3D Virtual Tours Vs Video Tours & 360 Tours:

Virtual tours vs video & 360 tours. Picture this – you’ve seen a virtual tour. You think it could work well for your business or property, so you approach a virtual tour specialist about setting up your own. 

Turns out that what you saw is totally different to the virtual tour you have. Now you’ve inadvertently paid for something that doesn’t match up with your expectations. 

Far from ideal, right?

With virtual tours, you’ve got three main choices: a 3D virtual tour, a 360 virtual tour or a video tour. They might look like they mean the same thing, however that’s not the case. Could you confidently say which of the three would be best for you?

As the UK’s 3D virtual tour experts, we want to help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the right type of tour, even if that means working with a different provider.  

This article aims to give an in-depth look at virtual tours vs video & 360 tours. We’re providing you with a fail-safe guide highlighting the key differences between these innovative and interactive forms of marketing. 

Our goal is to give you an understanding of the pros and cons of each type of tour, so that you can make the right decision, 100% of the time. 

Let’s take a look.

3D Virtual Tours

3D virtual tours, often called ‘Matterport tours’ or a ‘digital twin’, are digital copies of an existing space. They’re made using specialist camera equipment that simultaneously takes 360 panoramic photos and infrared 3D scans of a room. 

These are then seamlessly woven together, creating a flawless 3D model of the property that can be easily explored on any smart device.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, ‘this sounds very technical and very expensive.’ But bear with us. Recently, huge leaps in the technological world have turned this seemingly intimidating property marketing tool into something entirely affordable. 

Here’s an example of a 3D virtual tour we created: 

More and more businesses are turning to 3D virtual tours as they realise they’re more cost-effective than they first thought.

Here’s a clear and concise breakdown of the pros and cons of a 3D virtual tour.

Pros: 

  • A more comprehensive viewVisitors to your 3D virtual tour want a closer look at your property or business. Show them exactly how your space connects together using a ‘god’s eye’, or ‘bird’s eye’, view of the space.
  • Interactive data-pointsData points, data points, data points. They’re the ultimate feature for highlighting unique details in your space. They can contain different media, including photos, music, videos and more.
  • Easy to add to websites & shareUsing cloud-based software to create 3D virtual tours makes adding them to your website effortless. It also makes them easily shareable via email, whatsapp and other messenger services. 
  • Floor plans & CAD ready outputsThe detail that a 3D virtual tour provides makes collaboration with an architect or interior designer easier than you’d think possible. Accurate, schematic floor plans can be imported directly into CAD software like archiCAD and Revit, saving you valuable time.

Cons:

  • Hosting FeesWith great pros, brings some small cons. The cloud-based nature of 3D virtual tours means they must be hosted on a server. This means some additional fees. However, depending on the size of the space, you could be looking at paying just £15 – £35 per year, with many providers including hosting for the first 12 months.
  • Size limitsUnfortunately, size does matter with a 3D virtual tour. Because each 3D scan position captures so much data, there’s a limit to the number of scans we can take before a 3D virtual tour can get slightly unwieldy. Luckily, we have plenty of ways to combat this issue, but it’s still worth considering.
  • Direct SunlightIssues can arise when 3D scanning a space that’s in direct sunlight. The infrared rays in sunlight can result in partial or incomplete scans. Our team is well-used to negating this, however.

360 Tours

From 3D virtual tours, to 360 tours. Similar in name and similar in nature – but with some notable differences. 

360 tours still provide an ‘active’ experience to users. They allow us to freely explore a space, moving from position to position to give viewers an in-depth look at the space. 

So how is it different to a 3D virtual tour? 360 tours are created by carefully photographing a space using a DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens or a specialist 360 camera. These images are then stitched together to create a fully comprehensive and interactive 360 tour.

virtual_tour_vs_video_360_camera

360 virtual tours can be created using a DSLR or specialist 360 cameras like the one above

Again, here are the pros and cons of a 360 tour in black and white for you to consider.

Pros: 

  • Tailored solution – 360 tours are extremely versatile. Because they’re assembled using photos, 360 tours can be easily customised to your exact specifications. You can include things like drone photography, background music and more prominent client branding to really set your 360 tour apart. 
  • Image quality – Whilst 3D virtual tours require a lot of specialist equipment and software, a 360 tour just needs a high-quality camera. We use the latest DSLR camera to capture high-resolution images, creating a clean, and accurate, representation of your space.
  • No size limits – Remember we said size was an issue with 3D virtual tours? Not the case with 360 tours. 360 tours are the best option for showcasing larger spaces. They’re perfect for spaces like commercial warehouses and airport hangers that might be too large to capture using a 3D virtual tour.

Cons: 

  • Varying quality – This can be a big one. Even if you have perfect image quality, using a lower quality software to put the 360 tours together can produce poor results. This means it’s crucial that you shop around to ensure you’re working with a top-tier 360 virtual tour provider.
  • A less comprehensive view – By less comprehensive, we mean 360 virtual tours lack detail compared to a 3D virtual tour. Because 360 tours don’t capture spatial data, that means we can’t produce interactive floor plans or dollhouse views of the space.
  • Issues with sharing – Embedding a 360 virtual tour on your website means using a plugin, such as JAVA or Flash. The drawback with this is that you won’t be able to share the tour itself – you’ll have to share a link to the entire page on your website. This does limit how shareable the tour itself actually is.

Video Tours

And here we come to our final type of property marketing: the video tour. 

We can all picture what’s meant by a video tour, but what exactly sets it apart from a 3D tour and a 360 virtual tour? 

Well, it’s a lot more traditional and straightforward than the other options. A video tour uses simple videography techniques to film a walkthrough of a space. It’s a solid option for an individual or business dipping their toe into the world of virtual and video tours for the first time.

Here’s an example of a video tour of Paris’s famous Louvre Museum:

Alright, that’s enough background info – pros and cons list number three coming right up.

Pros:

  • A tailored view – No one knows your space better than you. Use your knowledge of the space to plan the tour and help a professional videographer capture the best features of the space to create an accurate, yet flattering, final product. 
  • Show your personality – Video tours help you to show what you’re all about. Give users a sense of the ‘vibe’ of your business or property by using music, voice over or visual effects, for example. 
  • Spread the word quickly and efficiently – Familiar with video hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo? Course you are. Uploading your video tour to such platforms is so easy and will give it more exposure to a wider audience. Another Thanks to video hosting platforms like YouTube & Vimeo, uploading your video tour  bonus – no additional hosting fees. Winner.

Cons:

  • Passive’ content – Passive, in this context, means that users can’t interact with the content. Unlike 3D and 360 virtual tours, a video tour is exactly that – it’s a piece of video. This means that you won’t be able to add any fancy features to encourage users to engage with the tour. 
  • You might get lost in the noise – As ever, with every pro, there’s often a pesky con. The world of video content is enormous. Just think how much content there is on a platform like YouTube. Over 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Almost hard to believe, right? That figure helps beg the question: ‘how can I make my video tour stand-out from the crowd?’ It’ll be an uphill struggle, that’s for sure. 

Well, I guess that’s everything. Your guide to choosing the right form of tour has come to a close. We hope you’ve learned more about the benefits of the different options: virtual tours vs video & 360 tours 

If you’re learning towards a 3D virtual tour as the best solution for your property or business our experts are on hand to help answer any questions.

Click here to contact us now.

Or to learn more about 3D virtual tour pricing click here.

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