Momentum 360

May 11, 2020

How to Use Virtual Tours for Real Estate Marketing

How to Use Virtual Tours for Real Estate Marketing


Welcome back to another Momentum Monday! We hope you are all staying safe and healthy during these times. Today, we’re going to look at how to use virtual tours for real estate marketing.

If this is your first time looking into using virtual tours, then you want to make sure you are well versed on the fundamentals of virtual tours, as well as the process and effectiveness of them. 



A virtual tour is a cohesive collection of photographs that capture every part of a property. All of the photographs are compiled together digitally, resulting in a 360 degree view of the place. This is done using a specific camera and tripod called the Matterport: 3D Camera. There’s other types of cameras and equipment you can use, but Matterport is our partner and the best in the business when it comes to hardware and software.


matterport virtual tour partner


Through a virtual tour, you can essentially observe and interact with every part of a property digitally without having to visit the place in person.


Virtual tours are a highly effective marketing tool, gaining momentum and growing in popularity. With virtual tours, potential customers and clients can view properties without having to visit them in-person. According to Matterport, 89% of buyers across demographics increasingly look to web and mobile tools to make their buying decisions.


Virtual tours give marketers the ability to show off their properties in a more interactive, engaging, and transparent way than traditional forms of media like images, video, and text.

Here is an example of one of virtual tours of a real estate listing from our Real Estate Virtual Tour Portfolio.



If you’re in real estate, you definitely want to consider the benefits that virtual tours can provide to your business. With virtual tours, potential clients and customers can view your property remotely. This can help make the process of selling properties much quicker and easier. Through virtual tours, clients can view the entirety of a property, and come to a decision on whether they are interested in it or not without having to visit it in-person.

Are you sold on using virtual tours to market your business? If so, you want to first hire a trusted virtual tour photographer, specifically, a trusted Matterport Partner Photographer who is experienced and highly skilled using the Matterport: 3D Camera. You can do this by visiting the Matterport Contact Page. Of course, if interested, you can also look into using the Matterport: 3D Camera yourself and become your own photographer for your properties.


experiencing matterport virtual tours


Once you have a photographer, whether it’s an experienced pro or yourself, you want to schedule your property shoot date, along with the time and location. How you want to accomplish this is in your hands. We recommend giving the photographer access to the property beforehand, or you can meet them if you want to be present during the shoot. A property shoot typically takes about 1-2 hours depending on its size.


What’s Included in a Real Estate Virtual Tour?


Prior to the shoot, you want to go over with your photographer what the key aspects are that you want to be captured. This includes the amenities, features, images, videos, and several other important things about the property that you want to be linked out from the virtual tour. A virtual tour includes features called Mattertags. A mattertag is a digital label on an area of a room that, when interacted with, expands to reveal important details and media that you want users to know about from the property. These make your virtual tour more interactive and engaging for potential buyers.


Following the property shoot, your photographer will upload, edit, and publish the virtual tour. This takes about 24-48 hours to be completed. From here, all you need to do is review the tour and finalize everything featured within it. Once completed, you can market your property’s virtual tour on your website, on social media, in emails, etc. It’s entirely in your hands.


Best practices for marketing a virtual tour:

  • Text and email the link to potential buyers
  • Add the branded link to your listing or MLS
  • Upload the listing and virtual tour to your website
  • Post and boost the virtual tour on Facebook & Instagram

How to Use Virtual Tours for Real Estate Marketing


Virtual tours are not incredibly new or groundbreaking. However, now is the time to convert your content and marketing process to use the best technology and marketing techniques. You don’t want to be the realtor not using virtual tours to market your property.


For over 3 years now, Momentum has been offering virtual tours for many types of businesses with our sister company, Momentum 360. Our partnerships with Google, Matterport, SBDC, and other local real estate brokers has allowed us to become the best and most trusted virtual tour agency in Philadelphia.


Check out our portfolio or call/contact us to get a quote in minutes!


Phone: (215) 607-6482

Email: [email protected]


If you have any questions about how to use virtual tours for real estate marketing or other needs then call us, or comment below. Thanks for reading, and stay safe!


By Mac
November 18, 2019

How To Use A Virtual Tour?

 How To Use A Virtual Tour?

[6 min read]

Welcome back to another Momentum Monday!

