College adds campus virtual tour to website

Amber GillilandSenior Reporter

A new feature on the Pierce College website gives viewers a virtual tour of the Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom campuses.

The idea for the virtual tours came from Director of Marketing and Communication, Brian Benedetti, who wanted a better system for viewing the college online. He said he liked the style that Google Maps uses and wanted to create something similar.

To bring this idea to fruition, Benedetti worked with a team that included District Outreach Manager Jessica Freier and the company Lights Camera Pixels, LLC.

Lights Camera Pixels, LLC, also called LCP360, specializes in virtual marketing, and one of its photographers took numerous photos at each campus using a fisheye lens. These photos were then pieced together to create a seamless 360-degree view of the campus.

Five pop-ups also appear throughout the tours and are indicated by the Pierce logo. Hovering over these pop-ups shows information about that area of the college.

The project took about three months to complete, according to Freier, and the video was released at the start of fall quarter. All together, the tours cost $7,650 to produce.

During the production process, the team had to overcome a few hurdles, Freier said.

Due to cost constraints, only 10 locations on each campus were able to be included in the tours. Because the groundwork is already complete, each location added in the future will cost $100 to complete.

It was up to the team to decide which locations would be chosen. To do this, Benedetti says he asked around to see what people on campus thought.

“It was tough because we didn’t want to leave anyone out,” Benedetti said.

Some of the locations includes the theater, library, dining commons, computer center in the College Center and a classroom inside the Allied Arts and Health Building. The team hopes to eventually add more locations to the tour.

Another problem that arose was taking the photos. The team needed to find locations and times when there weren’t large numbers of people walking by, but they still wanted some individuals in the shots to show that the campus is attended.

“We didn’t want it to be completely barren because that’s creepy,” Benedetti said.

Timing the shots just right also complicated the project because people who were moving too quickly would cause the shots to be blurry.

The faces of people in the tour photos were blurred due to a policy of LCP360. Benedetti said he also would’ve asked for the faces to be blurred because written permission would need to be obtained from each individual who walked by.

The tours can be found on multiple pages on the Pierce website. They’re listed on the maps and directions pages as well as the new and returning students, Running Start and international students pages.

Freier said the tours will be helpful for incoming and current students alike.

“My hope is that when they’re at home browsing around our website, that they’ll stumble onto the tour and it will just make them feel that much more comfortable,” Freier said.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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College adds campus virtual tour to website

by Amber Gilliland time to read: 2 min
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