Virtual Tour Questions
If you are considering having virtual tours done what should you be looking for? Is it just a questions of price? surely all virtual tours are the same?
In all the years I’ve been doing virtual tours the only question I’ve ever been asked is what will it cost? Although I agree that price is important there are many other questions that should be considered first, hopefully by asking the questions below you will avoid making costly mistakes and get the virtual tours you really want.
I’m based in Newport South Wales, I’ve been doing 360 degree photography for over four year and photography in general for over thirty years. More and more photographers are starting to offer 360 virtual tour photography, but they are not all the same.
Question 1: What formal will the tours be in? The main options are quicktime, flash and html5, all of these have plus and minus points.
Quicktime: unless you have a quicktime player on your pc then you need to download one, most people won’t bother so they will never get to see your tours, plus point they can be used in pdf’s.
Flash: The most versatile in the form of the special effects you can add to the tour, but as they cannot be used on iphones, ipads or macs this is not the best option.
Html5: The most versatie across the platforms and can be used on iphones, ipads and macs. Downside if you are using a really old browser it probably won’t work.
Best Formal: Html5 with a flash backup, if you are using an old browser the html will drop out and the flash will kick in.
Question 2: How much of the room will I be able to see? A 360 view obviously covers the view around the room. But some tours will not be able to view completely over the ceiling or the bottom of the floor so giving you a limited field of view, I feel this detracts from the user experience but this is a personal point of view.
Question 3: If you are getting a complete 360 x 180 view (over the ceiling and the whole floor)how will the take out the tripod from the image? There are various ways of doing this and it’s the most complicated part of the tour. There is a really clever way of doing this that will pretty much blend everything in, but most photographers don’t do this. So you could be left with either a circular part of the floor that looks blurred and pulled in, or some people use a round logo to cover the area. There’s nothing wrong with using a logo if that’s what you want to see.
Question 4: If using a limited field of view (Cannot see the whole ceiling or floor) how will they handle the distortion? With this type of tour it will naturally give you a distorted effect. If you look at the floor and ceiling lines they will bend as you rotate around the room, this can easily be corrected if you know how to do it.
Question 5: Will I get all the files? Some photographers do not give you all the files, you have to link to their servers to use them, never a good idea as if something happens you could lose all the tours. Or be charged a fee every year to keep using them.
Question 6: Price, if everything else is right then price is the important point, always shop around but make sure everything else is right first, don’t buy just on price.
Always ask to see examples of the photographers work, then you can judge for yourself what you are going to get.
Unfortunately with some of the questions above, SOME Photographers will have no idea what you are talking about. There are some amazing photographers out there doing fantastic virtual tours, make you you make the correct choice.