We’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions to tell you everything you want and need to know about 3D Virtual Tours. If you need an answer, it’s probably right here! Click on a question below to see the answer.
About 3D Virtual Tours
What is a Virtual Tour?
A virtual tour is a simulated first-person view of an environment, usually indoors. They allow your potential clients and customers to view and engage an immersive, high resolution and photorealistic walkthrough of your property or space.
360° tours are composed of a sequence of “flat” panorama images linked together via a web interface to allow the end-user to jump to different positions in the space.
3D tours are the next evolution in virtual walkthroughs, allowing the end-user to smoothly navigate through a fully 3D environment, resulting in a more natural and realistic experience.
Why should we get one?
3D virtual tours are fast becoming a mainstream solution in an array of industries including residential property, commercial property, education, retail, food/drink industry, construction, hospitality, automotive, asset management, entertainment venues, function spaces, health/fitness, education, travel & tourism and many more.
Ultimately, they provide potential clients and customers with the ability to explore your space as if they were right there walking through it.
Immersive 3D environments allow people to tour your property from anywhere in the world, at any time, on any device.
Not only are they highly engaging, but thanks to huge leaps in technological innovation they can be surprisingly affordable! Most businesses see a positive ROI within a matter of just a few days or weeks.
By allowing your website visitors to explore your space in 3D, you can drastically reduce your bounce rate, which is a major factor in search engine optimisation (SEO). This also allows you to reduce the amount of time wasted in giving personalised on-site tours to unqualified leads who could have discovered much sooner that it wasn’t right for them.
Additionally, a good quality virtual tour can help you to stand out from the competition by staying ahead of the curve. The ability to instantly and conveniently explore a space in immersive 3D could be the difference between a qualified lead or a website bounce.
How does it work?
There are 3 main steps to getting your own virtual tour. First, we scan and photograph your space. Second, we process the captures and produce the virtual tour. Lastly, you embed the tour to your website or mobile app ready for use. You can also link people directly to the virtual tour (say, from social media).
Unlike traditional 3D virtual tours, our camera equipment doesn’t just take pictures. In addition to high-resolution 4k images, our Matterport Pro2 cameras use sensors to scan and produce a 3D “mesh” of the surrounding environment than can even be exported as .xyz or .obj for further editing.
These images and mesh are then cleverly combined and stitched together using Matterport’s proprietary AI and machine learning platform to form a fully immersive and interactive 3D environment.
Can you also capture outdoor spaces?
3D virtual tours are created by cleverly combining a 3D “mesh” with 360° photographic imagery. Unfortunately, direct sunlight can interfere with the sensors used to generate the 3D mesh.
While we do not officially support outdoor 3D tours and results cannot be guaranteed we have had great success in scanning gardens, courtyards and patios just after sunrise and early evening.
Our cameras can, however, capture any outdoor environment in full 360° 4K high-resolution. The images produced are spherical “panorama-style” images that allow viewers to see in all directions.
While the absence of 3D mesh means that users cannot “walk around”, capturing a series of external 360° images means that viewers don’t necessarily miss out on experiencing the outdoors.
What's the difference between a 360° tour and a 3D tour?
360° photos are created by stitching together a number of still 2D images to form an uninterrupted panoramic “loop”, giving the impression of standing within a room and viewing a 3D environment. While viewing a 360° photo, you cannot “walk around” the environment.
Traditional 360° virtual tours are typically created by manually capturing, editing and stitching together hundreds of 2D images; commonly taken with a DSLR camera mounted on a rotor or high-end 360 camera.
The visual quality of each 360° photo can be very high and each one can undergo post-production to increase the visual appeal.
However, these tours usually have very limited navigation capabilities for the end-user and provide a rather awkward or clunky user experience.
Also, the manual nature of these tours requires almost all elements to be processed and linked together by a skilled person, rather than a computer, meaning that it can be extremely slow and expensive to produce.
They generally work best for those who consider extreme high-definition visuals and post-production to be more important than the quality of the end-user experience and the time/cost involved.
