Innovate

Trident Global Imaging: The Next Generation of Virtual Tours


Written By: Scott Costello

Combining extensive experience in imaging production with a natural artistic curiosity, Trident Global Imaging is setting out to provide compelling, all-encompassing virtual tours for local businesses across Alachua County and beyond.

The brainchild of co-founders David Ulloa and Dee McHenry, TGI specializes in virtual panoramic tours for everything from small local businesses to underwater caves.

“We reveal things to tell the story of your location,” Ulloa said. “We aim for customers to enjoy a wraparound experience of the establishment.”

The way TGI achieves that is by connecting 360-degree spherical images into an online virtual tour experience using the latest innovations in High Dynamic Range, or HDR, photography. TGI’s interactive virtual tours are commonly misconceived as videos, but are in fact a series of still images viewed and controlled through an online virtual player that allows businesses to showcase every little detail in the highest resolution possible.

“People love to explore still images. It is fascinating that I can set a mood through images, then allow the viewer to choose what to look at and keep that mood fluid throughout the tour,” Ulloa said.

TGI’s beginnings stem from Ulloa’s work as a technical diver and cameraman for film, television and video productions for over 20 years. Ulloa set out to shoot underwater virtual imaging tours as a means to promote oceanic conservation efforts and share information about the underwater cave world. Online spherical imaging was the best possible way to take people into that world within the comfort of their homes.

McHenry, whose background is in corporate business management and development, had one day hoped to work in the film production industry while incorporating her passion for the outdoors and adventure. After meeting Ulloa on an expedition in 2008, the two began collaborating together.

While devising new techniques for underwater virtual tours, McHenry and Ulloa learned about Google’s new Business Photos Program that expanded upon Google Maps Street View images by taking viewers inside businesses through spherical imagery. Ulloa became certified as a Google Business Photo Trusted Independent Photographer, and the pair launched TGI in February 2013.

TGI’s Pano Views are used by Google to showcase the interior of brick-and-mortar businesses through the multiple avenues that Google provides. These tours are meticulous in their detail and require significant staging techniques to ensure that “the detail is as fascinating as possible,” according to Ulloa.

The benefit of Pano View through Google is that it creates a distinguished portrait of a business while providing cost-effective marketing and advertising for clients.

This is important considering many small business owners aren’t aware of the benefits of technological advertising. Ulloa points out two particular types of businesses that would benefit from TGI’s Pano Views and virtual tours.

“It is really a new form of window shopping. We are best suited for businesses that create an experience inside or outside, and businesses that rely on word of mouth,” Ulloa said.

Perhaps the most intriguing of TGI’s services expands on the Google Pano View and allows businesses to create custom virtual tour experiences. When generating Google business photos, TGI has to follow a precise system (sphere locations and spacing being the major requirements). TGI also offers businesses a customizable approach that allows more creativity and flexibility in how a business wants its interior to look and how it wants to market itself to customers and stand out among competitors.

“Custom virtual tours allow the business to layer in numerous marketing bells and whistles,” McHenry said. This includes video add-ons, sound, enlarged images, and other elements that “create a rich media experience that resonates, is aesthetically pleasing and draws the viewer in.”

For Ulloa, whose film and television production is bolstered by his psychology major from the University of Texas, it goes beyond advertising. Virtual tours are an artistic way to tell the story of a business.

McHenry believes that TGI is working toward supporting businesses and interacting with the community through their love of photography. Ulloa says that that love has its benefits.

“It is such a rewarding feeling to help augment a business that is ultimately giving back to its customers.”

To experience TGI’s work firsthand, visit www.tridentglobalimaging.com and click on the “Virtual Tours” section.

Aqua Tours

With Ulloa and McHenry’s passion for underwater projects, TGI also offers Aqua Tours of underwater caves, sunken warships and other large environments. These projects are massive undertakings and can require up to six weeks of production time depending on the locations.

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