360 Degree Video- A Solution Looking For a Problem

December 26th, 2009

Joel Burselm over at Future of Real Estate Marketing did a post recently that highlights some new wild and crazy technology by a Dutch company, yellowBird.

While I have to admit this technology is different and entertaining, I disagree with Joel’s statement that, ” This most definitely this has implications for real estate marketing.” Sure you could use it to shoot the interior of a home, but what would it add over a slide show of still shots or a video walk through? Nothing that I can see.

Here’s why it will never have any significant use in marketing real estate:

  1. If you shot 360 video in a room, unless someone was running around talking about the home in every direction, you couldn’t tell it was video. Presenting a home just isn’t a problem in capturing movement in all directions at once.
  2. No matter how you cut it, capturing video in all directions at once is more expensive than stills or traditional video. So why would anyone pay more to use this kind of technology for real estate marketing? It’s just not going to happen, this is just not compelling enough compared to existing technology that anyone’s going to pay more for it.

To me this looks more like a solution looking for a problem. In fact, I have a difficult time thinking of where 360 video is useful other than on stage at a rock concert.

Share this

9 Responses to “360 Degree Video- A Solution Looking For a Problem”

  • I see your point, in a home there is not much 3D going on. Perhaps if you wanted to know what the dishwasher sounded like while in the bedroom. (sarc.) The idea is not new though, I bumped into this technology during the 20th Century.


    It sure has come a long way, but that is par for the tech course. Your point is right on though, Pano’s can do the job. Stills are over rated IMO. I am a vtour guy from the beginning, as I know you are as well Larry. Still have your 360 website up and running?

  • Larry,
    I agree with your comment about 360 stuff. I never could figure out why using it made for good marketing. Just because ‘you can’ doesn’t equate to ‘you should’.

  • I take 360 degree still shots and it works well to do a virtual tour with. But unless you need to see the paint dry I cant see why you would need it in video as well.

  • Most of the large RS agencies in southeast Virginia have stopped using 360, seems the buyers don’t care for it.

  • I completely agree with Larry,

    I don’t see how it would have any real application in RE photography with the possible exception of amazing 360 views, but that is what an occassional panorama shot is for.

    Besides, did you look at the 45lb rig? Reminds me of my 4×5 with tethered digital back on a 5 series Gitzo, not easily “floated” around.

    Happy New Year


  • The only time I see a room like that is when I’ve had too much to drink.

  • Larry: I agree. regular 360’s sill have a place. But I don’t think this tech is going anywhere.


  • I agree with all your comments. While I do think that that example is pretty good it isn’t good enough in my opinion to use in many other industries also. To view a space I still MUCH prefer regular ol 360 stills. When done well, and large they do present a compelling experience. Here is one I did of a private dining area at a restaurant:

    More than a still image, it clearly gives the viewer a sense of the place. Obviously 360° would not be needed in this case to do that.

    It would make absolutely no sense to do 360° for an RE listing! Nothing is moving so why waste bandwidth and video on a kitchen? Unless a cat walked by!

    We had 360° up and running in 1998 at Apple. At that time I was product manager for this technology – back then it was WOW LOOK AT THAT! It was small, fuzzy, navigable video that was really cool but not ready for prime time.

    I do think YellowBird produces pretty good quality for the size window they are displaying in though. There are uses for this technology. Just not for RE.

    I think what has potential (Not for RE) is “live” 360° video. But to do that you need a camera that is basically shaped like a headlamp mirror where there is no stitching involved. Also there is no camera to move so many viewers can navigate and “move” the scene around since it is all in software.

  • Sorry, guys. I have to disagree with just about everything that has been said here. 360 video is a new meidum that is finally comming into its own and there are applications in the real estate industry, if only at the highest end for the time being. When a 360 video tour is provided by an informed realtor, much more valuable information can be delived through the video imagery. Think about it. If you actually visit a property, chances are you are accompanied by a realtor who walks you thorugh the property. The message delivered is much more powerful and the viewer still has the option to look around for themselves. Details can now be provided with ultra high res imagery, but 360 video also provides more opportunity to move the viewer around a room to get a better look at the details. Yellowbird is doing some cool things with the Ladybug 2 camera, as are others, but they don’t compare with what Immerisve Media has going on. They have provided LIVE 360 video for events with MTV and others in recent months. It’s here, and it is going to be mainstream in 2010. Sony even just launched a handheld 360 video camera called the Bloggie this week at CES. My guess is that realtors will begin using this new tool within the week.

Trackback URI Comments RSS

Leave a Reply