From time to time, I've noticed various real estate investors, agents and video marketers using 360-degree cameras to showcase the properties they're trying to sell.
Being somewhat of a camera nerd, it was only a matter of time until I would get my hands on one of these things to see if they're legitimately useful for real estate professionals (or if they're just another unnecessary waste of money).
After spending several hours with the Rylo 360 Video Camera over the past few months – I think it's a little bit of both.
This camera offers a unique 360-degree look at a property that can be somewhat useful for buyers.
With this in mind, I think it can provide some value in a few different scenarios:
- When buyers are doing their due diligence and performing a property inspection prior to purchase. They could have the inspector walk through the property with this camera (remember, there are no special camera skills required – just push the button and start walking).
- It could also be useful for property managers who are performing their routine property inspection after a tenant moves out. This camera will give anyone (the property owner or other staff at the property management company) a good look at whatever is going on in the property.
- It can also be useful for sellers (whether they be real estate agents or individual property owners) who are putting together a property listing video in an effort to sell their property. This is a great way to help potential buyers see what the property looks like as if they were standing in the property.
Here's an example of what a 360 video looks like when uploaded to YouTube (note: you can click and drag around to see any angle – or if you're watching this on a mobile device, you can simply move it around to see different angles of the property):
Now, here's the exact same video sample, but with some editing I did with the Rylo app on my iPhone. With this kind of video, it will only show you what I (as the editor) want you to see:
The resolution isn't amazing, and there's definitely some distortion and warping that happens to the trees (this will happen with any type of ultra-wide fisheye lens). Even so, it still gives a pretty interesting and informative look at the property.
I probably wouldn't want this to be the ONLY camera in my camera bag, but it's definitely an interesting perspective to throw into the overall mix.
Here's what I think the drawbacks of this camera are:
For what it is, this thing is a little on the expensive side. I'm not saying the price is horrendous, but when I look at all the cameras available today, I'm not sure this is the best use for $500. It's a great gadget for thrill seekers and action videographers who want to catch a different perspective of what they're shooting, but I'm not sure if real estate fits this mold quite as well.
Low-Resolution and Image Warping
Even if you overlook the image warping and distortion that comes with the super-wide-angle lens on this camera, the image quality image on this camera isn't outstanding. Sure, it offers a unique perspective and great stabilization (one of the coolest things about this camera), but the resolution isn't great and doesn't show the finer details that some property inspectors might be looking for.
Simply put – this is not a low light camera. One thing about real estate video shoots is that low-light environments are a fact of life (especially with the interiors of older houses). This kind of camera will produce a lot of “noise” in low-light settings, so whenever possible, I would try to stick to the exterior and/or extremely well-lit interior shots when using this kind of camera.
All in all, it's a fun little gadget to have around. There are certainly some situations where a 360 camera like this can come in handy, but I wouldn't call it a “necessity” for real estate professionals to have on hand.