A Definitive Guide on Shooting Panoramic Photos for Virtual Tour Creation

A Definitive Guide on Shooting Panoramic Photos for Virtual Tour Creation

When taking 360-photos of the different areas of a house, it is important for you to stay focused. From the start, you have several aspects to consider. You need to think about double exposure in the case of high lights or what is known as HDR exposure. It is also important for you to tilt or rotate the panoramic head and move the tripod for shooting the nadir.

Tips for Beginners

The following are the major aspects to consider when shooting for a virtual tour:

  • A virtual tour that doesn’t use a tripod or is handheld is not possible. You need to use at least a monopod. Best of all, use a tripod.
  • It is important to set the camera on a panoramic head and on a tripod for ease of use.
  • Remove every trace of the tripod on the photo.
  • Compensate the high lights through a door or a window.

When Shooting the Photos…

It is crucial to decide whether you will use a tripod or not. Almost every photographer uses the circular fisheye on a monopod. This lets the camera stay on the nodal point, particularly in height. Handheld shooting can only be possible for a virtual tour when you only have to take up to three photos to complete the entire sphere. It is better to stick to the entrance pupil or nodal point and to have a mobile solution. It is compulsory to use the tripod when you have to take more photos.

Note: The more complicated the tripod, the more space it will take at the nadir level.

During the preparation, you have to decide on the number of shots to take for rotation and also the number of ranges. You have to tilt or rotate the camera between two shots depending on the angle covered. If the camera used is notch-based, you only have to rotate the camera to the next notch. Without the notch, you can base everything on the viewfinder or the control screen. The viewfinder has its own set of benefits if the camera does not have any built-in cloaking device. An important piece of advice: look around to find out whether the subject can enter the field of the photo.

Ghost in a relinquished building
Photographer: Ferdinand Stöhr | Source: Unsplash

How to Shoot the Nadir With or Without the Tripod

There are several methods to eliminate the tripod. It depends on the nature of the floor level, the panoramic head, and the time you can spend on taking the photo. One method of shooting is one that requires you not to include the floor underneath the tripod. The second method is to take the floor under the tripod and let the tripod disappear in the actual virtual tour.

When you include the floor under the tripod in your shoot, the tripod appears on the photo. There are two methods to remove it: by placing a circular shape in its stead, covering it and by ceasing the downward movement of the mouse until the boundaries of the tripod’s arms. For the first method, it is important to include the copyright and the name of the location.

It is preferable not to include the floor in the photo. But if you still prefer otherwise, it is imperative to show as a little tripod as possible and make sure that the circle will be the smallest possible. These can be done through any of the following means:

  • Shoot with a circular fisheye
  • Shoot with a full-format fisheye and make sure that the vertical field of view makes the circle small
  • Add one more line at its bottom where the boundaries of the tripod’s arms are.
  • On the other hand, shooting the nadir without the tripod can be done following these steps:
  • You have to shoot the raw materials that you will need later.
  • Using photoshop, make sure that two or three photos match; and through the layers’ masks, remove all possible traces of the tripod.

How to Shoot the Raw Material

  • Shoot at 0 degrees.
  • Shoot the zenith photo at 90 degrees.
  • Shoot towards the floor at -90 degrees. This can be done by directing the camera towards the floor right above where the rotary axis is. Be sure that the vertical arm is right above one of the tripod arms.

You will have a photo that is directed towards the floor with a print of the panoramic head and one of the arms of the tripod. This photo will go well with the others because the tripod is not likely to move. You will see that 80 percent of the photo tripod and it is free from the panoramic head. Only a small area of the floor is missing for the sphere to be complete.

It is necessary to shoot a photo of the place again, this time without the tripod. When shooting indoors, it can be complex and quite impossible to use the Photoshop stamp. The only solution to this is to use the same tripod for the panoramic head but tilt the tripod a little towards the floor.