3D tours, however, not only allow you to “walk around” and explore from different angles in the room but the visual representation is truly 3D, providing a much more realistic experience. They are the next evolution from pure 360° virtual tours.
Matterport is the industry leader for 3D virtual tours. With a number of proprietary innovations such as the “dolls house” view, they provide arguably the best end-user experience available on the market today.
Their cutting-edge camera technology allows for almost effortless high-quality 3D scanning and 4k visual capture.
Additionally, their powerful AI and machine learning capabilities reduce the need for human input; speeding up the overall turnaround time to as little as a few hours, rather than days or weeks for a traditional 360° tour.
They generally work best for those that want to provide viewers with:
(a) an industry-leading user experience that is realistic, smooth and intuitive or
(b) a faster turnaround time or more affordable package.
Perhaps best of all, Matterport 3D virtual tours can be created at a fraction of the cost of traditional manually generated 360° tours, and with a better user experience to boot.
How much does it cost?
Every 3D Virtual Tour provider prices their services differently but there can be large variations depending on the type of 3D tour you require.
Traditional 360 Tour
As you would expect, pricing can vary but you can typically expect to pay between £100 to £150 + VAT for each 360° photo; meaning a 4 bedroom house (approx 15x 360° locations) could cost in the region of £1500 to £2000 +VAT.
You will also need to pay a developer to install it to your server and may also incur costs due to the additional bandwidth and resources required to run the tour.
Matterport 3D Tour
Our pricing also varies depending on the space and size. You can typically expect to pay just £199 for a 1-2 bedroom property, £249 for a 3-4 bedroom property or £299 for a 5-8 bedroom property.
We typically charge between £299 to £499 for retail spaces below 2,500 square feet.
A larger space such as a car showroom, music venue or gym/leisure centre could cost between £499 to £799
For large chain hotels we charge £950 for a standard package including public spaces and a selection of available bedroom types, conference areas and other facilities.
Hosting is charged per property/venue at £9.99 per month or £99.99 paid annually. Hosting fees only apply for active tours (ie live and visible to the public).
Please note, these prices serve only as an indication. For a quote, please get in touch.
Which industries are they used in?
3D virtual tours are a perfect fit for many industries.
- Wedding Venues
- Hotels & Resorts
- Gyms & Leisure Centres
- Retail & Shopping Centres
- Pubs & Restaurants
- Entertainment Venues
- Salons & Beauty
- Car Showrooms
- Staff Onboarding/Training
- Serviced Offices
- Serviced Accommodation
- Commercial Property
- HMO Operators
- Estate Agents
- Property Developers
- Letting Agents
- Asset Management
Other Useful Applications
- Schools, Colleges & Universities
- Museums & Libraries
- Tourism & Public Spaces
- Computer Gaming
What features are available in a 3D virtual tour?
As you would expect the primary functionality of a 3D tour is the ability to digitally explore a space through a connected device such as a phone or tablet.
As a trusted Matterport Service Partner we provide the following features:
- Immersive 3D walkthroughs
- Interactive 3D “doll house” view
- Virtual Reality enablement
- Photographic floorplan generation
- Rich media hot spots
- Google Street View setup
- Highlights/favourites reel
- Alternative room layouts (via 360° photo highlights)
- On-demand MP4 video tour generation
- On-demand 360° photo generation
- “Embed anywhere” capability
- Usage analytics
- Schematic floorplan generation
- Industry-standard OBJ / XYZ exports
- Developer API
Will it come with the "Doll House" view?
Yes. All our 3D Virtual tours come with the “doll house” view as standard where feasible (which is most of the time).
If you are planning to use the 3D dollhouse view for very large open spaces such as indoor gymnasiums, empty warehouses or large commercial office spaces then there may be a challenge. Please speak to us for more information.
If you do not have a very large open space, you will probably be fine. Again, if you are worried, just contact us. We don’t bite!
Note: The doll house view can be turned off if you do not wish to use it.
Does it work in Virtual Reality?
Yes. See below for specifics and technical info.
Can I add hotspots to describe what viewers are seeing?
