360˚ panoramic photography, player creation, & social media marketing

360˚ Panoramic Photography Basics
One of the most important factors influencing Internet bookings for destination websites is the use of high quality photography that accurately depicts a location and service.

In addition to being able to discern photos that are cropped, outdated, and creatively deceptive, Internet consumers depend on visual information to make a final decision in booking or visiting a destination.

According to a recent article by SyndicatePlus, 360° (degree) product photography technologies enable consumers to view all sides and angles of the product by rotating it on their screen. The same technology also reduces the average number of product returns as consumers have a better understanding of what they are actually buying. Moreover, 360° photography provides legitimacy in the eyes of consumers as it adds to the perceived brand value of a product, which increases consumers trust in your product.

Resorts And The Importance Of Digital Media Photo Fakeouts

What is a 360° photograph?

A 360° photograph is a still image composed of multiple smaller shots taken at different angles from a central camera position. Using a software-based player, the viewer has the impression of standing in the exact spot where the images were taken. The viewer can pan back and forth, zoom in and out, and look up and down in a complete 360° spherical image.

How do you move and navigate in a 360° photograph?

You can move your perspective by left clicking, holding the button down, and moving the mouse. The view will change just as if you were moving your head. On a mobile device, you swipe with your finger. You can also use the navigational buttons located at the bottom of the screen. Buttons, links, and graphics then take you to additional images and information.

Why is 360° photography better than still images or video on the web?

Resorts and other destinations spend thousands of dollars on a single still image setting up lights, hiring actors, and placing props.

Videos are also highly produced and expensive, allowing only the ability to watch a linear presentation of images from a script.

At a fraction of the cost, A 360° photo shows an area exactly the way it is. There are no lights to set up, no down-time for your business, and no limits to what the viewer can see.

Is this technology similar to Google Street View on Google Maps?

Yes! In the last few years, Google has spent a great deal of money preparing the Internet for 360° images, or as they call them, Photo Spheres. Google Street View is basically the same technology with 360° images linked together on a map.

The link below will take you to a Vistaramic, 360° photo tour of a golf course on Google Maps using Google’s 360° player. Click the link, locate the yellow Pegman in the lower right corner, right-click-hold, drag the circle under the Pegman over a blue dot on the map and let the mouse button up.

Google Maps - Eagle Creek Golf Club

Shooting 360° Photographs

Why does the quality of 360° images seem to vary so much?

360° photography is becoming more popular as hobbyists shoot for fun with low quality cameras and cell phones. In many 360° images you can see stitching errors where lines don’t meet, blending errors where the light isn’t right, or whole areas that seem distorted or missing.

Our background has been in the professional film and video business for the last 25 years, so we are accustomed to meeting the high image standards of brand departments for large organizations. We’ve been shooting professional 360° tours for companies like Wyndham Resorts, colleges like USC, UCLA, and Liberty University, and popular locations like Churchill Downs. Vistaramic uses high quality DSLR cameras and a technique called High Dynamic Range (or HDR for short). Each shot we take is composed of multiple exposures at different light settings. This allows us to balance the finished 360° so you can see what’s in the shadows as well as the bright sky.

We spend the time to carefully and precisely stitch the views together and make sure the 360° accurately portrays the location while showcasing it in clear brilliant imagery.

Will shooting 360° images affect the operation of my business?

No. All of the photos required to create a complete tour of your facilities can be shot by a single photographer.

There are no lights to set up, no flashes, and no noise. In most cases, the photographer will stand in the center of a location, smile, wait for guests to pass through, and then shoot that single angle. The entire shot can be completed in just a few minutes.

How long does it take to shoot everything you need?

A medium sized resort with 2 room types and amenities may take 3 or 4 hours to shoot all the 360° images for the entire property. A complete golf course with 100 360° images may take 8 to 10 hours. Exterior shots under the sun take about about 3 minutes each. Interior shots may take up to 5 minutes. Night shots or very dark areas can take up to 10 minutes. In most cases, clients like to keep people in the image to minimum so we try to start our shooting early in the morning to cover areas before guests arrive.