 In this week’s blog, learn how to use a virtual tour and explore all of the full capabilities. Let’s dive in!


Types of Virtual Tour Cameras

Before we discuss how to use these virtual tours, we should first talk about the many different ways that they’re captured. Matterport, a virtual tour hosting platform, uses an exciting variety of different cameras! Now, depending on each camera, the virtual tour will look different.

We use Matterport as our virtual tour provider. They offer many different cameras, as well as a stellar hosting platform that allows us to post to Google and many other sites straight from our account!

Without Matterport, it would be a lot harder to shoot these tours. Matterport’s system makes shooting virtual tours very simple. Check out their superior cameras and virtual tour equipment on their website!


product ricothetaz1

This camera acts as an entry-level solution for 3rd party companies. At only $400, this is a perfect camera if you’re starting up your virtual tour agency. The Theta Z1 is perfect for shooting small spaces within 4-8% accuracy. This is not as accurate as some of our other cameras, but this one is perfect for beginners.


RICOH THETA Vproduct ricothetav

A step up from the Theta Z1, the Theta V offers 20-25 megapixels and impeccable outdoor lighting. Again, this is a solid beginner camera for those on a budget. Still around the $400 mark, the Theta V is still a solid option either way you slice it.


product insta360

The best camera for starting out in the virtual tour world. The INSTA360 not only offers the very best out of all the novice devices, but this is capable with more features and accuracy to get the perfect virtual tour for your clients. The camera also offers high resolution and capability, but only at small spaces…think less than 2,000 square feet.


Pro2 3D Cameraproduct pro2

The golden standard of virtual tours. This is the camera that Momentum 360 utilizes. The Pro2 utilizes a tripod, and comes with 4k capability as well as floor plans and the Matterpak. Starting at $3,395, there’s a reason this camera is priced accordingly. It also shoots within 1%, meaning it is the 2nd most accurate virtual tour camera on the market. If you’re a seasoned virtual tour photographer, you should consider picking up the Pro2.


Leica BLK360

product leica

This is the holy grail of virtual tours. If you thought the Pro2 was good, then wait until you hear about Leica. Starting at $18,000, yes you read that right, this camera shoots with 0.01% accuracy, making it the most accurate virtual tour camera in the world. It is not even close. The Leica is great for scanning large and outdoors spaces, as well as projects that require the high accuracy. If you’re an expert virtual tour provider shooting high-level virtual tours, then you might want to pick up the Lecia, but at a steep cost, so be aware.

Now that we’ve covered all the virtual tour cameras that Matterport offers, it’s time to dig deep into the experience and how to properly use virtual tours!


images 7

Desktop Virtual Tours

Using a virtual tour on a desktop is different than using it on a mobile device. It can seem pretty easy at first, but if you follow this guide it’ll make your experience much better!

  1. Click the Play Button

Capture 2

When your virtual tour loads, you’ll be prompted to the virtual tour’s name, along with an option to explore the 3D space. There’s a sleek background that previews the business as well. It’s a very nice touch by Matterport. When you’re ready to jump in, click the play button!

  1. Click “View Fullscreen”

Capture 4

As soon as the virtual tour loads, it’ll show a brief dollhouse view, then the view will zoom to the starting point of the tour. Try not to be overwhelmed, we’ll make it easier to view these tours. Since you’re on desktop, you have the option to view the entire tour in fullscreen. This is better than just viewing it by default, as you’re able to see all the neat features inside the tour that you may have missed if you didn’t press full screen. Click the “View Fullscreen” option on your bottom right.

  1. Click “View Floorplan”

Capture 7

So now you’re inside the property, but you don’t know if this is the true starting point, or better yet, the starting point that you want to start at! Click “View Floorplan”, this will allow you to get a birds-eye view of the entire place. You can truly see how large, or small, the building is from this view. It’s incredible that the cameras can map out the entire space like this!

  1. Click “View Dollhouse”


Taking this one step further, if you select “View Dollhouse”, you’ll be able to see a side-view of the property and how many floors there are. This is great if you work in the real estate or construction business. It provides tremendous insight into how the building looks, with width and height generally speaking. Whether you’re building a space or tearing it down, this view does a great job at showing you the whole place in its entirety.