Yes! If you would like to include additional information or rich media in your virtual tour we can attach this via “hotspots” to any item within the 3D environment.
For example, hotels may wish to add clickable links to the booking page for each room type.
We can also embed videos, PDF files, images or simple text descriptions.
Can I showcase the best rooms or highlight key areas?
Yes! All tours come with a built in highlights reel, allowing viewers to easily navigate through important “bookmarked” zones.
Can I demonstrate alternative room layouts?
Yes. By using the highlight reel you can include additional 360° images to demonstrate the various alternative layouts of your meeting, function or conference rooms.
Is it compatible with Google Street View?
Yes! All Glimpse virtual tours are 100% compatible with Google Street View.
Can you provide floorplans?
Our 3D Virtual Tours come with the photographic floorplan view as standard.
Schematic Floor Plans are also available in PDF and PNG formats.
Floor Plans are calculated using Gross Internal Area (GIA) by default. GIA measures to the internal face of walls. This may or may not conform to standards within certain regions or industries.
Please note: Unfortunately, we don’t support Schematic Floor Plan creation for spaces larger than 40,000 square feet (3,700 square meters).
Can I use the 3D tour in CAD software like Revit® or RECAP™️?
Yes, you can!
Our 3D virtual tours (powered by Matterport) can be easily exported into industry-standard OBJ files containing both the 3D mesh and textures from your space.
If you are using your 3D data for modelling, you can also retrieve a coloured point cloud generated from your 2D and 3D data.
Click here to download some example meshes and point clouds from three different spaces.
Can we generate marketing collateral?
Yes. We can generate MP4 walkthrough videos and 360° photo stills on-demand – perfect collateral for your digital campaigning.
Which browsers/devices are compatible?
The Matterport 3D Showcase used to display your virtual tour will work on any browser that supports WebGL, which is most browsers. WebGL is the modern standard for 3D content on the web.
This includes Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, Samsung Browser, Microsoft Edge, and yes, even Internet Explorer!
Can I host my 3D tour on my own web server?
No, and for most people that wouldn’t be the best solution either.
Many traditional 360 Virtual tours require you to upload files to your own webserver.
Not only would this require regular server and/or software updates but it could also cause potentially dangerous security vulnerabilities or “backdoor” access to sensitive customer data.
Also, it would almost certainly result in additional hidden costs both in the initial installation and in the additional bandwidth required to run something so resource-intensive.
By hosting your virtual tour in a fully managed and de-centralised cloud environment, you passively benefit from frequent server performance and security updates, efficient deployment and better support.
How do I display it on my website / mobile app?
Our 3D virtual tours (powered by Matterport) are hosted in the cloud and embedded into your website or mobile app via a responsive iframe, the same as you would embed a YouTube video.
It is as simple as copy & paste!
What equipment do you use?
We use Matterport Pro2 3D Cameras as standard – the highest spec camera currently offered by Matterport; the industry leaders in 3D virtual tours.
The Matterport Pro2 camera produces detailed 3D Data and Stunning 4K HDR Visuals
What equipment do I need to view in VR?
You need three things to use Matterport VR:
- Virtual reality headset
- Matterport VR app
To view with the Matterport App:
- Gear VR – Download from the Oculus app. Insert phone into the Gear VR if you do not have the Oculus app.
- Cardboard (Android) – Download from the Google Play Store.
- Cardboard (iOS) – Download from the App Store.
To view through WebVR
- Chrome web browser, version 58 or higher. Type chrome://version in search bar to see your version.
- Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer. Find your current Android version.
- Android 5.0 and 6.0 require Google VR Services from the Play Store. Not necessary for Android 7.0 or higher.
- Support for WebVR on iOS is coming soon.
To view via Virtual Reality Headset
Matterport supports the following headsets:
We recommend the Daydream View or Gear VR for the best experience, but Google Cardboard works fine too.
What commercial 3D assets can you provide?
As a Matterport Service Partner, we are able to provide our customers with a set of commercial 3D assets for import into third-party programs. This pack contains:
- Color point cloud (.xyz)
- Reflected ceiling plan image (.jpg and .pdf)
- High resolution floor plan image (.jpg and .pdf)
- OBJ file of the 3D mesh (.obj)
Ceiling plan and floor plan images contain a scale legend.
