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What is a virtual Tour?

A virtual tour lets you see a place on screen in a way that is most similar to actually experiencing it in real life. Virtual Tours can generally contain many different types of media and tools, such as photos, panoramas, videos and audio. While others might already consider a single photo slideshow or video a virtual tour, we consider a virtual tour to be based on a panorama with interactivity options. In our FAQs and tutorials we will therefore speak of a virtual tour whenever it incorporates panoramas and interactivity, while the term presentations refers to mere slideshows or videos.

Technically, a virtual tour is the transformation of a flat panorama image into a spherical format. The virtual tour allows the viewer to walk virtually through your scenery using his computer, TV or mobile phone. Within this virtual tour you can show panoramas, videos, photos, floor plans or maps and you can play different sounds depending on where your viewer looks (immersive audio). A special virtual tour format lets you see a section of the captured zone on your screen (like you would actually see it if you were looking in one direction) and you can tell the viewer to turn left, right, up or down, like you would do with your head.

This is the basic of what a virtual tour is. Of course you can do much more with these tours. You can actually walk virtually through a building by adding various panoramas that are interlinked, you can include additional info texts, interactive hotspots, special effects such as lens flare and even widgets. You can also choose to have your tour be auto-piloted, which means your user won’t have to interact but will rather be guided through the scenery as if it were a video (which he can always interrupt and start piloting himself).

How can you create a virtual tour and show it on your website? For a virtual tour you need a flat panorama, and for a flat panorama you need several photos that are merged to achieve a wide-angle image. Therefore, you start by taking various photos of the scenery you want to show. Then, you import these photos into 3DVista Stitcher and let the program stitch them together automatically. Lastly, you import the created panorama into 3DVista Virtual Tour Suite and – with just one click – transform the panorama into an immersive and spherical format. After that, your virtual tour is technically ready for being uploaded onto your website. You can of course edit or add extras to your virtual tour before uploading it. You can enhance the image, set paths to show a set of points of interest in a certain order and edit auto-play, rotation and other settings or add extras, such as hotspots or audio to make your tour more attractive. Preview your virtual tour instantly or upload it to where you want it.

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