Matterport Pro3 – Jabber Camera
Considering the price and what this camera does, the Matterport Pro3 arrives in a relatively small and simple box. The size gets smaller when you open the box to reveal a battery, charger, tripod mount and a small semi-hard case containing the Matterport Pro3 and that’s it.
This first introduction to the Matterport Pro3 basically sums up how attentive the designers are to their hardware, user needs, and functions. Everything is incredibly simple and neat. It all fits comfortably in a standard backpack with the instant feel that anyone can use the Matterport Pro3; no experience is necessary; settle in and go. This is evidenced by the number of users from backgrounds other than imagery viewing the Matterport website, galleries or museums, architectural buildings, educational institutions and hotels.
Besides the Matterport Pro3, the only other gear you need is a tripod with the head removed and a smartphone, iOS or Android, as the app works equally well with both. While the type of smartphone doesn’t matter, the amount of free space does, so make sure there’s a few GB of space ready to download and store files captured by Matterport Pro3 at the as its processes progress.
The Matterport Pro3 itself consists of three parts, the battery which fits into the base of the device and is charged by a separate USB charger which is also supplied. Next is the quick-release tripod mount that clips into the base of the Matterport. This is a metal mount with a 3/8″ thread at the base that screws directly into the top thread of a standard tripod. In this test I tried and used a Benro Mach 3, a Manfrotto 055 and a 3LT Winston 2.0, all good solid tripods that make an ideal base once their ball joints are removed.
The Matterport Pro3 camera is original, as you will see in the photos. On the front is the big lens that captures the images, then in the middle is the LiDAR mirror, which is the smartest; at the back are the power button and the small screen, and at the base is the socket for the quick release of the tripod. As the camera goes, it’s all extremely minimalistic as all the main controls go through the smartphone app rather than the hardware itself.
The build is very solid and heavy, with the simple lines of the camera’s exterior seem otherworldly. Aside from the lens, there’s nothing else about the exterior that reveals its function or features unless you know exactly what it is.
The complete look of the camera and support application quickly begins to create an image of who it is intended for. While photographers will find Matterport great fun, albeit expensive, the real market is real estate, construction, retail, architecture and archaeology; there are probably plenty of other professionals who would also find this camera extremely useful. The Matterport Pro3 was designed to do work beyond just capturing images in a traditional 2D sense; it uses a LiDAR sensor to create a 3D mesh of its surroundings.
The LiDAR sensor is the smart bit in the middle; essentially, it emits a laser and measures the time it takes for the reflected light to return to the sensor. The beam determines the distance and a 3D mesh can be constructed.
This LiDAR sensor makes it possible to create immersive and photorealistic representations of areas that would be impossible with a single camera. For architects and real estate, Matterport empowers the ability to create fully immersive representations of buildings to a degree that previously would not have been possible without being onsite or commissioning expensive 3D modeling.
To capture the image, the Matterport Pro3 is mounted on a tripod five feet off the ground, then the shutter button is pressed in the app and the camera begins the scanning process. The camera rotates 360º to capture everything around it, indoors and out.
Once the 3D mesh information and images are gathered, you have a textured 3D model that can then be walked through virtual space.
With just a few clicks in the app, you can create a dollhouse view of the area or a floor plan or 3D model that can then be opened and adjusted in another app.