Terminology of Virtual Tour Companies
The information below is a list of the most popular phrases and terminology used by Virtual Tour companies. It is aimed at people researching options and finding out information about incorporating a virtual tour to their own website. If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.
A Virtual Tour is a way of showing a remote user around a property, venue, or place, using media such as pictures, sound, or video. Virtual Tours are also referred to as 360-virtual tours, interactive panoramas, virtual reality tours, VTs and VR’s.
A view-point, also known as a node, is the spot on which a virtual tour is made. Quite often, larger venues will have more than one viewpoint in the same room.
As a viewer explores a virtual tour they may see icons that they can click on. A hot spot can link to another viewpoint in the tour, or it can be used to display information, pictures, video, or a sound bite related to where the hot spot is located. Some virtual tour companies include a hot spot on the floor of a viewpoint, this can reduce the editing time of the virtual tour while also increasing brand recognition for the viewer.
A skin is made of graphics to overlay the virtual tour. It helps remind the visitor of the organisation that owns the virtual tour.
HDR / Composites
High dynamic range (HDR) and composites are terminology related to a photographic method of combining pictures made of different exposures. Even the most expensive digital cameras do not have the same dynamic range as the human eye and its capability to see dark and bright things simultaneously. To replicate what the human eye can see, pictures of different exposures are taken and combined together. This is particularly useful for venues that want to show a room that has a particularly nice window view.
Flash, is a form of media type that virtual tours can be produced in. It is recognised by many virtual tour companies as one of the most compatible media types for most web browsers. However, there are many virtual tour companies that will argue that point due to the limitations on the software they have invested in.
Although Flash is popular within web browsers on PCs and Macs, it isn’t compatible with iPhones and iPads. All virtual tours we produce in Flash can be replicated in HTML5. We include a script within the virtual tour that automatically detects iPhone and iPad users and sends them to an HTML5 version of your virtual tour.
In all of our HTML5 virtual tours, we incorporate the gyro control of iPhone/iPad devices. This allows the virtual tour viewer to explore the venue by physically moving the device in a 360-degree motion. So if they point their device to the ceiling they see the ceiling, point it to the floor and they see carpets, etc. The traditional finger swipe method can also be used to explore the virtual tour on smart devices also.
Virtual Tours can be made from large file sizes. Especially, if the virtual tour is in high-resolution and built around being a full-screen presentation. Some virtual tour companies include web hosting for the tour so that speed, storage, and bandwidth doesn’t affect the client’s website. This also works well for the client as adding a simple hyperlink is all that is required to integrate things. An example can be found on this client site, Blue Keys Hotel, where the client links to a tour hosted by Solent Studios. The viewer can click directly back into the client’s website from the virtual tour, making the experience seamless.
Within a virtual tour, a floor plan can be added to allow a user to navigate different rooms and viewpoints.
A radar icon can be added to a virtual tour that shows the viewer which direction they are facing in the tour in relation to compass points.
Different virtual tour companies offer different features. Like with anything, the more features a product has, the longer it takes to build and the more expensive it becomes to the buyer.
There are many virtual tour companies around offering a variety of different service levels. There are some offering cheap and cheerful products aimed at low-end estate agents. While there are others that produce incredible walk-throughs of multi-roomed museums and universities incorporating video.
Sample virtual tour by Solent Studios – Portsmouth Football Club
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