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Frequently Asked Questions.

What exactly is a 4pi "interactive, high-resolution, fully spherical experience"? What practical use does it have for my business?

How long does it take you to produce a 4pi spin?

What does the equipment look like?

What is the smallest physical space you can map or photograph?
What about moving objects?

How much bandwidth do 4pi spins consume? Do they need anything special on the server side? If the world loves my 4pi spins, will it bring my web server to its knees?

 

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What exactly is a 4pi "interactive, high-resolution, fully spherical experience"? What practical use does it have for my business?

Let’s start with spherical. 4pi spins capture the entire environment -- every direction at once. Our viewers let you look in every direction and navigate the image as if you were there.

4pi images are very high resolution (up to billions of pixels). This makes the experience realistic, puts the environment in the best possible light, and lets you zoom in to see the fine details.

4pi spins are inherently interactive. The experience of looking around in an image is a natural, intuitive way to experience an environment. When we add layers of location-based information through hotspots and link in multimedia it gets even better. We put the user in complete control to explore however they like and at their own pace. Video and photographs are powerful, but the experience is passive. 4pi spins are active and engaging.

In practical terms, 4pi spins give you:

Wow! Factor

Get noticed.
The internet presents us all with information overload. A 4pi spin will grab your audience’s attention, keep it, and make them want to see more. If a picture is worth a thousand words...

Trust

4pi spins don’t hide anything.
If your customer is making a major purchase on-line (for example, booking a vacation package) it is a struggle to convince them with text, photos, and video alone. A 4pi experience will give them an unparalleled sense of what they are purchasing, allow them to explore, get informed, and get excited.

Context

Just like being there.
A 4pi spin puts a huge amount of information into context. The best part is that context is the place, itself. Moving through the space puts the information exactly where it belongs. Your audience can look at items, learn about them, and make purchases inside the virtual tour. How cool is that?!

 

 


How long does it take to you to produce a 4pi spin?

A typical project (6-12 spins) will involve 1-2 days of setup and shooting and 1 day of post-production. We can have a basic project up and running on the web in about a week. Projects with lots of customization take a little longer and we turn them around in 2-3 weeks.

 


What does the equipment look like?

 

4pi uses a combination of professional camera equipment (which should look familiar), specialized professional camera mounts (which looks a little unusual), and equipment we design and build ourselves (some of which looks a little bizarre but gets the job done). The photo below shows our most simple 4pi capture platform.

To get the best possible results, we use the best of the best...

    • Canon Professional Digital SLR cameras
    • Sigma lenses
    • Manfrotto tripods and mounts
    • Apple computers

Like our software, if our hardware does not do exactly what we need it to do, we will modify it or build from scratch.

 

4pi small rig

 

     


What is the smallest physical space you can map or photograph?

Our smallest 4pi rig is about the size of a motorcycle helmet. So, the simple answer is we can capture anything you could put your head inside. Shooting a space like the interior of a small car is not a problem.


What about moving objects?

Moving objects create a dynamic element in a scene which can be very compelling. The people, cars, and other moving objects in the spins featured in the gallery were captured in motion, not posed. In most cases we can capture the moving objects effectively in our standard workflow. In exceptional cases, we can use modified hardware and techniques to capture the environment as it was experienced.

The 4pi spin on the right shows some fun with motion and multiple exposures.


Granville Island Market Unicycle

 


How much bandwidth do 4pi spins consume?

We can adjust the size of a 4pi spin to find the right balance between download time and image quality. Typically, a 4pi spin is about the same size as a few seconds of internet video.


Do they need anything special on the server side?

Not at all. 4pi spins work from any web hosting platform.

If the world loves my 4pi spins, will it bring my web server to its knees??

This is the problem everyone wishes they had ...until they actually have it. The response to any media on the internet is unpredictable. 4pi spins are relatively low bandwidth compared to video. When we set you up with 4pi content, we work with you to estimate demand so you can adjust your hosting if necessary. We plan for contingencies, can manage hosting for you, or recommend reliable content management partners to make sure that you do not have problems with too much, or too little bandwidth.