  1. Get Familiar with Space

Capture 1

From this view, you’ll be able to figure out where exactly you want to start checking out the tour. Use your cursor to get familiar with the space and see all the neat features that this view provides. Drag your way to your desired spot and then simply click once to get back inside the property.

  1. Happy Exploring!

Capture 5

Finally, we’re here! Go crazy. This is when you can explore the entire place at your leisure. Now that you’re using the full screen view, it makes it so much easier to see the place as if you were actually there in person! It’s a fascinating feature that Matterport has.

Tap the screen to virtually walk-through the property and see everything that it has to offer. Using your two fingers on your cursor, you can actually zoom in on objects. Desktop’s zoom isn’t that impressive, it benefits more so in the mobile experience.


  1. Mattertags

Capture 6

Now if you go through the tour and notice these little dots on your screen, don’t be alarmed, they’re there for a reason. These are called “Mattertags.” Mattertags allow virtual tour users to add their tags to a property, to give more context to the viewer checking out their space.

A cool little feature of these mattertags is that you can embed YouTube videos and website URLs inside of them. So if you have any content that you want to show off, now is the time to use it! These mattertags somewhat help local SEO too, we just haven’t figured out how much yet.

Some interesting Matterport stats that we found with mattertags:

  • Online, Houses with Mattertags receive 40% more interest than houses without.
  • Viewers will spend 300% more time viewing a listing with a virtual tour than one without
  • Virtual Tours receive over 9 Million hits per day worldwide (2018) up from 4 Million in 2014
  1. Slideshow

Capture 3

Now if you don’t feel like clicking your cursor each virtually step you take, you can click the play button inside the tour that simply reads “play.” This will take you on a virtual tour …of the virtual tour.

Mind blown? Yep, us too.

images 8

Mobile Virtual Tours

When comparing virtual tour experiences, mobile virtual tours are more convenient than desktop. In our opinion, we make it a priority to make the mobile experience just as great as the desktop.


Because 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices. If our experience on mobile sucks, then we’ll be missing out on the majority of potential business!

From a consumer perspective, there are many ways to explore virtual tours to their full capability. Let’s check out the best way to view virtual tours on mobile devices.

  1. Click the Play Button

IMG 2492

Just like desktop, when you load the virtual tour, you’ll see a background image along with a play button to the business. It’ll also give a message saying, “Presented by (insert your virtual tour company). Very nice touch again by Matterport we must say. It makes virtual tour companies like us feel good when it says that it’s presented by Momentum 360, it makes the tour look more professional. Anyway, just like desktop, press the play button.

  1. Click “Open Highlights” 

IMG 2495

On mobile, you’ll already have a limited view, so make sure you take some time to check out the main points of the tour. You do this by clicking the ^ icon arrow on the bottom left. This will give a brief slideshow of the different rooms inside the virtual tour. By checking out these highlights, it makes using the virtual tour a lot easier on mobile. So get comfortable, grab a snack, and swipe through the different key elements on the virtual tour.

  1. Pick Starting Point

IMG 2496

From the highlights page, you can actually click on the image and start your tour from there. This is great because it creates a unique experience each and every time a consumer views a virtual tour. Not every view of a virtual tour will be the same. So once you take some time to familiarize yourself with the property, click on a room that interests you and start viewing it from there!

Here are a few more interest Matterport stats we found!

  • Hotel Virtual Tours increase online bookings by up to 85%
  • Virtual tours offers more features than any other Virtual Tour on the market !
  • Captured with a top of the line HD DSLR Camera and advanced post processing techniques.
  1. Happy Exploring!

IMG 2497 2

Just like the desktop view, it’s time to enjoy the virtual tour! Click everywhere and anywhere, go crazy. Personally, we like to click and follow a general path throughout the property, and then go into some of the small areas that the property has to offer. However, to his and her their own. So check out the virtual tour anyway you’d like!

  1. Mattertags

IMG 2498 1

Just like desktop, mobile also offers mattertags that give more insight into the property. These are pretty much the same as on desktop, so just click on the tags and see what pops up! If anything, the mattertags are more precise on where they’re pointing to. If the mattertag is trying to point out something small in particular, we believe it’s easier to view this on mobile. Again, these tags can include other links, videos, etc. The possibilities are endless, so make sure you check out all the tags inside of the virtual tour.

