If you want to make money with 360 photos, one way to create additional value for your clients is by building virtual tours, not just 360 photos. Virtual tours are more attractive for potential customers and are a better way of showcasing the location than unconnected 360 photos. In this post, I’ll show you a fast and easy way to create virtual tours, even if you’ve never shot with a 360 camera before.
Creating virtual tours can be easy or difficult, and it can be expensive or cheap, depending on the features you want and the software that you use. One way to create virtual tours quickly, easily, and at low cost is to use Kuula, a web-based 360 photo sharing platform that now includes features for creating virtual tours. Let’s create a virtual tour of Radiator Springs in Cars Land, at Disney’s California Adventure. Here is what the end result will look like:
Believe it or not, it’s quite simple to create this virtual tour. You can follow along the tutorial and create your own virtual tour by downloading these sample photos.
Here is the tutorial:
Here are the steps:
1. Create an account an Kuula.co here. The basic account is free, and the basic account will let you create a virtual tour but not share it.
2. Take 360 photos. For purposes of the tutorial, just downloading these sample photos. If you don’t have a 360 camera yet, here are some 360 cameras to consider:
– For low cost, get the Samsung Gear 360 ($70; Photo: 8.5, Video: 7.8; Usability: 7.9). It has pretty good photo quality albeit without manual controls. The main issue is the limited compatibility — it works only with Samsung S6 and above. But here is a workaround to use it for 360 photos (not 360 videos) with almost any phone.
– For an easy, hassle-free 360 camera, get the Ricoh Theta SC ($199; Photo: 8.3, Video: 6.4; Usability: 8.3). It stitches photos in-camera in-camera, and the stitching is among the best for 360 cameras. The main issues are the lower photo resolution and the below average video resolution.
– For high quality photos (at reasonable cost), get the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere ($299 at Amazon or around $225 at Gearbest; Photo: 8.8; Video: 8.3; Usability: 8.5). It has great image quality for photos and is somewhat easy to use, although it has some bugs from time to time, especially with new firmware.
– For high quality photos with a hassle-free 360 camera, get the Insta360 ONE ($299 at Amazon or sometimes discounted at Gearbest; Photo: 8.8, Video: 8.5; Usability: 8.8). Its photos are as detailed as the Xiaomi and in addition, it adds the ability to shoot and stitch Adobe DNG Raw 360 photos. The downside is that when using it in wireless mode, you won’t see a live preview.
3. Upload the 360 photos to Kuula after you login. For Pro accounts, you can do a batch upload.
4. Add the 360 photos to a collection. If you use the batch upload in Step 3, you can also add them all to the collection in the same step. In either case, if you want to do a very simple virtual tour, you can stop here. The photos in the collection will appear as thumbnails below each photo, and viewers will be able to jump to any of those photos by clicking on the thumbnails.
5. Create links to each 360 photo by adding hotspots. Hotspots can also add text, photos, or videos (even 360 videos). For videos, you simply have to paste the URL from YouTube or Vimeo.
6. Share the virtual tour. You can do this by sharing the URL, as I did above, or you can share it on Facebook or Twitter, or embed the virtual tour in your website.
That’s it! Congratulations on building your virtual tour! If you’d like to add more photos to the tour, you can use the other photos in the tutorial folder. Here is a map to help you put the hotspots in the correct places.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below! Thank you very much!
Affiliate Links Disclosure: Thank you for using the affiliate links for the cameras above to support 360 Rumors at no additional cost to you so I can do more tutorials and reviews. For full disclosure, I was compensated by Kuula for my time to shoot and edit this video tutorial. However, I don’t receive any commissions from any subscriptions to their service.