The Matterport Axis Simplifies 360-Degree Real Estate Photography

Matterport Axis makes it easy to capture a 3D space on your smartphone.

Matterport positions its new Axis as a way for Realtors to easily provide prospective home buyers a way to digitally walk through a listing without even being there.

Most of the time, Realtors aren’t looking for artistic or perfect photos of a home, but rather something simple that can be used to express what a space looks as quickly and easily as possible — often a key difference between architecture photography and Real Estate photography. Realtors are often working with compressed timelines and low budgets, but they still are expected to provide a lot of information about listing online. But stitching multiple images together and programming all the navigational cues can be a real challenge for them.

It is this exact situation that Matterport is targeting with its Axis. The Axis is a compact device that uses a smartphone to capture a property in 360-degrees, creating a “doll’s house” view of what the actual property looks like for distribution online.

The Matterport Axis uses motion control for precise overlap of images.

Axis is a motion control device that uses the technique of photogrammetry to take a variety of pictures and then stitch them together to create a virtual 3D model of the surrounding area. When paired with the Matterport Capture App, Axis can deliver smooth scans and seamless precision for photos of a space.

The heart of the system is the Axis motor mount, which moves a smartphone in the direction programmed by the Capture App. It then takes images that are properly overlapped and creates a 3D digital twin of the surrounding area. When triggered, the Matterport Capture App will rotate the Axis motor mount in a 360-degree arc, stopping to take pictures at precise increments.

Once completed, the digital spaces can then be displayed online — complete with popup information and digital directions — for clients to navigate through. The app can also stitch several spaces together to create a master virtual, multi-story walk-through. This makes for a digital walk-through experience that is every bit as accurate as walking through the real thing, ideal for real estate, hotels, construction, museums, insurance documentation, and even virtual globetrotting.

The app can work with any smartphone and can be even more accurate when coupled with depth data from a LiDAR-equipped device. With easy one-touch remote-control scanning, Matterport Axis claims to reduce errors at the point of capture so that users can photograph more spaces in less time. Faster capture means faster publishing of that digital twin and faster sales.

Using photogrammetry, Matterport Axis  precisely stitches multiple images together.

The Axis system comes with the motor mount, adjustable arm, phone mount, 3/8-inch to 1/4-inch adapter, a USB charging cable, and a storage bag. Matterport also includes a remote control so that users can be out of the camera’s line of sight but are still able to trigger it from a distance.

One possible downside of the Matterport Axis is that users have to pay to host their 3D images online, which is managed through a monthly subscription. There is a free plan, but it’s good only to showcase a single space at a time, which is likely too limiting for a professional Realtor. Paid plans start at $10 per month plan for up to 5 spaces and go up to a business plan that costs $70 a month to house up to 25 spaces from five different users. Larger plans are available on request.

Despite the requirment for a subscription, Matterport isn’t asking a lot for the hardware. The Axis is available for $79 directly from Matterport, and an optional $10 adds a tripod designed to work with the system along with a carrying case.