Neighborhood Stories is a new project and initiative by the team at Hopscotch Interactive to document some of the most iconic imagery from the Bay Area. With Neighborhood Stories, our film crew will be spending time throughout the year building an archive of video footage that can be used to augmented our video portfolio, and can also be used to help tell better stories about the "hyperlocal" communities in the Bay Area.
It's common for our realtor clients to ask us to provide local "location" amenity shots, such as the great shops or public transportation in their area. In our first collection of stories, we will be showcasing video from Marin County, including Belvedere, Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Sausalito.
This collection will be ever-expanding and will be available to our clients to license, or for us to reach to and weave together more interesting content and videos whether for listing, social media, and beyond. All locations will have a combination of aerial drone video and photography/videography images. This gives us a lot of playing room since the Bay Area has so many small neighborhoods and communities that are feature-worthy. The project continue through 2022 and beyond.
View the first footage from Neighborhood Stories here on our YouTube channel and don't forget to like, subscribe, and comment!
CUBICASA GUEST BLOG POST by EMILY OLMAN "A Look forward to 2022 with our Real Estate imaging Experts"
Emily shared her thoughts in this guest blog post for Cubicasa this week, on last year, things she's learned, and the new year ahead! Read the full blog post at the Cubi.casa website here.
As we tick things off the holiday wish-list and are looking at the items we most want as real estate photographers, I decided to put together this list of all of the gear that I can personally say is great and useful to real estate photographers, as well as a higher-end wishlist of sorts for those looking to invest in a bigger upgrade in 2022. I'll put it into a few categories, mostly catalogued by the gear that my team can't live without, and then a few things we think that are worth the expense if you can afford them. Also, please bear in mind we are Canon photographers, but are really agnostic when it comes to gear. We have our preferences, but if you are a Sony person and there's only mirrorless for you, then this list may not satisfy you! But, for years we have used Canon gear for our professional photography and have never been let down. These are workhorse cameras and we think you'll agree after trying them!
Still Photography: The basic essentials
These essentials will cover you for almost every kind of real estate photography that you'll be doing. The choice between the f/2.8 and the f/4.0 is really a question of how much other photography you'll want to use the lens for besides real estate. The bokeh produced by the 4.0 is essentially totally sufficient for 99% of our shoots, but if you want that extra bokeh go for the upgrade and the speed of that lens.
Still Photography: Upgrades!
If you can afford to upgrade to a mirrorless camera we recommend the EOS R6, it's basically the EOS 6D Mark II in mirrorless, but with a lot of other fancy settings. Also, it will be easier for you to monitor the clarity and focus on those manual lenses such as the TS-E 24mm or the TS-E 17mm. If you don't have a telephoto lens, then investing in the 70-200mm will help you get those really far away shots in crystal clear fidelity. We love the 70-200mm for the ability for us to capture key views with excellent results.
Always carry the accessories with you! Especially if you're going to be shooting twilights we recommend both the reflective collapsible cones, and the high visibility vest. You'll also be happy to have a full lens/sensor cleaning kit with you at all times in case the unexpected happens!
Virtual Tour Essentials
If you're just getting started, look no further than the Z1 for almost all major virtual tour software compatibility. We do not recommend the Ricoh Theta V, it's just not professional enough in terms of the image quality and so the Z1 is worth investing in. You can use the Z1 for Matterport, Zillow 3D Home Tours, and also it can be added to an iGuide System (must be purchased from iGuide). If you want to have a great little device for vlogging or for creating Pivo Tours, then the Pivo Pod Black (business) is a good device to keep in your set. Consider their tripod which is not expensive, and is very stable, it just needs additional weight to keep it from tipping over as an extra precaution so we recommend using at the very least, a pair of Ankle weights to wrap around the center column! And, many of you know us for our expertise in Matterport, so we have added the Matterport Pro2 here...which is available on their website and if you can login as a business account on Amazon sometimes you can get GREAT deals like a Pro2 with a case included for less than regular retail pricing, crazy!
Virtual Tour Upgrades (Experience in VR!)
We consider this essential, especially for Metaverse pioneers!
What do you think? Do you feel inspired by the list? What else would you like to see on it? Good luck with all of your photography in 2022 and let us know your thoughts below!!
In November Hopscotch Interactive CEO Emily Olman had the chance to speak at the PFRE Conference in Las Vegas, NV to over 300 members of the real estate photography community. In addition to the panel talk on the conference last day, she also worked on a new presentation that dives into 3D, 360° and Spatial or "Metaverse" marketing for Real Estate. This is the first video of the series, which will be continuing in 2022, more specifically for real estate photographers, but we will also be producing additional content in the New Year for realtors and brokers on Metaverse marketing for real estate.
For the full article on 510 Vincente featured in the New York Times - click here.
Listing by Ira Serkes, staging and home prep by NurtureSource Designs.
