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Are there TOO MANY virtual tour photographers? How to stand out with the Virtual Tour Edge: HQ Method (updated July 31, 2020)

Virtual Tour Edge: HQ Method - learn how to get excellent image quality for 360 cameras
Virtual Tour Edge: HQ Method – learn how to get excellent image quality for 360 cameras

Virtual tours have never been more popular.  Many photographers want to provide virtual tour services, and 360 cameras can make it easy to create virtual tours.  But how do you stand out from a crowded field of photographers offering similar services?  You can differentiate yourself through better image quality, in a class that I’m teaching called Virtual Tour Edge: HQ Method.

Here’s the introduction to the class:

Not only will you unleash the full potential of your 360 camera, but the techniques and software will be usable for your future 360 cameras as well.  It’s like getting a permanent upgrade for all your 360 cameras.

Samples

Here are some sample photos that show the results you can get from using the techniques in the class:

Insta360 One R Before and After HQ Method:

Here is an HDR photo from Insta360 One R, before and after HQ Method.

Insta360 One R 9-shot HDR (left) vs One R HQ Method (right)
Insta360 One R HDR (left) vs One R HQ Method (right).  Note the blown out window,  stitching error on the left side of the middle window, glare, lost detail, and washed out look, fixed with the HQ Method using the exact same photos.

Insta360 One X Before and After HQ Method:

The original 3-shot HDR photo is not bad, but has several issues: glare, over-saturated lights, stitching error on the left side of the middle window frame, color blotches, inaccurate colors.  You can see how this room “really” looked like here.  Using the exact same 3 shots,  I fixed these issues.

Insta360 One X before (left side) and after (right side). Note the stitching errors and lost detail without the HQ Method.
Insta360 One X before (left side) and after (right side). Note the stitching errors along the window frame, glare, lost detail, and inaccurate colors, all fixed with the HQ Method.

What people say about the course:

“I don’t know what to think about [Mic].  First, he created something like the Wikipedia of 360.  Now he became the Masked Magician of 360, revealing the secret sauce of professional photographers… More seriously, if you’re a total beginner or a more advanced user you’ll benefit from this course as well.  Where were you, Mic, when I started to create my tours?  I think that people, most of time, don’t realize the investment of time and money needed to test so many software and techniques.  This course covers each step, explaining in a clear way even how to workaround some limitations of 360 cameras.  Take your time to decide, but I think that some of your future competitors have already made their decision.”
– Michel Mendes (EZ Team), Portugal

“For the people that also have another 360-cam, besides the Xphase, I can highly recommend the new course of [Mic from 360 Rumors].  I am watching it at the moment and I – as a experienced 360 photographer – already learned new things like his method for better (seamless) stitching. In the course he addresses great editing software and techniques that don’t require a subscription. Photoshop for example isn’t required.  The course is worth every penny. Its a great way to distinguish from the competition and build a good business. Check it out.”
Christiaan Roest, Netherlands

“Not only will beginners learn a lot about photography, but he also shows the complete workflow to get the best result out of the One R (and One X) for 360 photos.  It’s amazing when you see the real potential of the Insta360 One R and how it improves the quality of your pictures/tours. Love it! . . .  It’s absolutely worth it. It’s a game-changer!”
Ramon Schmidt, USA

“Trust Michael.  I have just done his course and it works.”
Nigel Hancock (Ticmic360), UK

“Mic’s course had given so much that the course itself had saved me so much time in learning these techniques. . . . In each lesson he give few options that you can choose from to get final result. I, myself had bought Insta360 and I was not pleased with the [image quality]. After I saw Mic’s results I was amazed. Honestly, I can not wait for the next course from him that he provides how to master DSLR 360 photography. I highly recommend it.”
Erik Mojsej, Slovakia

These photographers have generously made themselves available to be contacted for questions but kindly be respectful of their time.  Here’s a review by award-winning 360 photographer, Yuqing Guo:

Bonuses

In addition to learning advanced techniques, you’ll receive these bonuses:

  • ongoing mentorship in a private Facebook group for alumni
  • Special discount on Insta360 cameras, with no expiration (use it repeatedly now or in the future)
  • 20% off Ben Claremont’s Virtual Tour Pro course
  • 15% off my recommended HDR software
  • $100 off Cloudpano’s lifetime hosting plan
  • 10% off Kuula’s annual plan
  • additional techniques to be added at no extra cost to existing members.

