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Visitors can explore the U before setting foot on campus with new 360-degree campus tour video.

By Annalisa Purser, communications specialist, University Marketing and Communications

In July, the University of Utah debuted its 360-degree campus tour video, which has been viewed nearly 25,000 times. The technology takes 360-degree images to a new level – 360-degree videos allow viewers to see left, right, up down and behind the camera, and when viewed on a mobile device, the videos interact with viewers by moving as they move.

“We heard so many stories about people who were sold on the University of Utah once they came to visit,” said Jeff Bagley, creative director for University Marketing and Communications. “We wanted to use this technology to provide a way for people to experience campus before making the trip to visit in person.”

While the technology has been around for a few years, universities began using it about a year ago, and the U premiered its first 360-degree video during ESPN Game Day in October 2015. The U is among the first to use the technology to create a virtual tour and to incorporate dialogue, Bagley said.

Originally, the U used six cameras to create the videos, but recently, the video team upgraded to using two 235-degree cameras to capture footage that is then stitched together in video-editing software. While the new format provides a more immersive and interesting experience for viewers, it presents new challenges for producers.

“There is no ‘behind the camera’ from a directing perspective,” Bagley said. “You can’t set up lights, you can’t have a boom operator, you can’t direct the talent from behind the camera.”

Videographer Andy Brimhall and his crew hid behind pillars, bowling balls or become extras when there was no place to hide.

“I’m probably in every shot,” Brimhall said.

*If you’re reading this on a desktop, pull out your phone or tablet and open this video on your mobile device now because the video simply can’t be viewed the same way on a desktop. My favorite way to watch is to sit in a swivel chair and watch the scene in the video spin as I spin in my chair. Enjoy!