  1. Zoom

IMG 2499

Unlike desktop, mobile offers a better zoom capability for the entire tour. If you compare desktop to mobile, you’ll be able to zoom in much more on mobile than desktop. So if you’re using a virtual tour for your shop, make sure your camera can zoom in accordingly. Think about it, if you’re a retail store, why wouldn’t you want customers to check out absolutely every single one of your items? That’s the whole point of the tour in the first place!

So… Why Consider Getting a Virtual Tour From Us?

Momentum 360 has been the leading-virtual tour provider in Philadelphia since our inception. Why? Because we deliver a top-quality product at a reasonable price. We take pride in helping small-businesses rise and get more traction. We lived through the struggle that most business owners go through on a daily basis, that’s why we get along with them so well.

If you’re looking to grow your online presence with a quality virtual tour, look no further.

You can schedule a call with Sean or Mac and always get more information on our website!

Our owners Mac Frederick and Sean Boyle have over 20+ years of digital marketing experience and are ready to help take your business to the next level! Our team members have also worked at Google and Facebook before, so we have the most up-to-date knowledge in the business. All to help your business rank at the top of Google and kickstart your journey to be a future lead generation machine!

You can email us or check out our website  for more information!

We hope this blog informed you on Virtual Tours, what equipment to use, and How to Use Virtual Tours for your small business.

For more helpful content like this, you can follow our social pages!

If you have any questions or concerns, leave them in the comments below! From everyone at Momentum 360, thanks for the love and until next time, build Momentum!

By Mac
November 11, 2019

Virtual Tours for Small Businesses

Welcome back to another Momentum Monday Blog. In this week’s blog, you’ll learn more about Virtual Tours for Small Businesses.

Virtual Tours for Small Businesses video tutorial

Here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about Virtual Tours for Small Businesses?

  • What is a Virtual Tour?
  • How do Virtual Tours work?
  • What are common uses for Virtual Tours?
  • Will a Virtual Tour help my business rank higher on Google?
  • What are the main benefits for small businesses using Virtual Tours?
  • Why should my business get a virtual tour?

Are you a small business owner? If so, listen up as we’re going to explain how a Virtual Tour can help grow your business.

What’s a Virtual Tour?

Simply put, it’s a visual 3D representation of the inside of your business, allowing customers a 360° walk-through experience.  

Here are some Virtual Tour examples on our portfolio page. Click the tour you want to view then click the play button.

What are Common Uses for a Virtual Tour?

3D Virtual Experiences are most commonly used for brick-and-mortar or retail businesses, like restaurants or venues, to accurately and vividly showcase their internal commercial space to customers. 

  • Most businesses use virtual tours for the following reasons:
  • Showcase their beautiful interior space to potential customers
  • Add virtual content to their Google My Business 
  • Publish a 360° view to their Google Maps Page
  • Add to their website and social media
  • Outrank and outperform their competition 

These are very common and popular for restaurants as you can see this virtual tour of South Jazz & Kitchen in Philadelphia.

south jazz kitchen virtual tour

What are the main benefits for small businesses using Virtual Tours?

Virtual tours are still rather uncommon and unknown within the small business community. However, many businesses using Virtual Tours have realized a few of the main benefits, even to their bottom line. 

  • Ranking higher in Google local search results
  • Increasing visibility on their Google Page & Website
  • Developing trust and familiarity with potential customers
  • An overall increase in consumer demand and traffic
  • Increase in Customer Review & Rating (on Yelp & Google)

According to LCP 360, younger website visitors ages 18-34 are staying on the website 5-10x longer if they have a virtual tour experience. Also, according to Seekbeak, 50% of customers find Virtual Tours to be useful in their purchasing decisions.

virtual tour statistics


This brilliant piece of content allows potential prospects to virtually take a tour of your work space. Whether that’d be your brick and mortar store or a multiple-floor office building, viewers can “walk-through” your space and see what it has to offer! 

Other benefits include: 

  • Increased rankings on Google
  • More calls to your business
  • More visits to your website
  • Better customer reviews

As you can imagine, this is great for real estate. But what about all other niches in the small business world? Well, that’s what we wanted to find out. 

