Monday, July 9, 2012

How Do Virtual Tours Integrate Into A Web Site

Virtual tours use virtual reality to allow viewers to visit locations and buildings. This is a wise investment for many types of businesses. This is a popular tool among real estate websites. They are also used for educational purposes. For instance, there is this type of tour of the Louvre and the Seven Wonders of the World.

Generally they are composed of several images. Many types of multimedia are added to enhance the experience. These may include sound effects, text, narration, and music. Virtual tours are either photograph or video based media. Three different ways are used to produce these with photographs.

Rectilinear Stitching is the first. A tri-pod is used to set up a digital camera. It is manually rotated, clockwise, 360 degrees. A picture is taken every so many degrees. The amount of degrees desired may be set. Using specialized software, the pictures are then stitched together. A 360 degree view of the location is created. This method has a limited up and down view of about 50 degrees.

The next in line is referred to as Spherical Stitching. This method utilizes more expensive camera equipment. It also takes less time than the Rectilinear Stitching method. The reason for this is only 4 shots are required to produce a 360 degree, floor to ceiling view. With the Rectilinear method, 8 to 12 shots are needed per view. Cubical Stitching is what the third method is called. This allows for the stitching and then converting of panoramas into a three dimensional type box. This is the way a 360 x 360 scene is produced. It is generally thought that this method is obsolete.

Today there are video-based 360 virtual tours. The popularity of these is increasing.

A virtual tour provider can assist in create panoramic virtual tours for websites. They also assist in integrating or embedding them into the website. Several different methods are used by a virtual tour business to integrate the tours into websites. Icons, hyperlinks, and thumbnails are included in these. To embed them onto the websites, they utilize HTML source code. The visitor will click on one of these and automatically be taken on the virtual tour. To place the tour directly on the website itself, the virtual tour company may also consider using flash.

There are a couple additional considerations to keep in mind. The browser used by the visitor watching must be up to date. Javascript must be supported by the browser. This is a certain type of programming language. Javascript must be enabled and up to date. The browser must also support Adobe Flash Player version 9.0.28 or higher. Sometimes Apple Quicktime Player is needed instead. All of these programs are free and widely available on the internet. The provider helping with the design of the virtual tour can also add links to permit people access to these programs. The visitor clicks on the icon or link. They are immediately taken to a site to download the program free of charge. Many times people have the needed programs, but they are not up to date. The site enables updates too.

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