Virtual Tours

So you have a new venture and you’re looking to promote it. You want powerful visuals to go on your website, use in pamphlets, maybe a catalog. Cell phone pictures simply isn’t going to cut it.

Brian Zinchuk Publishing specializes in getting those shots, the ones you can take to your client and say,” See? This is what I was talking about.”

And you can do it simply by pulling out your iPhone or iPad and showing them.

One of  my specialties is virtual tours. You may have seen these when looking at realty websites. How can you use this for your business?

A virtual tour is more than just a picture. It is typically made up of 360 degree panoramas of various scenes, with several pop-up detail images to show off certain features. How is this useful beyond the cool factor?

You can whip out your iPhone or iPad in the middle of a conversation and show your client exactly what you’re talking about. Maybe there’s a certain feature on your skid packages, or the layout of a hotel room. Perhaps you want to show the client the thought that went into designing your drilling rig. These tours allow you do to all that. All they need is a wireless internet connection.

Putting together one of these virtual tours is not at all easy. It’s not as simple as swinging your iPhone around. A special $1,000 tripod head and L-bracket system is used to ensure the camera is positioned exactly. It’s millimetre-accurate precision photography, all manually set and focused. If the camera is out half an inch, it won’t work out well.

Each scene is made up of 18 to 27 photos, 12 or 16 megapixels each, which are then merged in Photoshop. It takes a high end computer half an hour just to chomp on the data, making a file that is so big, it pushes the limits of what Photoshop will handle.

This is then taken into special virtual tour software where it is specially tailored for the client. Individual still frames are then inserted as pop-ups.

The final version are provided to the client on thumb drive or via FTP.

Here are some examples (click on the company name to be taken to the virtual tour):

United Centrifuge

This is the most complex virtual tour I have done to date. It has by far the most scenes and pop-up detail images.  United Centrifuge is an oilfield services company based in Weyburn that specializes in drilling rig centrifuges. Compiling this tour involved visits to three different drilling rigs over four days plus a visit to the shop. There were over 30 hours of travel and photography, and nearly 700 km travel involved with this project.

Trimount Developments

This is a virtual tour of a duplex in the Estevan Dominion Heights subdivision. This is a good example of a real estate type virtual tour, where one room leads to another as if you are walking through a house.

Captive Oilfield Rentals

Captive Oilfield Rentals is a new business run by an established player in the market. They provided rental equipment for one of the most prominent research projects in Canada, the Aquistore project. It was very important for them to be able to show off their offerings being used on this project. This tour showed off their equipment being used on this major project, a true feather in their cap. Watch for the grey tank farm, manifold, and fire extinguishers.

A new feature I am now offering is a video slideshow. Since I was able to be on site while the second tank farm was being put together, I was able to make a time-lapse video of its assembly.

Canadian Advanced ESP

This is actually the second revision for this project.  The first tour was prepared for the Calgary Global Petroleum Show in June. It was meant to run on a laptop or a large monitor or TV hooked up to a laptop. The three scenes showed the inside of a horizontal pumping system (HPS) skid package, their test bench facility (unique to the area), and their spooling area.

Several months later they asked for an additional tour to be done of a dual horizontal pumping system skid package. This was done from three different viewpoints to show different angles and features. These three viewpoints were added to the initial tour, creating a combined tour that showed a large portion of their business. Numerous detail pop-ups were provided throughout.

Western Star Inn & Suites

This new hotel chain operating in southeast Saskatchewan was looking for a way to highlight their facilities. Hotels have opened in Carlyle and Redvers, and will soon open in Esterhazy and Stoughton. This tour allows you to see the lobby and front desk, breakfast area, and three different styles of rooms.

You can find how they incorporated it on their website here.

Betts Drilling

This was my first shot at a virtual tour. It’s of Betts Drilling Rig 1 working on its first hole. There are three views: the drilling floor, the doghouse, and the roof of the doghouse. Each allows you to scroll around and zoom in or out. I love the view from the roof of the doghouse. I only dropped one flash while climbing up there.

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