Located just outside of Houston in Sugar Land, Texas, the Smart Financial Centre hosts a variety of live events including music and comedy artists, family show, theatrical Broadway production, as well as cultural and performing arts.
This sweeping 200,000-square-foot space has moveable walls that can create an intimate setting with 1,900 seats or open up to 6,400 seats for larger events. It also has 14 luxury suites and corporate hospitality areas. Managed by leading live theater company, Ambassador Theater Group (ATG), it was also named Best of Houston Large Venues in 2020 and 2019 by the Houston Press.
We took some time with Wade Guthrie, owner of Premier 3D Virtual Tours to hear about his experience scanning such an expansive space.
Q: What inspired the 3D capture of Smart Financial Centre?
I was driving down the freeway when I noticed a brand new building, which turned out to be the Smart Financial Centre. So, the next day, I got dressed up and went over and knocked on the door and introduced myself. I showed them the scan I had done of the Lone Star Convention Centre and they became really interested in Matterporting the space.
The next morning Andrew Huang, the Director of Marketing and Communications, called me and asked if I could come back that same day, and I offered to scan the backstage areas to give a taste of what Matterport is capable of. I had brought my Matterport Pro2 with me, so I got started right then and there and worked that day into the night.
I was so confident in the technology that I told them that if they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to pay for it.
We showed the initial backstage scans to the higher ups, and not only did they love it they wanted me to scan the entire Smart Financial Centre. This included all three major areas of the entire 200,000 square foot venue. In all it took 1428 scans to complete all three models.
Q: What are the “must-sees” you want visitors to explore and why?
Walking through the Smart Financial Centre House 3D Model is four stories tall and compiled into one complete seamless model. It will take a visitor hours to actually walk through it all. If you stand in front of the elevator on the ground floor, you’ll notice two Mattertags: one that’s orange and one that’s blue. If you look at the signs for each level, you’ll notice Balcony Level 4 is orange and Loge & Club Level 3 is blue. Grand Suites Level 2 is private, so we won’t be able to access that floor from the elevators. The link for each of those Mattertags takes you to the corresponding level. It’s like you rode the elevator up to that level.
If you stand on the stage looking out at the audience, you’ll notice some green Mattertags, which will take you to the Ticketmaster website page for the Smart Financial Centre. When you choose your seats, you’ll be able to see the actual view from that section in the Matterport 3D tour. Each section is labeled with Mattertags and by simply clicking the link in the Mattertag you can see for yourself what it’s like to sit in that section, before purchasing your tickets.
One of the most common questions the Smart Financial Centre receives is about seating and whether the view is good. Now, they’ll be able to refer guests to the 3D tour so they can see for themselves. I made sure to scan every part of the space so guests can even walk around the different seats and choose their tickets based on the view they like best.
Q: What were some of the challenges of scanning such a big space?
The Smart Financial Centre is made up of 816 scans – it took about a month to complete the whole thing. The space is so massive, I was careful to keep my scans close together to ensure that everything stitched together properly. Every time I got a low overlap warning, I deleted that scan and moved the camera back a foot or two, and rescanned. If I got the low overlap warning again, I repeated backing up until I got a good, stitched scan. I felt that each scan was like a support pillar/column helping hold up the entire model and preventing it from collapsing in on itself.
Being that you are most likely scanning by yourself, you will get a lot of alone time to think about what you are doing. The number one thing I can say to do is to always pay attention to everything around you, especially mirrors and doorways. I find that a good Spotify playlist always helps me focus on what I’m doing while scanning.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
This was only the third Matterport 3D model I had ever created. The cool thing is that you don’t have to have much experience with the Matterport Pro2 3D camera because the technology does so much of it for you.
I was able to figure it out on my own, as well as how to edit and manipulate certain elements after capturing the space. Searching for Matterport YouTube videos is also a great way to learn.
I also got some great help from tech support. They gave me some great ideas that I took and ran with – so thank you