Yes you can create a virtual tour for free! You don’t need a server and you don’t even need to install any software! Here’s how to create free virtual tours with Veer Experience.
Creating virtual tours usually requires paid software, or a subscription-based website for virtual tours. As a result, they’ve been used primarily for business. With Veer Experience, you’ll be able to create virtual tours for free, allowing you to use them for fun or education or nonprofit uses.
How to create a free virtual tour
Here’s how to create a free virtual tour. (To be honest, it’s so easy that you can probably figure it out by yourself even without watching the video — so feel free to jump right in!) If you don’t have a 360 camera yet, you can use these practice files (for personal use only).
Step 1: From your Veer account*, click on Upload and select Interactive Experience.
*Creating an account is free here.
Step 2: Click on the + sign to upload your first 360 photo or “Scene” in Veer parlance:
While the first photo is loading click on Add Scene on the upper left of the editing screen to add more 360 photos:
Step 3: add hotspots or information cards or sounds by selecting one of those buttons on the left side of the editing screen and placing them in the photo.
Sounds can be used for narration or ambient sound and can be set to autoplay as soon as the viewer sees the scene.
Information cards can be used to create a popup link or photo or text to provide additional information.
Step 4: When you’re done adding hotspots, sounds, and cards, click on Done. On the following screen, give your tour a title and description. You can also choose the thumbnail by clicking on the thumbnail box, and choosing the scene and view that you want. Then click on Publish.
Now you can share your virtual tour by sending the URL to Facebook (Facebook will automatically generate a thumbnail) or email or text message, or clicking the share button and copying the iframe embed code for your website.
Here is the sample virtual tour I made in the tutorial:
How to edit your virtual tour
If you want to add, delete, or change scenes, you can do that. From your list of uploads on Veer, find the thumbnail for your virtual tour and click on the pencil on the upper right of the thumbnail. On the next screen, click on Edit Scenes and hotspots. This will bring you to the editing screen.
Advantages and disadvantages
As you saw from the demo, Veer’s virtual tour has common features for virtual tours such as hotspots, thumbnails to jump directly to any 360 photo, the option to change the heading / initial view, and the ability to be embedded on a website.
In addition, Veer added the ability to add sound clips for narration, as well as background music. You can also create popups with external links, such as links to your store or an Amazon affiliate link (do you see the sales potential? I do!). There’s also an option to create a slideshow where the 360 photo will automatically change after a duration that you specify. With the option for background music, it’s almost like a 360 video.
Veer Experience isn’t perfect. One of the limitations is the resolution. It allowed me to upload 16K photos but it’s showing them at a lower resolution (I estimate 8K but I’ll find out). There’s also no batch uploading, so you need to upload photos one by one. Fortunately, photos can be uploaded concurrently (without having to wait for previous photos to finish uploading). Another disadvantage is that the tour seems to take a while to load. Some users also report that on their smartphone browser, Veer virtual tours crash.
Nonetheless, the fact that it’s free is a big deal. Besides making virtual tours available to anyone, it’s also a relief for 360 professionals, who don’t have to worry about paying for a virtual tour forever to maintain it for their client.
What’s the catch?
One question is whether Veer Experience is really free. In the past, there have been companies that offered free virtual tours but then the beta period ended and they started charging as much as $40 per month. I asked Veer staff repeatedly and they assured me again and again that the basic functions I showed in the video are “free forever.” In the future, there will be advanced options as paid upgrades, and they’re hoping you’ll like Veer Experience enough that you’d pay for them, but you can stick with the free basic version if that’s all you need.
BTW, for full disclosure, Veer hired me to create the video tutorial and they’re tracking referrals in the links here. To be fair, I did work hard to make it! See if you can spot what time I was working on this tutorial. 🙂 And in case you’re wondering, no company paid me anything for our trip to Hawaii. Thanks for using the links to support 360 Rumors so that I can do more tests and reviews for you.