The Importance of Virtual Tours – Long Beach Post Interview

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We utilize the Matterport Pro 2 camera to capture our Virtual Tours. In our opinion, the quality is unparalleled when packaged with the dynamic, powerful and simple user interface made available to our clients. These virtual tours give real estate agents and businesses the ability to open back up not only to a local audience but to a global audience. You are able to monetize your space in a way that’s never been possible before and really paint the narrative and story of your space in rich, deep and dynamic detail.

Users can browse at their own pace, and this is the key. 

Demand for virtual tours of homes, art galleries, and businesses has skyrocketed since the Covid19 pandemic. Thankfully, companies like Matterport and Cupix 3D, have been ahead of the curve and developed end to end solutions with great user interfaces for you to choose from when presenting your virtual tours. 

Below is the full interview transcript with Brickworks owner & CEO Sam Simmons & LB Post reporter Asia Morris. Our feature article with The Long Beach Post can be found here:

What have you seen as far as small businesses, and art-related businesses, reaching out to create virtual spaces their patrons and viewers can access? 

I’ve had several galleries and retail stores reach out since DAE, but mainly commercial & residential real estate / property management companies. These virtual tours allow businesses to open back up not only to the local population but also open themselves up to a global audience. Virtual Tours save real estate agents a ton of time and money by giving potential buyers / renters a really immersive, deep and rich experience where they can browse homes at their own pace. This helps to keep the non-serious enquiries at home, leaving only serious and informed prospective buyers. 

Have you been creating more virtual tours and experiences since the pandemic started, for example? 

Absolutely. Albert Einstein famously once said “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” My firm Brickworks specializes in drafting site plan layouts for Music Festivals and large sporting events for Live Nation, Goldenvoice, Danny Wimmer Presents, and a handful of independent promoters. Unfortunately, all our festivals this year have canceled or been postponed, which has devastated our business model. I’m now applying the same professional-grade survey equipment and CAD software subscriptions I usually use to survey and layout music festivals, to the real estate industry and to curate these virtual and interactive environments for local businesses. I’m really enjoying doing it and have a passion for Art, Design & Architecture, so this is right up my ally. 

What is the one of the biggest, or more complicated projects, you’ve been tasked with creating since businesses had to close due to the pandemic?

Large multi-level commercial real estate projects typically are the most complicated. They’re often 20-30,000 SQF and require a lot of attention to detail. 

What are some of the more advanced capabilities you can offer as a professional in this industry, compared to a more DIY set up a business might try to create on their own?

You can use Matterport’s technology on your phone via a free app, however the end result are nowhere near as clean and clear as you’ll get with our scans. To get the deep, rich and crisp results like in DAE, you need to utilize the Matterport Pro 2 camera which comes with a heavy price tag to purchase. We’re able to offer these virtual tours at a really fair price and it’s nowhere near as expensive as people think it is. Brickworks also offer drone scans which generate high resolution aerial imagery and extremely accurate 3D models of buildings, far better than what you’ll see from Google. We also offer interactive maps, 3D renderings and scaled floor plans. 

The DAE’s virtual space is honestly mind blowing, I’ve seen other virtual galleries before, but this one, with its maneuverability and crispy clear definition, is fantastic. What is the process like with creating this? Is it painstaking to implement all these fantastic details and capabilities? 

Thank you! Unlike conventional photography, this is a 360 capture so you have to pay attention to everything in the environment around you and not just a specific cropped area. It’s actually not that hard to do, you just have to pay attention and consider the environment, lighting & aesthetics. The virtual tours are unforgiving in that they truly capture everything, so I find myself having to redo scans when I see I’ve left my Hydroflask on the floor in one of the shots haha. 

What are some of the specs as far as the tech is concerned? How long does it take to produce something like this?

I utilize the Matterport Pro 2 camera. It’s around $6,000 to get the camera, case, tripod etc and I also use drones when capturing environment. I love the Mavic Pro 2 personally, it’s versatile and incredibly intuitive piece of equipment. A must have for any Architect or surveyor.

Do you see creating these virtual spaces as being a real step forward for not only businesses, but perhaps larger institutions like museums? I can imagine DAE will continue to use this technology even after they’re able to open up to having visitors again…

Absolutely. Businesses large and small should be leveraging this technology. Like I mentioned earlier, these virtual tours allow you to open back up not only locally but to a global audience. You can frame and present your space in great detail and really paint the narrative of what you’re trying to show.