Anyone who has shopped for a home knows that it is difficult to evaluate a property from an online profile. Not all real estate agents have access to high-end photographers, and most importantly, it is difficult to determine the size of a space from a photo. Matterport revolutionized the industry with its turnkey solutions, empowering real estate professionals, business owners, and hospitality managers to create a “digital twin” of their property, inviting potential residents or customers to tour the digital twin on popular web platforms. In the past, it wasn't easy to get accurate results unless you used a 360 camera or high-end panoramic camera. Now, Matterport has made high-quality 3D tours available to the masses. Introducing the Matterport Axis Motorized Mount, a motorized head that enables your smartphone to capture a digital twin of any property.
For our test, we paired the Matterport Axis with the iPhone 13 Pro and brought it to an Airbnb in Jersey City, NJ. We chose the iPhone 13 Pro because the Matterport Capture app can use the iPhone’s LiDAR sensors for enhanced accuracy. The Axis comes packaged in a semi-rigid custom foam case and includes a compact stand for the camera. The complete setup is small enough so whether you travel by car, train, bus, or foot, the Axis system will not be a burden to carry.
Start Scanning in Minutes
The Axis is straightforward to set up. The Axis and Axis Remote pair with your smartphone inside the Matterport Capture app. Once you pair the Axis, you can mount your phone on the clamp. The goal is to slide the phone left and right until the camera is aligned with the arrow on the base, and raise or lower the phone until the camera aligns with the tilt fulcrum at the top. Last, the app will instruct you to tilt the camera at an angle to get the ideal angle for capturing the space, and then you are finally ready to start capturing.
Capture Properties Faster and More Accurately
For anyone who has used the Capture app with a smartphone, the process may look familiar. The app looks and performs the same whether you are using the Axis or not, but there are a few key differences that dramatically enhance your experience.
First, the Axis automates the capture process and guarantees consistent results. When capturing spaces with a phone freehand, the Matterport platform does a fantastic job at overcoming human error and parallax issues, but the results are not perfect. A scan may fail and ask you to try again, which can take several tries before you can move on.
Using the Axis will save you time just by being consistent. Occasionally, in our tests, the Axis did not pan far enough to take the next photo; however, this was easily resolved by gently nudging the phone until the app took the picture. Ultimately, it was still significantly faster than it would have been had we attempted to scan the property freehand.
Second, the Axis is significantly more accurate than attempting to scan a property freehand. The accuracy range goes from a 4-20% margin of error scanning freehand to 4-8% using the Axis system. The 4-8% variance is based on the smartphone model and human error when mounting the phone.
Finally, the included remote allows you to trigger your phone when you are safely out of sight. You can trigger captures without the remote if needed, but don’t forget you will need to find a place out of sight to hide to avoid being seen by the camera. Matterport recommends that you take photos approximately 5 feet apart as you scan a space; therefore, the ability to get consistently accurate results with remote control will save a ton of time, energy, and patience when scanning a location.
Process Virtual Tours from Your Smartphone
When you’re finished scanning a space, post-production is easy. Mark off all windows and mirrors, then upload the completed scan to Matterport for processing. This can be accomplished in the Matterport Capture app before you leave the space; however, these features are also available on a computer via a web browser if desired. It is important to mark windows and mirrors to ensure that they are not mistaken for doorways to another room. Within a couple of hours, the scan is processed and ready to share. For those who want to create a tour that is more interactive, you can also add “Mattertags” that provide descriptions, photos, or videos of emphasized areas, create a highlight reel for quick access to a property’s best features, and even curate a tour that will automatically guide a visitor through the space at the press of a button.
Check out our Matterport scan by clicking on the following link.
Integration with Major Platforms
Matterport’s tours integrate with many platforms very easily. Real estate websites that use MLS (Multiple Listing Service) not only embed Matterport virtual tours on their platform but also highlight properties with virtual tours for additional visibility. Matterport tours integrate seamlessly with Google Street View, can embed tours on private websites, and can be shared via link, text, or email. These integrations have been used in real estate for some time but are great for other businesses. We demonstrated an Airbnb host providing a tour of their property; another example is how a gym might show off their equipment to potential customers; a location scout or event organizer could share their findings with their organization, etc.
A Professional’s Best Friend
Not only is the Axis a tremendous first step for beginners, but it is also advantageous for professionals. The MC250 Pro2 camera captures high-quality, dimensionally accurate indoor spaces; however, its reliance on infrared light to measure distance can be problematic when scanning outdoor spaces in direct sunlight. In these scenarios, one could use the Axis with a LiDAR-enabled smartphone for the outdoor spaces while using the MC250 Pro2 indoors. As previously mentioned, the Axis has a 4-8% margin of error; this puts the Axis on a similar playing field as 360 cameras such as the Ricoh Theta Z1. The Axis certainly will not replace Matterport’s flagship camera, but it will supplement a professional’s workflow when encountering outdoor spaces and provide an alternative to prosumers who already have a high-end smartphone and do not need a 360 camera for other endeavors.
The Matterport Axis and Capture app is a turnkey solution so intuitive to work with you almost forget how complicated it is to create a virtual tour. Many alternatives can produce a similar digital replica with manual controls for everything. These solutions provide a great deal more customization, from processing your photos to adding logos, designing custom buttons, etc., but result in more work to get even close to what Matterport offers automatically. For some, these alternatives may fit their needs; but for anyone looking for a beginner-friendly entry point into the virtual tour space, it does not get easier or faster while producing professional results than Matterport Axis and the smartphone you have in your pocket right now.
Are you ready to take your real estate photography to new dimensions? Share your impressions of the Matterport Axis in the Comments section, below.