Case Study Example:

We started with restaurants in Philadelphia. The case study that we’ll discuss in this blog is none other than the great jazz bar, SOUTH, mentioned above. South Jazz & Kitchen was also highlighted in a video during our Small Business Saturday video series in Philly.

south virtual tour

We first completed their virtual tour in 2017, and they’ve been loving it ever since. To this day, SOUTH is still benefiting from the content and SEO this virtual tour offers. 

One of SOUTH’s problems at first was that they weren’t ranking for any prominent keywords such as “jazz bar philadelphia” or “jazz in philadelphia.” 

Since completion in January 2018, this virtual tour has accumulated the following reach and awareness (see screenshot below).

Total = 28,100+ Impressions

Visits = 23,100+ People

virtual tour small business case study

So now you have proof that both businesses and customers appreciate virtual tours, but does it help with SEO you might ask?

Will a Virtual Tour help my business rank higher on Google?

Many business owners ask us, ”How does having a virtual tour increase my rank in Google?” 

First off, great question! Secondly, SEO is very complex, but Local Search isn’t nearly as complex as trying to compete with companies all over the world.

Local SEO focuses on a few key ingredients that you can read in a previously written Monday Monday article, “Top 6 Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses”. 

To answer your question, we have witnessed these 3 key reasons that businesses rank 10-20% higher with a Google Virtual Tour on their Google Maps (Google My Business) listing in overall search visibility and traffic ….

You’re actively using and participating in what Google cares about

Google is trying to compete more with Facebook, Instagram, Yelp and countless others. By continually increasing their service offerings and product integrations they believe they can regain market share and ultimately make more money — therefore they want people using their updates product features.

Virtual Tours provide rich content to engage viewers

Google cares about showing customers helpful and relevant information, not only text-based, but also visually with images and video. The virtual tour feature has existed for over 6 years now but is only recently being featured and promoted by Google.

Get A Leg-Up on the Competition

The more businesses actively use all of Google’s products and feature the better. The feature is actively recognized on Google maps and is easy to embed via Google 360° imagery or Matterport software. The more robust your Google Maps listing, the more relevant and accurate the representation of your business is on Google.

You will, of course, need a completed and optimized Google My Business Page along with adding the Virtual Tour. If you need help just contact us via email or comment in the blog below!

[email protected]

Example & Case Study (continued) = South Jazz & Kitchen

As you can see from this Google search, SOUTH now ranks 1st for the phrase “jazz bar Philadelphia,” which gets over 500 searches every month! So, we were able to get SOUTH a potential monthly increase of 500+ customers, just from the virtual tour! 

virtual tour helps seo

For all this success, we have to thank our virtual tour partners at Matterport. Matterport is an all-inclusive virtual tour company that provides hosting and cameras to third-party companies like us. This platform allows us to embed keywords and truly help with local SEO. 

To strategically place these keywords inside of the virtual tours, we use what Matterport refers to as “mattertags.” These mattertags as seen above are neat little tools that guide tour viewers through each location. 

We utilize these mattertags by attaching prominent keywords all along the virtual tour to ensure Google’s algorithm will help it rank. For SOUTH’s tour, we included videos, articles, keywords, any content that we could fit in to add value. The great thing about mattertags is that it links out to websites! 

Not only did we implement a keyword strategy for their virtual tour, but a backlinking strategy to boot. We used these local SEO tactics that helped grow SOUTH’s tour. 

After we made these changes to their tour, we published everything to Google. Normally, it takes Google 24-48 hours to track this piece of content and then rank it. We were stunned to see that just after a few days, SOUTH was now ranking first for the keywords we put in it. We hadn’t done anything else for SOUTH in terms of SEO, so we pointed to the virtual tour as what helped us rank! Fast-forwarding to 2019, SOUTH still ranks first for a number of terms and keeps getting new business. 

So How do Virtual Tours work?

It’s honestly not that complicated, nor do we even have our clients worry about it. All they need to do is have their business ready and beautiful to be captured by our photography equipment. Depending on the size of your business, most projects only take 1-2 hours to shoot on average.

However, here is the process, just so you have an idea ….

