How 3D Walkthrough Services Compare to Video Tours

3D tours showcase a space’s depth and are made by piecing together multiple panoramic photos of a space. A video tour is an authentic look into the entire space via video. Video tours continue to grow in multifamily as prospective renters demand touring options.

Continue reading below to learn more about 3D walkthrough services and why video technology is the better option. If you found this information helpful, subscribe to the Realync newsletter to learn more!

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3D Walkthrough Services

Providing a 3D walkthrough experience for a prospective resident is exciting and can sometimes make it feel like we are living in the future. The problem lies in the fact that while it sounds very fresh and interesting, 3D walkthrough services often fall short at the critical objective of helping prospective residents understand exactly what they are getting. Vantage points used as well as an unfamiliarity with consuming 3D experiences mean that prospective residents are often left with incomplete or incorrect assumptions about your property or unit. And that’s even if you have 3D walkthroughs of every floor plan to show a prospect.

Prospective residents crave authenticity and a real view of your property — live video tours through Realync provides a way to do this without the headaches, time, and costs of a 3D walkthrough service. Real, low-fidelity video is comfortable and familiar for prospective residents and also allows for greater customization depending on their specific needs and concerns. Leasing agents are also able to leverage pre-recorded videos of apartment units, common areas, and amenities to allow for the ability to both provide a customized, personal option (live video tours) as well as a scalable option (pre-recorded video tours) for early-interest prospective residents.

In addition to the prospective resident experience being superior with Realync compared to 3D walkthrough services, there is also improved backend functionality and capabilities for your entire team and leasing agents. Rich analytics around video views for prospective residents help inform the right time to follow up and what a prospect’s particular areas of interest in specific units or floor plans may be. Additionally, the fact that Realync only requires a smartphone or tablet device and it’s user-friendly UI makes it easy for anyone on your team to become proficient and confident with the Realync tool.

Virtual Walkthrough

In addition to the 3d walkthrough services, many multifamily real estate marketing stacks also include virtual walkthrough or virtual tour software.

These virtual tour software services share many of the same challenges as 3D walkthrough services. These challenges include both higher costs than authentic video solutions like Realync and a lack of consumer appetite for these futuristic feeling tools. While there have been notable improvements when reviewing solutions that were named best virtual tour software 2018 versus the recently named best virtual tour software 2019, the lack of prospective resident comfort with the video output make these technology advancements seem pointless.

This scenario reminds us of one of the puzzling items in a favorite cartoon, The Jetsons. In this cartoon, the characters are often seen taking a “meal in a pill,” which is shown as a technological advancement of not having to cook and eat food. However, in reality, humans enjoy cooking and eating food, so while likely scientifically possible, we’ve yet to see massive adoption of “meal in a pill” occur. Similarly, while impressive technologies exist for virtual walkthrough tools, prospective residents ultimately crave authentic, real videos and the ability to connect on a human level with a leasing agent.

How To Make 3D Walkthrough

Learning how to make 3d walkthrough videos is overwhelming. Ironically, many of the top 3d visualization companies in the world will market the ease of use of their solution. While chances are, you are a smart, resourceful person who could figure out these tools successfully, there may be a negative return-on-investment with your time and effort.

The first challenge in creating web 3D walkthrough content is financial costs. Ultimately, you will need a special camera and at least one software solution to begin to create 3D walkthrough videos. Next, is the challenge of either someone within your multifamily property team becoming an expert on videography and these specialized software programs or hiring a specific person or consultant for this role. This additional training and time and effort away from other responsibilities or hiring a resource can be draining. The resulting financial and time costs to create a 3D walkthrough video are substantial.

An alternative is using a tool like Realync, which helps you to provide authentic video tours and requires no special devices and has lower software costs. The ability to use a smartphone or iPad to capture video in the Realync platform decreases the barriers for multiple leasing agents and property managers to use the platform, versus dependence on only one internal subject matter expert in the case of 3D walkthrough solutions. Ultimately, with the lower costs to you and stronger consumer appetite for real video—the decision to choose an authentic video solution over a 3D walkthrough solution becomes an obvious one.

3D Walkthrough Software

As we alluded to above, 3D walkthrough software is not only expensive; it has also been described by some as “clumsy” and “awkward to use”. Many 3Dplatforms were built for technical users and videographers, not standard leasing professionals. While these platforms have increased their marketing and usability, many of today’s consumers report finding them challenging to navigate and lacking the experience they desire.While the 3D walkthrough software space has become rather crowded, you may be familiar with these two leading providers, Matterport and Sketchup.

While 3D walkthrough software, like Sketchup, can vary greatly, most solutions often require additional software programs to get to a well-polished, finished product. These additional editing platforms also need a unique skill set, and while this work can be hired out to a freelancer or agency, it can be costly. These compounding costs for 3D walkthrough software are tough to absorb both during the lease-up phase, especially for stabilized properties. The unnecessary spend that often occurs with these tools ultimately decreases the budget that could otherwise be spent on top of funnel interest driving as well as on tools and activities that help convert prospective residents further down the funnel, such as live video and DIY pre-recorded video. In addition to the cost analysis alone, having leasing agents or property managers dealing with highly technical details can also be a mental distraction from activities that are more directly focused on prospective and existing residents.

3D Walkthrough Animation Software

In addition to standard 3D walkthrough software, there is also an increasing number of offerings in the 3D walkthrough animations software market. This software is particularly complex. 3D walkthrough animation services build upon 3D walkthrough software by also allowing for objects to move—not just the camera itself. The object movement could be traffic movement, birds flying, sunsets, objects tilting, or a variety of other features that would entail objects moving.

The added element of objects moving also often impacts costs—when comparing a 3D walkthrough quotation and a 3D animation quotation sample, it is clear that the 3D animation is the newer, more expensive option.

3D Model Walkthrough

We have established that 3D model walkthroughs can be expensive and a foreign experience to prospective residents. However, there are also logistical challenges that are presented by these tools. Due to the costs involved, oftentimes, only a few sample model units are created in a 3D model walkthrough. What often occurs with this issue is that prospective residents start to question whether their unit will be 100% identical to what they are seeing. Additionally, leasing agents are then put in the tough spot to try to verbally explain or go take still pictures to give a better idea of the actual unit. These solutions can lead to further confusion and frustration and a process that is hard to measure and make consistent throughout your multifamily property team.

When using the footage from a 3D camera online, the other challenge becomes visual perspective—while this has improved, there are still challenges where rooms can appear larger or smaller than they are. This issue can ultimately result in a disappointed prospective resident in-person tour or in someone disqualifying a unit needlessly because of perceived size issues.

3D Rendering Services

Another option that many property managers consider is to have 3D renderings of a unit or property commissioned. 3D rendering services are often focused on still imagery of photos and bringing those to life with the shadowing and other effects used in many of the 3D tools we have discussed. While this technology can be more affordable than some of the higher end 3D walkthrough animation software tools, there is still an investment needed for a quality output.

You will find that a 3D rendering studio is often much more costly than a 3D render freelance price. However, managing and trusting a freelancer is a consideration when it comes to evaluating a 3D rendering quotation.

While we are always proponents for authentic and real imagery and video here at Realync, there may be an outlet where 3D renderings are required or the norm, and this is a space where we do see clients investing in alongside our solution. Having authentic video to compliment this strategy is highly encouraged as it provides a complete view and insight to the prospective consumer and a greater connection to the property itself.

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