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Explore Places, Spaces, and Everything in Between Using the Matterport Pro 3D Camera

Do you want to explore places that you can't go to? What if you could be sitting on the couch exploring the set of your favorite TV show or a visiting a small town in West Virginia? All of that is possible with the Matterport Pro 3D camera.

The West Virginia University Reed College of Media partnered with Mountain View, CA tech company Matterport to allow students to use 3D modeling for creative storytelling. Ogden Newspapers Visiting Professor in Media Innovation, Nancy Andrews, is working closely with an experimental storytelling class. She previously worked as the Chief of Innovation at the Detroit Free Press. The two Matterport cameras are being loaned to the Reed College of Media. 

The Matterport Pro 3D camera takes 360-degree scans of an area or room to create a 3D image. The camera consists of three sensors and a motor that rotates the camera 360 degrees, allowing it to capture the data needed to create the 3D model. It has a battery capacity of approximately eight hours and the charge time is approximately four and a half hours. If you were to purchase the camera it would cost $4,500.

I’ve compiled my five must-know tips for using the camera that allows anyone the opportunity to explore place they would never go or places they wish they could visit.

1. Download the Capture app (for Apple iPad)

Matterport Capture App

  • The Capture app allows the Matterport 3D camera to quickly create and upload the scans from the camera to the app. 
  • The data from the scans are processed through the Matterport Cloud. Make sure to get familiar with the app before you want to scan. This will make it easier for you once you actually start uploading and adjusting settings after each scan.

Matterport on tripod

2. Setup: Matterport 3D Camera

  • Make sure the camera is fully charged.
  • Next, the Matterport camera needs to be mounted firmly to a tripod, allowing a smooth capture of the area. Place a level on the camera to ensure it's on a flat surface.
  • The ideal height to scan is eye level, but the tripod can be lowered and raised to capture certain aspects of a space or to use on steps and other unleveled surfaces.


3. Preparing the camera ready for scan

Matterport Power

  • Push the power button located on the back of the camera. It will light up for a few seconds, and then turn solid blue.

  • There are WiFi and Bluetooth symbols located on the back as well. They will blink indicating that they are ready for connection.
  • Very important: If you don’t connect the iPad’s WiFi and Bluetooth to the Matterport camera, you won’t be able to use any of the scans. Go to the WiFi settings on the iPad and select the Matterport Camera.
  • Once you are connected, use the Capture app to create a “new model,” then choose a name and add descriptions.

4. Create your own 3D model

  • Place the Matterport camera in your desired start location, then press scan on the Capture app. The Capture app is used to control the camera. matterport scan demo
  • The camera should be placed five to eight feet from the previous scan. Each scan takes up to one minute. While the camera is scanning you can leave the room or stand completely still. The camera is meant to scan a room, and if it detects movement, the scan won’t read the space correctly.
  • If you see any dark areas on the mini-map, then move the camera to that area to scan it.
  • Once you are happy with all the scans you can turn off the camera. Next, use the home screen on the app to select the correct model, and then select upload. To successfully upload the image, you need to be connected to WiFi and have a Matterport 3D Portal account. 
  • The upload process usually takes one to two hours.

5. Exploring your own 3D model

  • Log in to the Matterport 3D Portal. This is where you can distribute and organize all of your 3D models from your computer.
  • The Matterport 3D Portal allows you to publish models to the public, your own website or anywhere you want on the Internet.


Click picture to see 3D scan

I got the opportunity to work with Nancy and learn first hand how to operate the camera and create my own 3D models. Left is the first scan I created with her assistance and other students in my class. Click on it to check out our model.

For more information about the Matterport 3D camera and how to use it, visit

My name is Elizabeth Freeman, and I am the creative director of my team. I am a senior at the Reed College of Media majoring in strategic communications. As the creative director, I am responsible for the campaign’s creative components, including creative themes, messages, and strategy. I am very excited to work with my team to brand the community of Whitesville, W.Va. I look forward to visiting the town and bringing the Matterport camera with me so everyone can get the chance explore Whitesville.

 Images Courtesy of, Matterport Vimeo Video, and iTunes by Apple