  • Approve quote and project (15 minutes)
  • Schedule shoot date (5 minutes)
  • Prepare your business (1-2 hours)
  • Clean interior, swept, organized, prepped, no people.
  • Typically before or after business hours and with good lighting.
  • Photographer arrival & set-up (15 minutes)
  • Shoot the tour (1-2 hours)
  • Edit and Tag (1-2 hours)
  • Produce and publish the virtual tour (1-2)
  • Promote & market (ongoing)

virtual tour photographer

Essentially all you need to do as a business owner is approve the quote and contract, then have your business or location ready for capturing content, just as you would hiring any other professional photographer.

Please have your location or venue ready by having it cleaned and organized, just as you would with a professional event or photoshoot. The entire photography capturing process depends on the size of your location. Any commercial space typically only takes 1-2 hours based on the square footage. The time necessary for the shoot is negligible and dependent completely upon you being ready, and the size of your space.

To give you a time reference, as seen on the Matterport FAQ page, it takes a minimal amount of time to shoot.

On average, it takes about 38 minutes to scan a typical 2,000 square feet (186 meters squared) single-family home with the Matterport Pro2 3D Camera as defined by the Matterport Support Team.

Anything visible to the camera (360 degrees) will be visible once published for customers to see — so please keep that in mind.

After we shoot the venue, it typically takes 2x that time to edit, tag, optimize, and publish it online. If you want it published to Google it’s an extra fee, and we will need your login. The same goes for YouTube and your website. If you want it live and published to those, we will need those logins and access, plus another small fee as well. We recommend doing everything you can to get maximum exposure on the virtual tour!

Why should my business get a virtual tour?

Alright, the million-dollar question … “Why should my business get a virtual tour?”

To our team, and many photographers and marketers, the answer is simple: YOU NEED IT. You just need it. We would never pitch anything we don’t have and use ourselves, nor would we sell anything we don’t believe in wholeheartedly. 

Statistically speaking, 90% of your competition doesn’t have one, and 60% of which don’t even know it exists. 

Unless your business is online or never has customers inside (or is just downright unattractive), then we highly suggest a virtual tour. These valuable pieces of content will rank your business higher on Google, drive more website traffic, engage potential customers, and provide valuable visible context about your space.

We believe in our product so much, that if you don’t witness a 10% increase in traffic, impressions, or visibility, then we will refund your money! 

It just works, and it’s beautiful …. And to be candid, in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not that expensive (yet). So, before this product gets more competitive, give us a call, or fill out our Free Quote Calculator online.

why get a virtual tour

Thanks for reading!! 

Ever since our successful case study with SOUTH, we’ve moved on to other niches such as spas, treatment centers and many others! Our clients have loved our new spin-off of these virtual tours and the value we’re able to provide them. 

Momentum 360 is a full-scale virtual tour provider in Philadelphia. We also offer photography, videography, editing, drone, and digital marketing.

Our owners Mac Frederick and Sean Boyle have over 15+ years of digital marketing experience and are ready to help take your business to the next level! Our team members have also worked at Google and Facebook before, so we have the most up-to-date knowledge in the business. All to help your business rank at the top of Google and kickstart your journey to be a future lead generation machine! 

You can email us or check out our website for more information! 

We post our Momentum Monday and Small Business Saturday blog every week, so feel free to subscribe and make sure you’re up to date on the latest trends in the industry. 

If you have any questions or concerns, leave them in the comments below! From everyone at Momentum 360, thanks for the love and until next time, build Momentum! 

By Mac
September 11, 2017

360 Virtual Tours by Momentum Digital

Momentum Digital is now offering 360 Virtual Tours as a Google Street View Partner

Unless you’ve been living in seclusion for the past few years, you understand the emergence of virtual reality and the new avenues it has opened for business owners (I think a lot of people don’t know what it is and that’s where we come in – to educate) That’s where Google 360 Virtual Tours come in. Learn more about Momentum and our 360 Virtual Tours for Small Businesses in this Marketing Blog below!

Many industries from gaming, to real estate, and even retail have been impacted by this surge in demand for augmented reality. Static images alone will no longer suffice as businesses turn to dynamic, 360-degree panoramas in an attempt to attract customers. Google Street View was the first platform to really feature these all-encompassing panoramas. I’m sure most of you have seen the little circular arrow in the bottom left-hand corner of Google images and opened it up to view the outside of a business or restaurant. If you haven’t, click here to see an example of Street View.

