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360-Degree Slideshows for Social Media

We’re always looking for different options to provide for our virtual tour customers. This week, we’ve been experimenting with the ability to host 360-degree video on YouTube and Facebook as an alternative or addition to a virtual tour. The concept? A curated selection of 360-degree images that can still be explored but in a video format instead of a virtual tour.

Now, to be clear, it is possible to film actual 360-degree video of a property. The reason not to? The photographer is always in the shot and, at least for real estate, the subject matter (a house or apartment) is typically not very animated. So the alternative is to use the 360-degree photos that we use in our virtual tours and create a slideshow. The interactivity comes from the user swiping around to look at the whole room, similar to a virtual tour, but without using hotspots to navigate. Here’s what we did. We took most of the photos from the virtual tour, for which we had already recorded a narrative, and basically show each photo for the duration of the narration. We could have gotten fancier, maybe cut to a few scenes where we talked about nearby parks and bus stop for example, but this was more about an experiment than a polished final result.

Possible Advantages of 360-Video

  1. View directly on Facebook or YouTube. All social media services want to keep users on their platform instead of linking elsewhere on the web. More eyes and more time means more ad views and more money. So it stands to reason that a video tour posted on Facebook will be more likely to be shown than a virtual tour link.
  2. A little easier for the computer-reluctant. You still need to click and drag around, unless you’re on a mobile and can use the built-in gyroscope, but you don’t need to click on hotspots to move room to room. A bit of a stretch to say that this is a real advantage.

Am I missing some advantages? Please let me know! In my opinion at least, I’m having a bit of trouble seeing this as a worthwhile alternative to a virtual tour. You lose the interactivity and are possibly stuck in a room longer than you would like to stay while you wait. We could somewhat cancel this by having a maximum 10-second per room slideshow, but there is also the risk that the video moves before the user is ready. The narration is easily achieved in our virtual tour anyway, and in fact we can even enable autopilot so the whole tour experience can be totally hands off. We just move the user’s camera around to correspond with the narration.

The main advantage would seem to be the social media marketing aspect. I would instead format this as a teaser video, select a few of the most exciting scenes, and use this to bring in traffic to more compelling content. 

Go ahead and compare the video above with a virtual tour of the same property below.

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Immersive 360-Degree Before-and-After Images

If you’ve been following our journey to make stand out, custom virtual tours, you have already seen how we can transform a location from day to night at the click of a button or have the scene magically transform to sunset even as the user is looking around.

Resizable Split Screen View – Ideal for Before and After

Today, we’re showing off a brand new way of showing the same location at two different points in time. Instead of shifting the entire scene, we are now able to use a split screen to view both stages at the same time in a split screen view. This is a really great way to show off “before and after” for a location. We use the example here of a home under construction, but this could easily be used to wow potential customer in landscaping, real estate staging, kitchen renovations, and so on. As the user moves around, the scene transforms from one stage to the next almost like magic.

Try it out for yourself in the example below – this could easily be embedded in your website or shared on social media.

Twin View – Direct Comparisons

A slight variation on this is when, instead of emphasizing the transformation, we want the user to be able to compare two things side by side in 360 degrees. Instead of split screen, where we have a continuous view split in half as above, we can also offer twin view. In twin view, both left and right are looking at the same part of the scene. So instead of seeing the stairs on the left and the fridge and kitchen on the right in the previous example, both views would be of the stairs under construction and completed.

Getting Started

One of the great things about our virtual tour platform is that we can do some amazing things in our virtual tours. If you have a project that you think would benefit from a split screen or twin view, we are happy to work with you to figure out how best to make your vision a (virtual) reality. Send us a message on our contact page and we will get back to you promptly!