FAQ

  1. How much is the course?
    It is currently $197 one-time payment, or if you prefer monthly installments, $50 per month for 4 months.  In the future, I will add more techniques and the price may increase, but existing subscribers will not pay anything for the extra techniques for this course (360 cameras).
  2. How long are the videos?
    As of July 15, 2020, there are around 4.5 hours of video lessons.  I will also be adding more techniques.  Existing subscribers will not pay anything extra for the added techniques for 360 cameras.
  3. Do you have a guarantee?
    Yes, I have a 60-day Effectiveness Guarantee. I guarantee that the techniques will work (please check the compatibility chart) if you use the software and follow the instructions.
    If you are having problems with the techniques, then contact me within 60 days and send me your files that show how you used the technique.  Alternatively, we can do a zoom or similar session (no extra charge) where I can walk you through the process.  I can point out if there are any mistakes in how you used the techniques, but if the techniques still don’t work, you can get a refund in the 60-day period from the date you purchased the class.
    This guarantee is more solid than a typical satisfaction guarantee.  With a typical satisfaction guarantee, you might choose not to get a refund for other reasons, even if the techniques don’t work.  In this case, I’m doing more than that: I’m specifically guaranteeing that the techniques WILL work.
  4. I can’t afford it.  It’s too expensive for me!  Can you lower the price for the class?
    With just a single virtual tour, you will recover the cost of the course immediately, and the techniques will benefit you for your entire career.  Moreover, even if you never do virtual tours, you’ll learn to use software that requires no subscription.  If all you get from the class is not having to use expensive subscription software, that alone will pay for the class.
    Another way to think about it is to compare the cost to hiring a professional 360 photographer to teach you their secrets.  The first issue is that not all of them know these techniques.  Second, even if they do know the techniques, they may not be willing to teach them to you.  Third, even if they are willing, it will take a long time for them to teach you the techniques – in the most optimistic scenario, at least two days of intense instruction.  Fourth, given that they will take many hours to teach it to you, how much would they charge you?  They will have to charge you much more than the cost of this course.
    Also, check out the monthly plan, which is $50 per month for 4 months.  Please note that the class requires the use of software that costs around $450 (if you don’t already have them).  If you cannot afford the monthly option, the software will likely exceed your budget as well.
  5. Do you have an affiliate link?  Can I become an affiliate?
    Yes I do!  If you want to become an affiliate, sign up as a user on 360rumors.thinkific.com and send me a message, then I’ll add you as an affiliate.  As an affiliate, you can not only recoup your investment in the course, but you can actually earn income, while also helping other people learn valuable techniques.
  6. Will the HQ Method work with my camera?
    Please see the compatibility chart here.  If your camera is not listed, please let me know which camera you use, and I’ll let you know if the techniques work for your particular camera.
  7. Will the HQ Method work for DSLR panoramas?
    I am working on a separate class for DSLR, but meanwhile, the techniques for fixing stitching errors and getting seamless stitch lines will work for DSLR panoramas as well.
  8. Will the HQ Method work for videos?
    No, as stated in the compatibility chart, the HQ Method techniques are only for photos.
  9. You mention software.  How much are the software for the HQ Method? (Updated)
    As of July 2020, there are 3 software, which are around $450 total.  The software are one-time purchases, no subscription required.  One of the software is PTGui Pro v12, which is around $300.  It is possible to use PTGui (non-Pro) version but some features such as batch stitching will not be available.
    If you are not ready to use PTGui yet, you can use the techniques in Part 1 (dynamic range) and Part 4 (editing), but not Parts 2 and 3 (which are about getting perfect stitching).  Please note that some cameras such as XPhase cannot use most of the techniques in Parts 2 and 3 and therefore can omit the purchase of PTGui.  For these students, only the other two software would be required.
  10. The software seems expensive.
    As with the course, you can get back the software cost with just a couple of virtual tours.  All the software will be usable for DSLR panoramas as well, and they don’t have a subscription.  PTGui in particular is a must-have for DSLR panoramas, so if you upgrade to a DSLR in the future you will continue to use it.
    Once you buy these software, you own them forever.  And for the things that you can do with them, the prices are very, very reasonable, and they will save you a lot of time.
  11. Is the class basically just about buying certain software?
    No.  Even if you have the software, you won’t get these results without using the techniques the course.  It’s similar to buying a piano.  Just because you buy one does not mean that you will know how to play music.
    If you are already an experienced user of the software, then see the results I showed.  Can you get those results?  If not, then you have something to learn from the course.
    If you can already achieve those results I showed, then you don’t need the course.  (If you still take the course even if you can achieve the results, then you’re filling some other need, and that’s the value you’re getting from the class, such as expanding your repertoire of techniques.)
  12. Will I need to know how to use the software?
    No, I assume no prior knowledge and I will show how to use each software as if you’ve never used it before.
  13. I already have an Adobe subscription.  Can I use Photoshop or Lightroom? (NEW)
    Photoshop or Lightroom can be used for some of the techniques in Part 4, such as fixing stitching errors.  I will add Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials for the techniques where Photoshop and Lightroom can be used.
