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  • New photorealistic 3-D model product will be available in late August.
  • The 3-D product does not require an expensive camera; it can be produced using a regular camera and tripod.
  • The provider says its product will be cheaper than models produced by leading 3-D provider Matterport — a claim that’s disputed by Matterport’s CEO. 

Real estate agents and marketers will soon be able to produce photorealistic 3-D models using a regular camera, rather than hardware that costs thousands of dollars.

Software built by 3-D provider InsideMaps will begin rendering photos captured by wide-lens SLR cameras into lifelike representations near the end of August, according to InsideMaps CEO George Bolanos.

Like other 3-D models, the immersive visualizations will let prospective buyers virtually explore a listing without visiting the home in person, potentially increasing the quality of buyers who request showings.

InsideMaps 3-D models will represent an alternative to those produced by Matterport.

Real estate agents and marketers are using Matterport’s camera and software to produce 3-D models for more than 10,000 listings every month, according to Matterport CEO Bill Brown. Matterport recently raised an additional $30 million that it’s using to improve integration of its models with virtual reality devices and allow third-party developers to add enhancements to its models.

Bolanos said that the primary advantage of InsideMaps 3-D models is that they will be cheaper than Matterport’s models because they don’t require the use of Matterport’s $4,500 camera. (Matterport’s Brown disputes this claim, noting that agents and brokers can pay relatively small sums to marketers to produce Matterport models, rather than purchasing Matterport’s camera and producing the models themselves.)

Whether they’ll look just as realistic as Matterport’s models (Bolanos says they will) and include a multiple-floor dollhouse view that’s just as compelling as Matterport’s remains to be seen. The product isn’t available yet, and only a prototype is featured in the video below.

Real estate agents or marketers can use any wide-lens SLR camera placed on any type of tripod to capture the 200 to 300 photographs needed for InsideMaps to create a 3-D model of a 2,500-square-foot house, according to Bolanos. He said the process to create a model for a home of that size should take about an hour and 15 minutes.

To conclude that you need to purchase Matterport’s camera to get one of its models would be a mistake. You can often pay a marketer as little as $200 to produce a Matterport model.

But Bolanos says he thinks photographers will charge even less for InsideMaps models because they won’t be passing on some of the cost of Matterport’s camera.

InsideMaps models are capable of capturing outdoor spaces in full sunlight. Matterport’s camera has had trouble with that because sunlight can jam its infrared sensors, which collect readings that Matterport combines with photographs to create its models. (InsideMaps models are based on photographs alone.)

But Brown said Matterport will unveil improvements that “expand” its camera’s outdoor capture capability in the next couple of months.

InsideMaps has partnered with a number of brokerages, including Sereno Group, to furnish real estate agents with 3-D models that weren’t photorealistic but allowed viewers to change the furniture and colors of rooms.

Its software also generates floor plans that are 98 percent accurate, according to Bolanos. The startup will now augment those offerings with its new, lifelike 3-D models.

Rather than directly target real estate brokerages, InsideMaps is now focused more on partnering with photographers serving agents and brokerages. The company will soon announce some partnerships with large photographer networks reflecting that strategy, he said.

Email Teke Wiggin.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from Matterport CEO Bill Brown.

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