Point cloud and OBJ scale: 1 unit = 1 meter.
Please note: 3D data is accurate to within 1% of reality.
This bundle is ideal is for:
- Architects and engineers for as-built designs
- Construction professionals for documentation and turnover packages
Is there an API available for further development?
Yes. Matterport has a developer program for third-party developers. You can learn more about this here.
Getting a Virtual Tour
How do I book a 3D Virtual Tour?
Easy! Just get in touch with us and tell us about your space. We will get back to you with a quote and we can arrange a time to visit your space for the scan.
What areas do you cover?
We are based in Birmingham but are available to service any region in England, Wales or Scotland. Travel costs outside of the West Midlands are charged at 40p per mile.
International clients are welcome to get in touch. We will always endeavour to find a cost-effective means of service.
What are the requirements/limitations?
We while we will always endeavour to meet our clients’ needs, there are some things we are unable to guarantee due to technical limitations.
Largescale Commercial Property over 40,000 square feet
We cannot guarantee the feasibility of creating large scale 3D tours for spaces over 40,000 square feet.
Large Outdoor Spaces
We do not officially support outdoor 3D tours and therefore results cannot be guaranteed, however, where outdoor capture is a preferred aspect of a primarily indoor shoot, we will do our best to make it work!
We have had some success in scanning gardens, courtyards and patios when there is no direct sunlight (such as at dawn or dusk).
What preparation is needed?
Please bear in mind that good preparation is essential to a great quality 3D Virtual Tour. If the camera can see it, everybody can see it!
This means that you will need to remove or hide anything sensitive, personal or confidential before we scan.
Also, it goes without saying but we strongly recommend making sure that your space is clean, neat and tidy beforehand in order to give the best impression to your potential customers. We will provide a complete checklist before the day of the scan so you have time to prepare.
How long does it take?
The short answer? Not very long. At least not as long as you might expect.
Naturally, the total scan time depends on the size of your space.
We can scan a small room/cafe/corner shop within about 5-10 minutes. Small buildings and spaces can take an hour or two. Medium-sized spaces like gyms and retail stores can take 3-4 hours. Larger spaces like hotels and venues can take about 5-6 hours. Huge locations like 100+ desk commercial office spaces and distribution warehouses can take 8+ hours.
As a general rule, it typically takes us about 60 seconds per capture. A 4 bedroom house will require approx 30-60 captures so we’ll need to be there for about an hour or so.
If you’d like a more accurate estimate, please get in touch.
Using & Promoting a 3D Tour
Can you help us install it to our website?
Yes. Installing your 3D virtual tour to your website is as simple as copy and paste.
We will provide all the responsive code you need. Simply add it into the section of your page where you wish for it to appear and viola, appear it shall!
Customised website development and implementation services are also available upon request. Please speak to us for more information.
Where are you based?
We are based in the heart of Birmingham City Centre in the iconic Alpha Tower. Why not get in touch and arrange a time to pop in and meet us over coffee?
Why should I choose you?
Customers have more power and access to information than ever before, making it harder than ever before to stand out from the competition. Due to this, providing positive customer experiences is crucial.
As a team of skilled and experienced entrepreneurs and professionals, we understand the power of leveraging cutting edge technology to provide first-class customer experiences.
Everything we do is focused on providing the best product and service to you, the customer, so that you can, in turn, provide the best service to your customers.
How do you keep costs so low?
Many people who are familiar with more traditional 3D Virtual Tours ask us how we are able to keep costs so low without compromising on service or quality.
Having worked in marketing and digital for over two decades, we recognise the fundamental importance of leveraging the latest technology to deliver high-quality services at scale.
By utilising cutting edge automated AI-driven technology instead of traditional human-driven methods we are able to increase efficiency and significantly reduce human resource costs without compromising on quality or service.
This economy of scale enables us to pass on those savings to you, the customer.
Our Happy Clients Include:
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