    If you prefer Photoshop and/or Lightroom, you can save $50 but the other two software will still be required (if you don’t have them already).  That’s because for HDR and stitching, Photoshop’s results are nowhere as good as the software we will use here.  Moreover, for photo editing, Photoshop is powerful but its 360 photo editing is a bit awkward.  Another issue with Photoshop is that if you use 16-bit photos and convert them to 360 view, the colors will become wrong (they will appear very dark).
  14. Do I need to be an expert to use the techniques?
    No. You don’t need special skills.  Just follow the instructions.
  15. Will the techniques be too hard to do?
    No, I give very clear, step-by-step instructions.  I don’t just say “keep practicing.”  I give clear instructions that will work if you follow them.
    I also explain the techniques clearly, and why they work, which opens the possibility for you to modify the techniques.  For example, if you watch my VR headset buying guide video, I give an in-depth explanation of how and why VR works.  AFAIK, no other VR headset review has explained how and why VR works at that depth and with that clarity.  (If you watch my videos, I hope you’ll notice that this is generally true for most of my videos as well.)
    Similarly, in this course, I don’t just show you how to use the software superficially.  I explain them in-depth and show you how to use them clearly.
  16. Can I hire someone to do the editing for me and I’ll teach them the techniques?
    When you purchase the course, it is only for you.  You are not allowed to share the techniques or teach them to anyone.  You can either (i) have your editor enroll in the course, or (ii) hire a Virtual Tour Edge member to edit for you.
  17. Can’t I learn this on YouTube for free?
    First, the videos here are all new.  They are not recycled from my YouTube channel.  Second, the techniques in this class are not a rehash of common techniques.  I’ve written over 2500 articles on 360 cameras and VR and I haven’t seen these techniques taught.
    But the most important thing is the results.  After watching all the YouTube videos that you want, can you get the results that I showed?  If not, then you have something to learn from the course.
    If you can already achieve those results I showed, then you don’t need the course.   If you still take the course even if you can achieve the results, then you’re filling some other need, and that’s the value you’re getting from the class.
  18. I already enrolled in another class that also teaches photo editing.  Will you be teaching the same things?
    After taking another class, can you get the results that I showed?  If not, then you have something to learn from the course.
    If you can already achieve those results I showed, then you don’t need the course.   If you still take the course even if you can achieve the results, then you’re filling some other need, and that’s the value you’re getting from the class.
  19. Will I make money from virtual tours?
    If you go to the best medical school, with the best teachers, best equipment, state of the art technique, will you be a successful doctor? Probably yes because you can probably do the job better.  Will the best medical school guarantee that you’ll make money? No. First, making money depends on other factors, such as diligence. Second, they don’t want to make a promise that they can’t keep and neither do I.
    What I can promise is that you can take better photos, and do it efficiently. Will you have an edge over other photographers? Yes. Will you make money? You will have a much better chance of doing that, and this is a unique time that presents the best opportunity to provide this service.
    I only promise what I can deliver.
  20. I’m a bit scared of starting a business.
    I can totally relate, because not all businesses succeed and there is some risk involved. Did you know 360 Rumors is not my first blog?  Actually, my first blog was begun in 2009, and it was called Better Family Photos.  I created it as a hobby and a way for me to keep notes about what I learned.  After around 7 years of hard work, I reached 1 million views.  In 2015, I learned about 360 cameras and after about a year, I created 360 Rumors in 2016.
    When I started 360 Rumors, there were some cameras such as the LG 360 Cam  that I was thinking about buying but which I knew I could not earn sufficient affiliate commissions to recoup my cost.
    I had to decide for myself, is 360 Rumors a hobby or a business?  And if it is a business, what would customers fairly expect from me?  Wouldn’t they expect to see a review of this camera from a 360 camera review site?  And so I bought the camera.  Since I began treating 360 Rumors as a business, and making decisions based on what my audience reasonably expects from a business, the number of views increased rapidly.  In less than a year, I surpassed all the traffic that I had gotten in 7 years from my first blog, which would not have been possible if I had only treated it the same way I treated my first blog – as a hobby.
    Fortunately, a virtual tour business is relatively low risk compared to other types of businesses.  You do have to invest in camera, software, and hopefully, this course as well.  But you don’t have to sign an expensive lease that will cost you money every month.  You can start without employees other than yourself.  The investment required is fairly small, which limits the risk.

 

If you have any other questions, please let me know in the comments.  Thank you very much.

About the author

Mic Ty

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  • I wish we had a more modern camera as thin as the Mi Sphere. It would help with tight spaces, especially for beginners and amateurs. Your Tesla interior looks great! I don’t shoot real estates, only travel, events (after lockdown is over) and happy shots.

    • Thanks cppguy! Yes I had hoped that they would create a Mi Sphere 2. The closest thing to that would be the Z1. But even a thin camera like the Mi Sphere will have stitching errors in a tight space such as a car interior, hence the HQ Method.