Virtual Reality Part 1: Property Photography with Google Cardboard.

Virtual Reality Part 1:  Property Photography with Google Cardboard.

Property Photography with Google Cardboard

Since its inception, an immersive virtual reality experience is a very exciting concept for real estate marketing and property photography, but you can’t help wondering just how this media will get into the hands of the average household with expensive gear like a $600 Oculus Rift. Then Google Cardboard came along and VR became a viable option for property marketing on a mass scale.

Much cheaper (think $20), Google Cardboard offers an introductory VR option that for most of us is good enough. Cardboard has been quickly adopted in the gaming industry and there are many free consumer apps for experiencing themes and places, but apps in the real estate industry are yet to grow. What the industry needs is both a DIY and professional platform for building this content. I haven’t looked at it in depth, but there appears to be a few of these available already, such as  Cardboard works with whatever processor is found inside your smartphone. Gradually scanning tech and apps will become commonplace for property photography, but the first step is to get the devices in the hands of buyers everywhere.

Real Estate agents will benefit a great deal from having their prospective buyers use this technology because it will help in the qualification process and the closing process. For owner-occupier buyers that have had an immersive 3D walkthrough of a property, the chances are that they are better qualified when they walk through that door. When they leave the property, the 3D experience will help them relive the visit and thus help reduce the closing time frame of a sale. For property investors, remote selling from other countries and interstate becomes a lot more achievable.

Like me, I’m sure a number of you will remember growing up with the old ViewMaster at home, pop in the reels and click through the 3D pics. Viewmaster has been doing this for decades, but the brand has now taken a big jump into the 21st centaury by teaming up with Google to create its new 3D viewer What this means for property photography is that a device like this that has multiple uses will become far more available in the hands of property buyers than a device that only has a commercial use. Eventually with all households having some form of VR device available, creates opportunity to deliver property marketing immersive VR experiences right into every home.

What’s great about this technology is that we don’t need a separate CPU or game unit to operate the headset, unlike Oculus or others. It means easy access to VR wherever you are. Simply open up the Cardboard viewer you own, pop your smartphone inside and open one of the apps offering a virtual reality experience.

Initially, highlighting the scenic world through Google street tours and walks through museums, the immersion experience was only as good as the imagery. Not wanting to lag behind, however, Google has been hard at work improving the overall experience, upgrading its sound so that “reality” is more lifelike.


Other app developers have followed quickly behind. Disney highlighted special VR videos days before “Stars Wars: The Force Awakens” through its Star Wars app, giving moviegoers a heads up that others didn’t have. Or check out Paul McCartney’s 360-degree “Live and Let Die” concert experience in VR. For property photography, platforms and service providers will start becoming more available and iMAGECLOUD will be looking to signing them up onto our supplier marketplace. Keep a look out for future posts on our blog site for exciting new developments in this space to make VR more attainable to your clients.

And with the low price, it’s easier to make a gift of a Cardboard viewer than one of the more expensive options already out there or soon to be on the market. Easily branded to your own property photography brand or your client’s brand, companies looking for an edge might consider gifting them to clients. Unofficial Cardboard, approved by Google, offers a 10-pack for $10 each.

Yes, it’s probably a much better experience with the Oculus Rift, but will you really notice? What you will notice is all that extra cash still in your pocket when you invest in Google Cardboard.

Author: Gough Venter / Executive Chairman iMAGECLOUD

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