Now with Google Business View, you can virtually see inside the business without leaving your couch. Imagine, if you will, owning a restaurant with unique decor, or a real estate agent showcasing a house with a newly remodeled kitchen. Now think about how much the user would benefit from being able to explore each corner and crevice at their own pace. Still, image photography just doesn’t cut it anymore. Static images don’t offer any continuity, are often taken from poor angles, and do not provide the customer with a true sense of space. The Google Trusted Photographers at Momentum Digital will bring your property to life with 360 Virtual Tours. In the next section, I will take you through the steps we take to shoot, edit, stitch and upload these stunning panoramas.

360 virtual tours

Equipment Needed

  1. Sturdy Tripod
  2. DSLR Camera – We Use: Canon 60D
  3. Panoramic Tripod Mount – We Use: Acratech Spherical Panoramic Head
  4. Fisheye Lens – We Use: Sigma 8mm f/3.5 EX DG
    *If you don’t have a fisheye lens, a wide-angle lens will suffice. However, you will have to rotate the camera 60 degrees per picture (6 total) instead of 90 degrees.
360 camera tripod

Shooting the Photos

The first step in shooting successful 360 virtual tours is mapping out your photos, and picturing uninterrupted walking paths that will provide the best user experience. This means no jumping through walls or anything like that. It’s normally smart to start with one panorama outside the premises, unless the business is located inside an office building and therefore would not provide any visual assistance to the user. Make sure the camera is on a two-second delay in order to avoid camera shake. When shooting in natural light, we always use the bracket function, or HDR, to ensure proper exposure.

This function takes three photos, which we later merge to achieve optimum exposure:

You’ll then rotate 90 degrees to the left and repeat the process (our panoramic tripod mount is specifically designed for shooting 360 virtual tours so it snaps into place in 90-degree increments). If you’re using a fisheye lens, you’ll have to take four photos to complete a full panorama. The number of photos you’ll need corresponds with the field of view your lens can capture.

After completing the first panorama, you’re ready to move to the next location. Remember to maintain clean walking paths. The number of panoramas you’ll need depends on a few factors. Most importantly you want 360 virtual tours to have the proper flow for when the user is “walking through” the location. That means no cutting off corners. Sometimes the client will simply want two or three panos to embed on their website, without linking them. In this case, we would just shoot the number of panos they specify.

Editing and Stitching

Import the panos into Adobe Lightroom. If you bracketed the photos, you’ll need to merge them here. You can do that by selecting the three pictures with different exposures by holding down Command (or Control on PC) and clicking the photos. Then at the top of your screen select Photo> Photo Merge> HDR. This should give you the optimal exposure. Export the images to a folder on your desktop, saving them under a name like “photo1/readytostitch.”

The best program we have found to stitch the individual photos together is a software called PTGui. You have to pay around $80 to download it, but it’s a necessary one time fee. The software will ask you to load images, so you’ll select the first four pictures in the catalog. Then select ‘Align Images’. The software should seamlessly combine the four images to create the panorama. Simply select ‘Create Panorama’ and save it as something like “pano1/readytoupload” in a new desktop folder separate from the last one you created for the Lightroom export.

Now we are ready to use the GoThru software to align the multiple panos and upload them to Google. It’s important to have a general sense of direction when shooting the panos because it will help immensely when you lay out the tour on GoThru.

Under the Constellations tab, select ‘Create New Tour’, enter the address and click ‘Upload Panoramas’ to access the folder on your desktop with the panos you just stitched.

You’ll then be taken to the screen pictured below. This is where you lay out and connect the panos to create the walking tour. This part can be a little frustrating, but it’s crucial for the upload.

(You have to figure this part of for yourselves. We can’t be giving away all our secrets!)

Connecting the panos in GoThru, allows the user the ability to “walk” from one point of view to another. The larger the property, the more difficult it will be to properly link the panos and avoid any undesired jumps. The final version that’s ready for upload to Google should look something like this:

Just hit the red button that says ‘Google’ and your 360 virtual tour will begin uploading to the company’s Google My Business page. It takes anywhere from 24-48 hours to show up, but the end result should look like this:

momentum 360

Customers can now virtually tour the facility, which provide a unique and customized experience. There’s no doubt that virtual and augmented reality are going to big players in the future. Momentum Digital is excited to bring this new and exciting feature to our current and future clients. Watch the video to check out our portfolio.

By Austin
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