Can you shoot a 360° from a helicopter?

Yes! We handle everything including helicopter rental and FAA clearance. At 500 feet or less, the helicopter rotates around as the camera shoots each angle of the 360° image. Total time over the location is less than 10 minutes.

Vistaramic Helicopter Shot Over Orlando Golf Resort

Creating 360° Photo Image Players
Once shooting is complete, the 360° images are stitched, edited, and individually submitted to the client for changes and approval. Using the client’s input, Vistaramic then designs and creates the graphics and navigation for the player.

In most cases, the player will use the same button design and color schemes of the client’s existing website. We can create or duplicate those elements without the need to access your website.

The 360° images are then placed in the player. Additional still images for slide shows, video links, social media, booking engines, or other calls to action are also included.

How long does it take to create a player after shooting?

The total time to finish a player depends on the number of 360° images used, and the overall complexity of the player. A player with 10 images and simple navigation will take about 2 weeks to finish.

A player with 40 images and high complexity may take 4 weeks. Once a player is finished for a client, it can act as a template for future projects which keeps the development and construction time to a minimum.

What kind of options are available for the player?

Just about any normal HTML function can be done in a Vistaramic 360° image player.
  • Multi-state drop-down menus for navigation.
  • Graphics and links that connect to websites, social media, and booking engines.
  • Hotspots are graphics that stay linked to a specific spot in a 360° image as it turns. With a hotspot, we can connect to another 360° image or display additional information. This allows the feeling of walking from room to room, location to location, or outside to inside.
  • In addition to text, info boxes can contain YouTube videos or other dynamic content like rotating specials.
  • Directional audio can be played that appears to be coming from a single source or all through an entire 360° image.
    • Click to see and “hear” the fireworks on July 4th in Celebration Florida.
    (note: iDevices automatically turn off audio by default on incoming Internet links).
  • Interactive maps and floor plans can be used for navigation.
    Interactive real estate 360° tour

  • Still images can be used to create slideshows.
  • “See Inside” Roll-Over links allow viewers to see what’s behind or inside of something. This feature can be used to see what's inside a closet or cabinet, for example.
    Click on the link, close the logo graphic, and roll over a cabinet, closet, or the refrigerator.

Can the player content be updated or changed?

It’s very easy to update the images and operation of a player. We update the files that were changed and add them to the project file on the server. There is no downtime and the operation is seamless.

Who controls the player and files online?

Once the player is finished, we can run the player on our server for a yearly fee or upload it to your server and assist you with changes or fixes.

How will the player be linked on my site?

Once the player is complete we provide you with a simple link to your player that can be listed on your site or attached to a graphic. We can also create a banner that displays a moving 360° image as the link!

Can a player be found independently of a client website in Internet searches?

Yes! This is one of the most powerful aspects of our player. We can add keywords and text to your player that will allow it to be found independently of your website in online searches. With booking links, you’ll now have another web footprint working for you to generate new revenue.

Do you have to view the player on the Internet?

No. The entire player can be packaged and run off of a computer or mobile device without an Internet connection. Of course, any links to other websites would require a connection.

Can you view the player on an iPhone or Android device?

Yes. As a standard, the player we deliver will run on any browser on any desktop computer in Flash as well as most medium sized mobile devices in HTML5. As an option, we can also format your player to run on smaller screens for iPhones and Android devices.

Can I track how many people are viewing my player?

Yes. If you use Google Analytics, we can add your tracking code to the player files and links so you can see the exact traffic and revenue being generated by the player.

Will the player work in social media?

Yes. We can take individual 360° images and format them to play directly in the Facebook timeline. By posting these images, your social media team will have new dynamic content to share that will really get people’s attention. In addition, Facebook viewers can interact and book directly from the link!

Facebook post for resort with booking link in timeline.

Can Vistaramic assist with cross promotion and marketing?

Yes! The Vistaramic team has years of experience with golf and resort promotion, social media, SEO, and an understanding of the resort industry's unique marketing challenges.

Additional Vistaramic Links: