Explorers Final Post



  • What is the goal of your project?


The goal of the project was to provide the VR user with increased presence and immersive experience when touring a location at UW-Madison. Many international and out-of-state students may find it difficult to visit UW-Madison in person due to many factors. With this in mind, we decided to create a personalized tour of campus so anyone who is interested in experiencing the environment can do so in an accessible manner. There is no need for expensive HMDs, Google Cardboard and a mobile phone would suffice. Any alumni and prospective student will be fascinated at the feeling of being on campus during a normal winter semester in Madison.


  • As a Group
    • Shot 360 videos and 360 photos at 30 different locations on the campus.
    • Exploratory analysis and testing of 360 Fly
    • Decided the scope of the project and proposed ideas to fulfill the goal of the project
    • Follow up with Campus Relations Team
  • Ekta and Mushahid
    • Edited videos in order to merge the two spheres in the raw 360 videos captured using Ricoh theta using Theta UVC Blender
    • Improved the quality of videos by adding metadata and using Adobe Premiere Pro.
    • Wrote scripts providing information about each place on the campus and recorded the audio using audio recorder borrowed from library.
    • Integrated text and audio in all the 360 videos using Adobe Premiere Pro
    • Stitched various videos together like in CS department, Memorial Union etc
    • Tested the edited videos in Oculus Rift.
    • Created presentation for project demo.
  • Ivan
    • Made edited videos compatible to Youtube 360
    • Added videos to YouTube and made accessible to the public.
    • Constructed and modified the Google Tour Builder, making it easy for users to see a Google Map of all the 360 video locations.


  • Describe the operation of your final project. What does it do and how does it work?
    • Our final project includes ~30 videos and ~20 photos of various hotspots around the UW campus. After editing the videos with campus narrations and text (wherever required), the videos provide the user with a detailed insight of campus and the freedom to observe the captured environment. The user can select a location on the map from interactive UI or click on next button to experience that particular location
  • How well did your project meet your original project description and goals?
    • Our project exactly met the original project description and met mostly all the goals. Only thing it didn’t meet as we had thought initially was that a tour guide would be speaking in front of the camera, due to shut down from campus relations team. But we had a fallback plan set already. We recorded and integrated audio in 360 videos.
  • As a team, describe what are your feelings about your project? Are you happy, content, frustrated, etc.?
    • We are pretty much happy with our project. We not only met the requirements of the project but also exceeded the expectations. Like
      • Google cardboard as another distribution system apart from Oculus Rift. This became possible by making videos compatible and uploading them to Youtube.

Note: The cardboard option appears on the videos when watched in phone.

      • An interactive UI like google map on which user can select a particular location.
      • Integrating text in 360 videos which was a challenge as well. Proper editing and care needed since it stretched and compressed based on the location on the sphere.


Problems encountered

  • What were the largest hurdles you encountered in your project and how did you overcome these obstacles?
    • Adding text: It required a lot of testing and editing since 360 video is on a sphere and the text stretched or compressed based on the location on the sphere( in Chazen Museum or Engineering Drive videos)
    • Improving the quality of the videos: Quality of the videos captured through Ricoh Theta camera isn’t that great. We improved it a bit by adding metadata and editing them in Adobe Premiere Pro but still it is not upto the mark.
    • Shut down from campus relations team: We didn’t get a tour guide and had to go back to our fall back plan. We recorded the audio and integrated it in 360 videos using Adobe Premiere Pro.
    • Snow Time: It required a lot of determination and effort to capture videos at approximately 30 locations during snow. It took us around 7 hours from 9am- 4pm continuously to cover all the locations.
    • Acquiring the right Camera: We couldn’t capture 360 video for initial couple of weeks due to unavailability of the right camera. Videos captured in 360fly were actually 240 degree videos, hence they were not compatible with Oculus.

Next Step4

  • Add tour guide by taking permission from Campus relations and the upper hierarchy
  • Add other distribution systems like Facebook 360 and Samsung Gear
  • Integrate Google Street view and let user navigate through campus and let users select videos available at certain location
  • Add departmental videos with department head talking to incoming students
  • Present the project as a prototype to Campus Relations Team

Video of the Project in Action

Note: Use ricoh theta app  to view the 360 photos- https://theta360.com/en/support/download/