Here are some more tips to consider:

Put a coin marker on the floor under the central column of the tripod before the tripod is moved. This represents the rotary axis of the nodal point of the lens and the camera head. It is also wise to rotate the vertical arm of the panoramic camera head at 180 degrees. Here the camera is already hung on the floor yet still on the tripod and at the same height which makes it stable all the time. Hence it is important to reposition the lenses accurately. All you have to do is to look through the viewfinder or make use of the live view or else position the coin at the center of the viewfinder. For the rest of the preparations and editing of the photos, you only need the raw material of the floor and paste on the old photo of the nadir through the use of Photoshop.

HDR or Double Exposure

This requires only minimal focus. Make sure to create a photo with less exposure time and a second one with exposures of 1.5/2 diaphragms. Make sure that you will not move the tripod or the panoramic head at this point. Exposure will always be in manual mode. Exposure changes must be done through speed change instead of the diaphragm to stay away from stitching problems.

Now you’ll be able to take amazing 360-photos upon following the above-mentioned guidelines. Don’t forget to upload those photos into Virtual Tour Easy and start marketing your real estate properties today!

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3 Top-Performing 360° Cameras With Great Staying Power

It’s difficult to capture a 360° photo or video if you don’t have the best performing 360° cameras to use. You’ll be craning your neck just to satisfy yourself that you’re able to capture your immediate surroundings. Given the high value of this type of photo and video for business, purchasing a 360° camera is almost inevitable for any business enterprise that likes to be ahead of the pack when it comes to advertising and marketing, more particularly for the real estate and hospitality industry.

There are two types of 360° images that can be produced by 360° cameras. You can produce 360° stills which allow you to have wide-angle shots and panoramas. You can also create 360° videos in this camera. This type of video allows viewers to choose the parts that they want to focus more. 360° photos and videos can be viewed on your mobile phone and sites. They can be shared easily through Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. Tools like Virtual Tour Easy makes your 360° images more useful as it can turn these images into a virtual tour that will serve as a high-end tool for promoting one’s real estate properties to potential buyers. Virtual tours can also be used in various other industries.

Now that you know the value of 360° cameras, it’s important that you become aware of all the top performing ones in the market. Here are our toughest choices:

Ricoh Theta V 360° Cameras

Price: $394 to $397

Pros: This 360° camera is for a classy lifestyle. It has an exquisite design but only requires a few buttons to operate. It’s tall and slim and can be held perfectly in one hand without compromising the quality of the lenses.

It does not require a lot of steps to use. All it takes is for the user to set the Theta V to stills or video mode and to click on the shutter release button and start shooting. It comes with a smartphone app which is equally simple in its operations.

This camera has a fixed 19G memory. Its app version has basic yet efficient VR options. A Theta+ app may also be used for editing images.

Cons: The downside to this camera is that it is not meant for action-packed coverage. Some users also complain about a purple fringing between the hemispheres on the area where the images blend. It also does not have an optical image stabilization and its storage capacity at 19GB is relatively smaller.

Insta360° One 360° Cameras

Price: Between $260 to $290

Pros: The Insta360° One is not merely an iPhone accessory. Insta360° has made a ONE camera which can be used as a standalone device. This allows the user to take pictures and videos without it being attached to a phone. It means that this can also be used in an android. The camera has its own battery which is rechargeable through micro-USB. MicroSD cards on the other hand are used for storage. It is known for its superb image quality and editing tools.

Cons: For users who use the app version, the editing tools found in the app are limited compared to those found in the actual camera. It is also known to have massive file sizes which may not be useful for some users.

GoPro Fusion 360° Cameras

Price: Between $599 to $648

Pros: Compared to the other action 360° cameras, the GoPro Fusion is slimmer. It is also waterproof up to 5 meters deep. This camera has a feature called OverCapture which allows the extraction of a full HD movie from the spherical images. QuickCapture on the other hand enables a single button to press to start recording even if the camera is turned off. It has an equivalent Photo button for images. A voice command can be used to start and stop the recordings.

