. At 6.5 lb, we were pleasantly surprised that the camera was not heavier.
The assembly was just as fast and intuitive. Once we fastened the camera to the plate receiver and tripod (approximately five feet of height to achieve best results), we were good to go. Before arriving at our mapping location, we charged the camera for about 4 hours. We felt that was a little bit too long but after learning that the battery life was 8 hours, the time trade-off turned into a quick no-brainer.
Initial Setup Tips
- Charge the unit to 100% with the supplied power adapter ONLY (from 0%, this can take up to 4.5 hours).
- Set the tripod to approximately five feet of height. This will help the tour have a smooth, immersive experience.
- Before initiating, make sure the camera is securely fastened to its receiver and tripod.
- Hide any unused equipment, bags or/and boxes. This maintains the tour clean of any unnecessary or unwanted clutter.
Capture with Ease and Precision
Connecting the Matterport MC250 Pro2 to its companion application, Matterport Capture, was as simple as setting up the camera itself. We connected our mobile device to the camera’s Wi-Fi network, and it never lost the connection. We were able to complete our first scan in a matter of seconds; it provided direct access to a 3D visualization that, although incomplete, painted a clearer path forward. As the camera turned on its axis, we opted to stay behind the rotation, but one can easily decide to hide somewhere else and stay away from each camera placement. In between scans, we experienced about 30 seconds of wait time and there was no manual data to input. We created the job, gave it a name, included the location’s address, and off we went.
Connection and Acquisition Tips
- Wait until the camera finishes the initial self-warming to connect.
- Keep the Matterport application up to date.
- Keep the optics clean and clear of any substances or dust.
- Keep each scan at about 5 to 10 feet of placement separation.
- Redo any scans if there are any sudden bumps or heavy vibration.
Preparing for the Upload
Before we processed our scans, we were very pleased with the level of adjustability the application provided us. We were able to trim our floor plan and focus on the specific area we wanted to map and visualize. This helped our model to be clean, precise to size, and free of any processing issues.
We ultimately gathered 24 scans with one additional placement revision; it took about 40 minutes, and we were ready to upload for processing within the Matterport’s server. We uploaded at 9:30 A.M. (ET) and Matterport replied with the completed model by 12:30 PM (ET). We took this processing time to revisit the placements thoroughly and make sure we didn’t miss anything important or encounter any distracting artifacts.
Let the World See Your Tour
With the processed and finalized project now on hand, we were able to share direct viewing links and embed the tour in our website. Having the flexibility to keep it private, password protected and/or unlisted was an added benefit we were not expecting. Furthermore, the collaboration tools within the platform enabled bi-directional sharing among our team. We were all able to do individual in-depth viewing and additional postediting—a tremendously helpful feature for handling and editing multiple jobs at the same time. In addition, the integration features with other major platforms didn’t go unnoticed. Straight from the Matterport platform, tours can be shared with any site using MLS (Multiple Listing Service), Google Street View, Vrbo, or even Realtor.com and Home.com.
Added Protection: Pelican Storm Case
Although it’s not mandatory, we suggest storing your Matterport Pro2 in a protective case during transport—especially if you’re travelling to job sites where the risk of equipment damage is greater (e.g., a construction site). Of the available options, we recommend the Pelican Storm Case, a near-unbreakable injection-molded case specifically designed for the Matterport Pro2 (or Pro1) camera. The Storm Case echoes the indomitable design of Pelican’s legendary Protector Case, meaning it’s crushproof, weatherproof, and shatter resistant. It also features Pelican’s proprietary Vortex Valve, which regulates air pressure and helps keep the case watertight. The one notable difference between the Storm Case and the Protector Case is that the Storm Case features a unique “Press & Pull” latch that allows you to easily open the case with the press of a single button—without compromising protection or security. If you're serious about keeping your Matterport Pro2 safe and protecting your investment, the Pelican Storm Case is your best bet.
The Matterport MC250 Pro2 might seem intimidating, but we can completely attest to the opposite. Along with the Matterport Capture application and the required mounting peripherals, one can show up at any location and start scanning in a matter of minutes. The ease of operation is so streamlined that expert level can be achieved after your first job. Revisions are painless and the online platform cannot be any more intuitive. Assemble, scan, repeat, revise, upload, wait for processing—that’s all it takes, and be sure to know that it is as simple as it sounds! On the other hand, virtuality is becoming one of the major vehicles in our current technology industry. Having any form of virtual access increases the accessibility, likability, and value perception of any new product or service that hits the market. The MC250 Pro2 just expands on that, and it generates a vast number of new opportunities in this ever-expanding field.
We enjoyed and loved working with the Matterport MC250 Pro2. Are you ready to give it a try? Let us know in the Comments section, below.