360º Virtual Tours for Schools
How much money should you Budget
There are plenty of factors when considering how to budget for a 360 virtual tour for your school. There is no right answer, however, use this guide to determine a few key variables and you will be on the right track for your needs. You will see below that time, resource and skill will determine cost. The skills required for an excellent tour will be photography, post-production, design, tour building, UX/UI and school digital marketing are all key skills needed to build a 360 virtual tour for a school and the budget you allocate needs to reflect that need for skill.
- The time required to photograph or shoot will add to cost and the amount of time required to complete a shoot will depend on how many shots are needed, how many rooms are photographed and how many shots are needed to connect them all.
- The time that goes into editing the photography is an endless piece of string, however. For premium quality photography, the images will go through at least 5 different processes and softwares to achieve desired look. This can take many days or even weeks. Considerations of what needs to be achieved: Stitching, blending, light correction, white balance, colour correction and grading, HDRing, Photoshop edits to add or remove items in shot, denoise/pixel perfect and resizing and metadata/EXIF data additions. This is an extensive process requiring exceptional skills and with that can come a large expense.
- The time that goes into design and layout of a tour is a huge expense too that requires a skilled designer, not a photographer. the design of a tour makes a big difference in how your User Experiences (UX) the tour and what they feel about it, so ensure you’ve budgeted enough for decent design, just as you would with your website.
- The time that goes into a tour build and consideration as to how the users will engage with the tour (UX) but also the layout , User Interface (UI) and navigation. Consider that these are important factors, as you could have great imagery, but if the tour is not user friendly, it won’t convert, and was a waste of resources.
Camera type usually indicates quality of tour
- One-shot camera = cheapest tour cost – best use is for real estate or ‘quick use’ tours. Unless ‘as cheap as humanly possible’ is your only objective, we would not recommend a one-shot camera for a school tour. A tour built that uses a one-shot camera might cost about £30-£50 per room, however a lot of other variables need to be considered too.
- Specialist camera such as Matterport or GIraffe = mid-range tour cost. Image quality is high but post-production edits are limited and if using the software that comes with these cameras, design and UX/UI is also limited in its ability to be bespoke, hence why this is a mid-range virtual tour cost to budget for. You will get a great canvas, but limited on what you can do with that canvas. Tours usually cost in the ‘few thousand’ for this type of setup.
- Mirrorless or DSLR Camera = mid-to high tour cost. Image quality can be excellent if using a skilled editor. Maximum flexibility in post-production will allow for the best visual results. This setup will also be priced as a few thousand, likely higher than the above option.
Design and content
- The better the design, the better the virtual tour looks. It’s just like a website in that respect. Budget a percentage of your website cost – a good indicator is 30%-50% of your website cost.
- Content embeds should be immersive, useful and on-brand in your virtual tour and the budget should reflect. Designing how they look and behave should be a bespoke process for your tour and also take into consideration what users will want to look and and how they will engage with it. Having a tour builder or supplier who knows and understands schools is helpful and obviously will cost more.
What does this all mean?
Well, how long is that piece of string? In summary, a 360º virtual tour project budget should be ‘up there’ in your big spends for the year. Quality matters, design matters, the experience matters. Budget more than a prospectus, as much as a film and maybe even as much as a website. For all intents and purposes, a virtual tour is its own website, made with your prospective audience in mind. A more comprehensive document on choosing a provider can be found here.
“You get what you pay for…” . Website, video, prospectus are designed products for school’s digital marketing toolkit. Your tour needs to be of the same quality and budgeted for accordingly.Taralyn Cox, 360 Marketing Lab