What better way to begin than by taking a virtual tour of SmartCuts Creative? This is an example of a self-guided tour. We did it this way to allow visitors to take their time inspecting the video production and photo studio, above all, but also the premises in general. People considering coming to us for a virtual event or studio shoot understandably like to know ahead of time what to expect when they get here.
The virtual tours we created for The International University in Geneva represent a good case study to explain how virtual visits can be hosted or self-guided. Hosted means a presenter takes you through the visit. Self-guided means you’re on your own, but with interactive choices to make.
A crucial element of self-guided virtual tours is, of course, the interactive hotspots that allow viewers to navigate and self-propel through the visit. Not only does this allow autonomy and create a sense of being in control, but hot spots embedded in a virtual tour also allow viewers to trigger pop-ups with more information: video, photo, text. Any media can be inserted to liven up the visit.
3D Modeling for Virtual Tours
Whether self-guided or not, a virtual tour will often tremendously benefit from some 3D modeling. This allows viewers to get a broader perspective on the venue your are showing, and to provide details about layout, dimensions, and more. 3D modeling is particularly useful for real estate or architecture projects, but there are many other pertinent applications.
Virtual Tour of SmartCuts Creative
Use your mouse to drag the image around and click on hot spots so you can navigate around our agency. The tour begins in our production studio. Just click on the door hot spot to step out and explore the rest of the agency.
Virtual Tours Case Study
Virtual Tours of the International University in Geneva
The International University in Geneva is a long-standing SmartCuts client. They hire us for video production, media training and video production training for their students and alumni. So it was natural that when they decided the time had come for their website to boast a virtual tour, they’d come to us to produce it. We set out to deliver two types of virtual visits: one self-guided, with interactive hot spots, and one hosted, using two students to walk the viewer through the campus and explain.
For the self-guided tour, we used a high-dynamic range 360o camera, not only to make the inside of their campus look good, but also to make sure the view outside the windows was not just an overexposed sheet of white. This is a common weak point in many virtual tours you see online. Another are anchor points that don’t stick to the ground and hot spots that simply don’t work.
For the hosted tour, we used a stabilizing gimbal and had a videographer walk around with two students who knew the campus well and could narrate the visit. The work was quickly done and IUG now has two professional virtual tours to offer prospective students.
Q&A on Virtual Tours
Why Virtual Tours?
If you have a campus you’re proud of, a real estate project to present, a museum, studio, factory, or anything else that could benefit from being made accessible to visitors who just can’t always make the trip over, then virtual visits are the answer. They have become increasingly popular since the pandemic hit in 2020, to allow people to discover, visit, learn virtually.
With the technology involved in creating virtual tours constantly evolving, new and exciting possibilities are popping up all the time to liven up virtual visits. Hot spots allow viewers to find out more, via video, photos, text, virtually any medium that best carries the message or information you want to deliver. Virtual tours can be self-guided, which puts the visitor in the driver’s seat and makes for a more interesting, interactive experience. They can be hosted, in which case the human element comes to the fore and allows you to control what is said and shown. Virtual tours are a great asset on any website.
Why with SmartCuts?
Because we have experience, in a nutshell. We know how to avoid the traps that many fall into when improvising the creation of a virtual tour, namely over-exposed photos, hot spots that don’t quite stick where they’re supposed to, among other things. The team that does virtual visits at SmartCuts is well trained and uses top-of-the-line equipment to make sure that each production looks great and works seamlessly.
They also know what workflow functions best with clients, making sure that a plan is in place before the day of the shoot to avoid the old, “Ah, wish we’d thought of that.” We ask the right questions and provide advice if you’re simply not sure what’s best.
How does it work?
We’ll need to come for a recce (location scouting), to evaluate the scope, what sort of equipment will be needed and to draw up a plan. We then finalize the quote for the mandate and get to work as soon as you let us in. What you need to anticipate is the need to vacate the premises, unless you want people immobile and immortalized in your virtual tour.
Obviously, it’s also a good idea to do a bit of cleaning and polishing before the day of the shoot. When all is ready, a photographer will use a special camera to take 360 degree shots in the key locations you have determined as needing to be hubs. Then, in post-production, our editors will add the interactive hot spots we planned out before the shoot, having captured any content necessary to create the media embedded in these the day of the shoot.