Cons: Saving the files can be cumbersome with GoPro Fusion since it requires two matched microSD cards for files to be transferred to a computer. The OverCapture feature on the other hand lacks keyframe support. GoPro Fusion images are also not that sharp, and its Fusion Studio found on the desktop appears to be unfinished.

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3 Most Important Steps on How to Shoot Pictures of Interiors with a 360° Camera

The 360° camera does not require rocket science for operation. It’s easy to use. For you to come up with the superb pictures of real estate interiors using the 360° camera, make sure you know the tricks of the trade. Here are some of the most important ones you should not forget:

1. Get the Equipment You Need Like 360° Camera

The first step is to use a high-quality 360° camera. The top performing ones are the Ricoh Theta V, Insta One 360°, GoPro Fusion, and Nikon Key Mission. Compare one another in terms of features and prices first and make sure that it suits your budget before you purchase any. There are rental 360° cameras as well if you are not sure about purchasing at the moment.

You need to use a tripod when taking the pictures. Using a tripod ensures that you can capture everything you want to be included in your virtual tour. This makes it super handy as well to do other tasks when capturing images. You also have to make sure that you pick the right height for the tripod so that the person taking the picture will be part of the photo and not just a quarter of his face. When you take a 360° photo it requires you not to move. Remember that your viewers will want to look around the interior you are covering.

2. Clean the room

It is important to clean the room, make sure that there is sufficient lighting, and that the curtains are open. Set your 360° camera and tripod, considering the best angle and lighting. For the tripod, the height is ideally at 1.20 to 1.50. You need to place the camera with the tripod in the middle of the room. If you don’t want to appear in the video, go to an adjacent room while the shooting is going on. You can start taking the pictures using the 360° camera. Most of these cameras have remote control and can be connected by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. If your camera doesn’t have this feature, you can set the timer instead. You need to check the picture if you are satisfied with it. If not you need to make changes to the physical setting or the camera’s settings. Repeat the same steps for every room.

3. Don't forget to take shots of some parts.

It is highly recommended that you take a photo of the entrance to the property starting from the front door. It is also smart to take the exterior area of the property from the inside. This can be done by placing the 360° camera on the tripod in the terrace, garden, or the balcony. Once you have all the pictures and you are satisfied with their quality, you may then transfer them to your phone, desktop, or laptop. For you to make the most of your amazing 360° pictures, produce a virtual tour out of them. Check the site virtualtoureasy.com for you to turn your excellent 360° photos into high quality virtual tours in only 5 minutes.

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5 Reasons Why 360 Virtual Tours are Great Opportunity for Photographers [You Should Try it Too!]

360 virtual tours present multiple opportunities for photographers whether freelance or not. There are many reasons for this. On the business side, companies are starting to invest in virtual reality and 360° virtual tours for their promotion and marketing. According to statistics, 360° virtual tours can help double the number of people interested in the business listings. This helps to market the business to more people and it can help to create a buzz in the social media sites.

The following are more valid reasons for photographers to invest in skills and equipment for them to come up with amazing virtual tours:

1. High Potential for Business

360° virtual tours are just in its beginning years; it has a long way to go in terms of use, functionality, and features. It offers the greatest advantage and convenience of being able to visualize any physical space straight from your own desktop or mobile phone. It enables you to be immersed in that actual space virtually.

2. High Number of Potential Clients

360° virtual tours can be used all throughout various industries and different professionals for as long as they have space to occupy. Some of these industries are the following: property developers, real estate brokers, interior designers, restaurateurs, homeowners, and those from the hospitality industry.

3. Allows You to Upsell and Come Up with a Different Service

You can add 360° photos to your current suite of photography services. This enables you to upsell your services to your current customers since 360° photos will allow your customers to have a more interactive and immersive experience with the properties they intend to purchase. It can also set you off from your competitors.

