John Truman, photographer for architecture and filmmaker based in the Woodlands, Texas on how he uses THETA. His tiny planets and edited 360-degree content on Instagram caught our attention, so we wanted to connect with him on how he uses THETA in his professional life.

Thank you so much for your time! Can you please introduce yourself and how you use THETA in your work?

My name is John Truman, I am an architect and filmmaker based in the Woodlands, Texas. My hobbies include playing bass, gaming and building with LEGO bricks.

As an architect, I work in commercial real estate and I use my RICOH THETA V to show our available spaces to potential tenants. With this 360 view, they get a better idea and understanding of the space, especially when they can’t come to tour our properties. I also use it as a filmmaker when I go to scout a location. It provides us with a full view of the space and helps us plan where we are going to set up lights, audio, cameras, etc.

Where did you first hear about RICOH THETA cameras?

I learned about RICOH THETA V when I joined the Google Trusted Photographers program. I have a Google Pixel phone and I found it very easy to connect it to the RICOH THETA V. I sometimes use it to create 360 photos for Google Maps / Street View. It is very easy to use, especially with the Ricoh app or even directly with the Google Street View app.

Have you tried other 360 cameras in the past?

I have tried other brands, but RICOH was the best for how I use 360-degree photography. Some of my friends also have 360 cameras, but just for fun and for sport related things like when they go skiing. RICOH was the best camera for me because when I started the Google Trusted Photographer program, I went to the website to see the recommended 360 cameras, and I saw that the THETA V (at that time the Z1 and X did not exist) was recommended by Google. It was compatible with my Google phone and the connection was easy compared to competitor models I had tried in the past. From there, I bought the Ricoh Theta V and love it for its great quality, cost, and connectivity.

Thank you for choosing THETA as your favorite 360 camera! How do you use your THETA outside of work?

I enjoy using my RICOH THETA V for social media. I post a lot of tiny planets on my Instagram account and I take the camera with me on all my travels.

Travel photo in the Woodlands ©John Truman

Travel photo in Chicago ©John Truman

What is your workflow like when shooting with THETA for Google Maps or Google Street view?

I use my Ricoh THETA V on the THETA stand to take 360 photos of local places and businesses to upload to Google Maps and Google Street view. I take them directly with the THETA app in HDR and make sure there are no people or license plates visibles on the photo. I then upload them to my computer to delete the nadir or put a logo in there. I do some retouching and coloring and then upload them to Google using the Street View app. I am a Google Trusted Photographer and Local Guide with over 18 million views on my photos. My Ricoh THETA V really helps me put local businesses and places on the map (literally) and helps people discover and explore new and existing places.

Google Maps / Street View photos ©John Truman
shown on RICOH360 Tours

Thank you for sharing! Can you also explain your workflow when shooting for your view production company?

Yes! I use my Ricoh THETA V in two different ways. For my video production company, Nebular Films, I use the camera to scout locations in order to get a full view of the location. This is helpful for filming to show us the position of the sun, where windows or any other source of natural light are located, where electric outlets are located for our equipment, where to position the subject and the camera, and more. THETA V is also helpful to show the location to the whole crew who didn’t get to go to the scouting and allows us to revisit the location for things we might have missed during our scouting session. Additionally, I use this camera for behind the scenes photos of our productions and sets. All of this is done with the THETA app! I typically don’t publish the scouting photos, but sometimes share the behind the scenes shots.

Film location photos ©John Truman
shown on RICOH360 Tours

It sounds like THETA is a true asset to your profession. How does your process and workflow differ for your commercial real estate business?

For my commercial real estate business, A7 International Group, I use a quite similar process. We own A7 Business Plaza, and we rent office and retail space in The Woodlands, Texas. Sometimes potential tenants can’t come to take a tour of the space, and regular photos aren’t always wide enough. That’s where the THETA V comes in handy. I take 360 photos with the camera using the THETA app, export a 360 animation of the space using the THETA+ app, and I send that to our potential tenants to get a better idea of the space.

Your THETA is definitely getting lots of use for your businesses! Do you have anything else to add?

I believe 360 is the future of photography and videography. I’m excited to have found a camera that works for me and look forward to creating great content with it!

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You can follow John’s excited 360 degree content on Instagram and Google Maps.