With the advent of the internet in Real Estate came the virtual tour. It seemed like overnight, virtual tour companies sprouted up to provide a virtual experience of being in the actual home. Many of these companies used software to create a panoramic or 360 degree views of properties. Most still use panning and zooming of stills with background music that are little more than slideshows providing additional pictures than the MLS. The end result was an experience for the end user that was more beneficial and entertaining than standard still photographs.
Its a wonder that video tours never really caught on back then. Video has been around a lot longer and seems more practical than the virtual tour experience. For one there is little distortion in video compared to emulated virtual tours. After viewing a virtual tour, it may still be difficult to get an idea of room sizes and distances since the perspective is never accurate. With video you typically see an accurate portrayal of the subject with a more accurate perspective. Distance and space is easier to discern with video and the end result is a more accurate rendering of your subject.
With video you can demonstrate mechanical features of appliances, windows, cabinets and other unique features a home may posses that you can not capture with still photography.
Video tours are easier than ever to share with video sharing sites like Youtube.com, Social Network sites like Facebook and real estate centric websites like Realtor.com all showcasing videos of homes.
With all the benefits that video provides over traditional virtual tours one would think that video tours would have replaced virtual tours a while back. However, one factor still remains and that is the time and cost of production. Video tours compared to virtual tours, will take 3 to 4 hours to produce from shooting to editing to full production on the web, and requires the use of specialized video editing software. A virtual tour can be shot and uploaded online in less than 30 minutes, by virtually anyone knowledgeable in taking digital photographs and uploading them. A typical virtual tour can cost $100 to produce, a video tour about $500. So for most the virtual tour will likely remain, but for those that can the video tour should be preferred.