4. Easy to Start 360° Virtual Tour

It’s easy to start the 360° virtual tour service by signing up for a 360° virtual tour creator. All you have to do is buy a 360° camera with only a minimal expense. It’s not difficult to learn using the camera as well. It does not entail a learning curve on your end as the photographer.

5. Provides Powerful Solutions

The use of 360° virtual tours come encumbered with a lot of powerful solutions. Google Street View offers the potential for photographers to produce public tours. The VirtualTourEasy.com allows you to create a virtual tour in just five minutes which can be customized and shared on social media to reach potential clients. It also offers a high level of flexibility compared to other existing solutions. You are also guaranteed of excellent results all the time.

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How Does a 360° Virtual Tour Allow You to Improve Your Sales?

The 360 Virtual Tour is a way to show 360 panoramas of a group of varying small spaces. For example, you are going to take pictures of the different rooms of the hotel and you have to present them as a subject which is in 360 degrees. The way to combine all the 360 panoramas together and make the viewers feel like being there in person. That is through what is called the 360 virtual tour.

Virtual tours are used across varying industries as a promotional tool. It is known to be quite an effective one. It is also a valuable tool for increasing sales for several reasons. Here are the best reasons why virtual tours are considered as an excellent tool for increasing sales.

It is an effective marketing tool.

The virtual tour gives you a more realistic preview of the real estate property. The virtual tour is also more immersive and interactive. It almost means being in the real space itself. It is through the 360° virtual tour that you can have a virtual visit to the property you like. Through this type of tour, you can have a better understanding of all the layouts. This makes it a powerful means to promote real estate and increase sales.

It gives you the competitive advantage over your business rivals.

The 360° virtual tour gives you an edge when negotiating with potential clients. This will give you exclusivity when your competitors have not thought of using the 360° tour as a tool for promotion. It is also a cool and more modern way of promoting the real estate property. Even the young professionals who like to have their initial investments will be able to appreciate the 360° virtual tour.

It is time-saving.

Through 360° virtual tours, you can allow your clients to visit the real estate through virtual means. This means no unnecessary visits to the site which adds more to the cost. It also means you have more time to use in doing the more significant aspects of business.

It is not difficult to use, and it doesn’t have a high learning curve.

Producing a 360° virtual tour does not entail enrolling in a crash course or a learning curve that can last for weeks or months. All you have to do is to have a 360° camera, a tripod, and choose to have a virtual tour solution. You can simply follow some guides that can be easy to follow and try to shoot real estate properties using the 360° camera. There are techniques and tricks that you can learn in s short time. You along with your partners or collaborators can become expert in the creation of such material in just a short time.

It is budget-friendly.

It doesn’t require to hire a production team to come up with a 360° virtual tour. You can have one for only USD $100 while the more popular ones may cost from USD$400 to $600. A tripod can only cost around USD$20. You can also have a year’s subscription of a pro plan for a service like the VirtualTourEasy.com for only USD$400.

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Top Benefits of 360° Virtual Tours on Your Business

360 virtual tours do have a prime spot in any company’s marketing initiative. Why? Communication is key to every business regardless of the industry. This is especially true for 21st century companies. It’s beneficial for a company to have different methods of communication to potential customers. The presence of the Internet is something that makes things easier, but it also makes the competition much tighter.

For industries that require site visits for the customer to see first hand what they are buying, it is even more time-consuming and physically exhausting for the staff or personnel involved.

360° Virtual Tours, Virtual Tours, 360 virtual tour, virtual tour easy

Who Benefits from 360° Virtual Tours?

One industry that can benefit a lot from virtual tours is real estate. The real estate agent or broker may now let the client visit the site of the property and get a feel of it without going there physically. All they have to do is wear a virtual reality mask and the client will exactly feel what it is like to be in the physical home.

