With the world social distancing from physical interaction, the digital world is becoming our primary mode of communication. Whether attending a concert or attending workout sessions, everything is now happening through our laptop or phone screens.
If you are missing your friends visiting your home, your favorite hangout, or your workplace, this is the time to browse through your gallery, find the best photos and create a virtual tour for you and your gang to enjoy while being quarantined in your homes.
The whole idea of a virtual tour is to create an immersive experience where you get the feeling of visiting or walking through a place or property without being physically present.
They are quite commonly used in the real estate industry where out-of-town buyers view houses through virtual tours guided by agents. These often set them apart from other agencies and give their listings an edge.
While your purpose of creating virtual tours could be quite different and might be solely for entertainment purposes, they are no less critical or immersive than those that are for a specific business purpose.
Creating a virtual tour can be expensive, but using the images in your gallery and a video editor for pc, you can put together an experience that both you and your friends will cherish.
What is a Virtual Tour?
A virtual tour is essentially creating a digital representation of a place using static images of the same and adding dynamism to it. However, a video produced by using a slideshow of photos from a property set to a piece of music is not a virtual tour because it does not replicate the feeling of being at a place.
There are three types of virtual tours – a virtual walk-through, a 360-degree interactive virtual tour, and a 3D virtual tour. The more complicated technology would be a 3D virtual tour or a 360-degree interactive tour, a virtual walk-through is a simple and effective way of experiencing a place.
Video Walk-Through Virtual Tours
The least complicated and engaging of the lot is the video walk-through virtual tour. It is easy to create and can be made with a smartphone and simple video editing techniques.
You can easily create these virtual video walk-throughs using the photographs in your phone and an instagram video editor to stitch all of them together and make them look magnificent.
If you have photos or videos of your favorite restaurant, park or even your house which was your regular party hangout, you can edit them with an intriguing voiceover, descriptive texts or nostalgic music to create an experience worth sharing with your friends and get the feeling of hanging out with them in real life!
3-D Virtual Tours
3-D Virtual Tours are designed to give people the experience of being in a space and moving around as you would typically do if you were physically present.
They are generally created by shooting panoramic stills of locations using special camera lenses and then stitching them together. You can either shoot this with a DSLR or a smartphone with a lens extension.
These might seem a little jumpy when you move around from room to room in a house or a more substantial location since they are created using static images, much like the Google Street View.
However, you will have the liberty to stop, look around, zoom in, and experience a location to its fullest on a 3-D Virtual Tour, unlike on a Video Walk-Through.
Interactive 360-Degree Virtual Tour
The richest of all virtual tour experiences, the interactive 360-degree virtual tour, requires specialized equipment and software to create the experience, which is often quite expensive to develop.
This technology is used for creating interactive, immersive experiences of public museums and other tourist and historical sights in many places around the world.
In this particular method, a special camera is set up in the middle of a location. When this device is activated, it rotates and takes high-resolution 360-degree photos of its surroundings and uploads it to specialized software.
This software works at stitching the footage together, adding links and texts, as well as other interactive media, which creates a dynamic experience for the viewer.
They are similar to the 3-D virtual tours, but they add an element of being closer to reality and are often used to create experiences that can be viewed using a Virtual Reality headset.
How to Create a Virtual Tour?
Creating a virtual tour is not hugely complicated if you have access to the necessary tools and have the essential talent to edit videos. You can use the following four steps to create your virtual tour video.
Source the Right Equipment and Software
The two essential equipment that you will need to create a virtual tour of a location, whether its a room or open-air are a 360-degree or panoramic camera and a stable tripod.
Unlike popular belief, a 360-degree camera or a panoramic lens is not an expensive investment. Research on the best versions available in the market and check for their resolution depth, stabilizer options, battery life, and remote operation to justify their price point.
Secondly, having a stable tripod ensures that all the photos are clicked at the same angle, and they would be easier to stitch up during the editing process.
Plan your Shots
Having a list of angles and areas that you want to shoot as well as figuring out the best spot to shoot from in a location is essential to having a fruitful exercise.
This will help you avoid confusion during editing and help you mark your shots better. Moreover, the center of the location might not always work out as the best place to capture all the best features. So, find the perfect area, mark the spot with tape and proceed with your shoot.
Take All the Necessary Photos
Once you have your shot list ready, positions marked in every location, and your camera ready to shoot, set up your tripod, and get clicking! Make sure to check each shot and perfect them.
It is better if you take too many high-quality images as opposed to not having enough good shots.
Create your Virtual Tour Video
Once you have all the photos that you need, you can upload them on to the software of your choice and get working on stitching together your experiential video.
The software will prompt you to add in the photos and stitch together static frames for a 3-D Virtual Tour, whereas panoramic images will be combined into a 360-degree interactive tour.
You can always outsource this work and get more features added to make the tour an exciting experience. As you quarantine in your houses, these virtual tours can be a gift of memory or a shared experience that you can have with your loved ones!