Google Tour Creator: 5 Tips for a Successful Tour

The world of AR and VR is exploding in education, and everyday life.

More and more, we’re seeing VR and AR exhibitions in museum experiences, trade expos and even school field trips. I’ve done workshops on ‘Google Expeditions’ for general classroom teachers and interest is booming. Since expeditions are run on student’s own mobile devices, costs are minimal and with 1000 + expeditions and counting, they allow teachers to take their students anywhere in the world with the push of a few buttons.

Enter Tour Creator

Expeditions (Seen above) is usually the first step in which educators and people experience these trips, but Google’s Tour Creator allows students and teachers to create their own trip which can be shared with the world. After buying a 360 degree theta camera for Christmas, I did this trial project while in Singapore which works with expeditions and can be used to build a trip of a recently visited destination or could also be used with existing free to use photospheres to research an upcoming excursion with your class as a alternate project to Tour Builder, JS timelines or Google Lit trips.

You can drag 360 spheres into your project, or upload from street view.
Editing descriptions, points of interest

Tips for Building your Tour:

1.) Make sure to have good image quality. After transferring the image from the camera to my mobile device, I did color corrections and lightened before I transferred them to my computer. If you’re shooting at night, adjust the brightness before shooting or your sphere will appear grainy.

2.) Use a Tripod. If you have your camera close to the ground, it will take up the majority of your shot. (Which may of interest if you’re shooting an insect colony) I have a small travel tripod with a phone clamp which I mounted on posts and fences which gives a propped up perspective.

3.) Avoid Parralax The seam where the two spheres merge together is the parralax, and if there is a lot of quick movements along this seam, the scene can be distorted. Try to have the two camera lenses squarely focused on your primary subjects.

4.) Be Patient and Watchful Not always wanting to be in the shot, I’ll set up my camera and post up a few meters away, ready to pull the trigger. Waiting for for 3-5 minutes will ensure that I can get a shot full or devoid of people or full of them. Sometimes you’ll get a surprise subject!

5.) Leave Your Ego Out Unless you’re making this for your parents or extended family, try to take most spheres without you in them. In the case of the Singapore video, we did incorporate ourselves into the Singapore Zoo sphere, but if you’re in too many, viewers will be critiquing you and questioning you as subjects rather than the overall contextual scene you wanted to share.

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