For interior designers, a portfolio is so outdated and ineffective. Possible clients will become more interested when they can show their designs through a virtual tour. The potential client may also see the colors and patterns and feel the texture of the objects and items used in the design.

The same principle applies to the hotel industry. Through virtual tours, potential guests can see the exterior and interior designs of the hotel. They will be able to view every room and find out about the amenities provided by the hotel. This is helpful for constant travelers and for those who book for corporate events.

For physical shops, it’s easy for potential customers to view the products or services that are made available in those shops through 360° virtual tours. It is also possible to add a link to a video of a product or service demo on the virtual tour on the hotspot feature. You may also add a link to your site or add more information about your business.

State of the art 360 virtual tours can help different industries in increasing their number of customers. This is primarily because the tool can increase business interaction with potential customers. Of course, it is not like chatbots that personalize the interaction. Virtual tours on the other hand allow the potential client to do what they want to do with the property. They have the option to view more those areas of the property that they are more interested.

Other Implications in the Use of 360° Virtual Tours

Google conducted a survey on 147 restaurants and discovered that 50 percent of online visitors who were presented a virtual tour made a reservation. It is also easy to promote your virtual tour through various social media sites. Potential clients don’t have to go to Google View to look at your shop or property. Facebook for instance now accepts 360̊ photos. That’s not all there is to it. There’s a software that you can use to produce excellent 360° virtual tour you will need for your business. This is the Virtual Tour Easy. You can check it out through this link, you can create a tour for free, you just need to upload your 360° pictures and hotspots. Have a look at https://virtualtoureasy.com.

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Why Should You Invest in a 360° Camera for Business

A 360° camera is an investment for any business and even for personal use. Its uses have gone beyond simply capturing emotions and moments. It has become a valuable tool for business promotion as well.

The new 360° camera is a small and portable type of camera but it can help you capture moments in time in a more immersive and interactive manner. Through this camera, people will experience how it is to fly a jet or dive underwater.

You can be as creative as possible with this type of camera.

It’s one great advantage that any photo from the 360° camera is easy to share to all your social media sites. You have several options Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and even your very own site. A great example of this is the Giroptic 360° camera which comes with a lightbulb adapter. This makes it extra useful as a security camera outdoors. You can buy one for only $79. All you have to do is to fit it into any light fixture. You can monitor the house even while you are on vacation or in an out of town trip.

The 360° camera can produce 360° photos that can be turned into a virtual tour of any of your properties (interior and exterior). This can be done with the use of a user-friendly online software which you can have for free: the Virtual Tool Easy. All you need to do is sign up, upload your 360° photos, and do some tweaks on the audio and text and voila you now have an interactive and highly immersive virtual tour of your property.

Owning a 360° camera can help you save costs.

This small camera can cover a large area. This means that there are less installations required for the camera to cover a wide area. It can easily cover rugged areas like garages, museums, street intersections which can help in making you aware of your surroundings. In businesses, apart from using these cameras for their security, they are also used to monitor the flow of customer traffic, supervise and manage the staff and their placement in the physical store, and to avert any attempt at theft, burglary, and any fraudulent act. If you are aware of the situation in your business such as the amount of people coming in and actually buying, you can increase or decrease your staff or products to improve the company sales.

They are user-friendly and not overwhelming like the DSLR.

It can be a headache to operate a DSLR camera and even a phone camera when you are not familiar with the apps and features. Majority of the 360° cameras are easy to set up and use. They don’t need you to read manuals or ask friends to operate it. Some of them only have one or two buttons to capture a wide area of coverage.

There is a great potential to using 360° cameras for business.

Facebook integrates already the 360° pictures, and numerous solutions are created to enhance the potential of the 360° cameras. Among this solution, google street view now supports 360° pictures, and VirtualTourEasy.com aims to democratize the creation of 360 virtual tours for businesses with an easy to use virtual tour builder and easy integrations.

It without no doubt that the 360° cameras will continue to be more and more popular, and you what do you think?

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