Hopscotch Interactive was thrilled to see our photography accompany the recent listing for 564 Dwight Place in Berkeley, CA in Dwell Magazine! Link to the article is here. Please note aerial photography by Open Homes Photography, all other imagery by Hopscotch Interactive! The article first appeared in Dwell digital format on October 29, 2021. Listing by Nancy Noman, staging and home prep by NurtureSource Designs.
Matterport vs. iGuide is a big subject, and I am often asked what the difference is between iGuide and Matterport, as well as what new technologies should we be on the lookout for. Well, a couple of months ago I posted this video about the new iGuide Planitar system and it has definitely been watched and commented on by many folks who find this topic as fascinating and controversial as I do! Take a look and let me know what you think, and if you bought an iGuide system and tried both I would love to hear your thoughts on using this vs. Matterport. We use both in our business and are not quite ready to roll-out iGuide to all of our photographers, but we do think it has filled a missing hole in the coverage that our team wanted and needed to have the widest variety of tools to handle any real estate virtual tour needs. Check it out and leave your comments below, we love to hear from you!
We have just premiered the very first episode of our new show: Talking Walls, which is an exploration of the iconic properties of the Bay Area, hosted by Emily Olman and which first premiered on April 29, 2021 on YouTube.
The show was originally imagined as a way to showcase XR for real estate and as an opportunity to use it as a storytelling mechanism for buildings - making buildings the star of the show. Olman has spent so many years working on real estate and extended realities such as augmented and virtual reality, and yet there has still be a lag from companies and brokerages to embrace the technology or even to know how to use it. In this first episode the show explores 1212 Broadway, or "The Broadway", and features Anthony Shell, Principle Leasing Broker at Avison Young taking Emily on a tour of the property and then imaging the past, present, and future of the building.
There has been a lot of struggle in the commercial real estate market since the pandemic, and finding new ways to connect with potential tenants is really important - so this show can do just that - bring new perspectives to buildings and also share with viewers how new technology is being used to make decisions or to see the buildings in a new light. All of this is happening in a very casual and familiar tone so that it's easy to watch and get into, but the episodes are short enough that they would keep the attention of the viewers for at least a few minutes but not so long as to lose the momentum.
Kevin Kunze, Media Producer, has helped bring the vision to life with both his unique documentary approach to the filmmaking, but also his innate understanding of VR/AR technologies. Additionally, Bart Denny of SpatialFirst, has also contributed to the first episode by helping to bring the "green screen" AR elements into the show's opening scene with the use of PlaceTime Oakland, an augmented reality app for commercial real estate that SpatialFirst developed over the last three years.
So check out the first episode and let us know what you think! We hope that this is the beginning of a great new venture, and we have many more episodes and buildings that we are identifying to be a part of the first season. And thanks to everyone who made this possible!
To view the very first episode of Talking Walls you can view it on YouTube or watch the full episode here, and don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get all of the updates and notifications!
As of this writing, 2/3 of our main photography staff has already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with both shots, and the remaining 1/3 has already received the first dose. We have been extremely cautious and followed the company's COVID-19 policy for the last year, and fortunately no one has contracted COVID, but after spending a huge portion of our time and energy on getting PPE, cleaning, and preparing for a safe photo shoot (at both our commercial and residential clients), we are simply overjoyed that we have now gotten all of our field photography staff on the way to being fully vaccinated. It's a huge relief and we are also glad to share this news with our clients!
That said, out of an abundance of caution our staff will continue to wear masks and gloves for photography and booties when requested. We always put the health and safety of our staff and clients at the top of our list - and we are relieved that we made it through this year without any major COVID outbreaks within our vicinity. We would like to keep it that way! While the vaccine isn't a fail-safe against exposure it does provide us with a little more peace of mind, especially since already with the first dose it proves to be very effective against the virus.
We have also heard that people can sign-up to be notified here for getting an appointment to receive a dose via the waiting list, where they are offering to give that shot to an alternate if they have an excess of vaccinations at the end of the day. To find out more and to sign-up for alerts go to the MyTurn website at: https://myturn.ca.gov
A couple of weeks ago we were going to be on location shooting a Zillow 3D Home Tour when we decided we would go the extra mile and shoot a "how-to" video for the Zillow 3D Home tour app. We have talked-up the Zillow 3D Home Tours for a while, because we believe they provide such a tremendous value for sellers and agents to get additional boost on the Zillow platform and in the app. Zillow has a built-in audience, so there's no issue about discoverability on the platform like we have with other tours links getting lost or buried far down the page on other listings.
The video runs about 17 minutes, and we walk you through exactly how you would create a Zillow 3D Home Tour if you were in the field and using the highest-end camera that is currently available and compatible - the Ricoh Theta Z1. We have shot with the Ricoh Theta V, and we can tell you from experience that there's no comparison between the Z1 and the V, so if you're going to be using this app regularly, you should definitely spring for the Z1. There are some really useful tips and tricks for shooting like a pro in the video; check it out and let us know what you think!