How to Make a VR App Using the Ricoh Theta & InstaVR

Our Head of Sales, Andrew Woodberry, will be speaking at the Ricoh Theta Unofficial Guide meet up at Stanford University on Tuesday, Feb 28, 6pm — 7:30pm. (Stanford campus, Tresidder bldg, Cypress Room North) To RSVP, email andrew at instavr.co.

The Ricoh Theta S is one of the most versatile and cost-effective 360 cameras on the market. For a wide range of InstaVR customers — from real estate agents to educators to marketers — it’s the perfect choice.

And with so many Ricoh Theta’s already in use, we wanted to put together a brief guide on how to go from Image/Video Capture -> Completed App using the Ricoh Theta + InstaVR.

(For more camera information, visit the Ricoh Theta Unofficial Guide at http://theta360.guide)

1. Sign Up for InstaVR (it’s Free!)

The first thing a VR enthusiast will have to do is sign up for an InstaVR account. It’s free and simple — just visit http://www.instavr.co

With a free account, you can quickly and easily author your first VR app. That 360 immersive app can then be published across a number of platforms, including iOS, Android, Google Cardboard and Gear VR.

2. Move Your Photos/Videos from Ricoh Theta S to InstaVR

InstaVR is a completely web-based solution. Our preferred upload format is JPEG & MP4. Luckily, those are the two capture formats of the Ricoh Theta S!

Once you’ve downloaded your images/videos from the Ricoh Theta S to your computer, identify the images/videos you’d like to use in your app and place them in a folder.

In the Author section of InstaVR, press the “Click to Add VR Contents” button. You can then drag-and-drop your folder of 360 images/videos, and start the upload process.

2. Author Your VR App

After your panoramas are uploaded and available in preview mode, you’ll want to author your VR Experience. There’s three main overlays you can add for your app users to interact with: Navigation, Hotspots, and Calls-to-Action.

+ Link- This is for adding Navigation between your 360 degree scenes. After adding the Navigation link within the Panorama, you select the subsequent panorama or video you’d like your app user to go to. These Navigation links are activated by either looking at them (headset) or clicking on them (WebVR).

+ Hotspot- A hotspot is a gaze-activated overlay on top of your 360 images or video. Hotspots can be still images, videos, audio narration or text.

+ Action- A call-to-action overlay utilizes an API between InstaVR and your phone. Gazing at a call-to-action icon can either initiate a phone call or open a web page on your mobile device.

3. Branding Your VR App

After you’ve authored your VR experience, you’re going to want to put the finishing touches on your app. This includes selecting an app icon, an app home screen, and (if a Pro customer) an app splash image or video.

4. Publishing Your VR App

The last step in app creation is publishing your app. For free users, you can create an in-house iOS or Android app, a Gear VR app, or a Google Cardboard app. For Pro & Enterprise users, we’ll also offer the option to publish to the iTunes or Google Play stores, publish to Web, and publish to HTC Vive.

All of the publishing platforms are essentially one-click. (Gear VR does require an .osig file and iTunes publication requires a certificate, but we walk clients through the process for obtaining those) And if you run into any issues, our Customer Support team is available via Live Chat 24 hrs/day, Monday through Friday. (US time)

That’s it! Your friends, family, colleagues, customers, and more are now able to experience the same images and videos you captured on your Ricoh camera. Go from media capture to app distribution in days, instead of weeks or months.

For more information on the Ricoh Theta S, visit the Unofficial Guide and for more information on InstaVR, visit our homepage.

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