360 vs. Video – How to best experience Israel

shai tours

Unlike what most people think, the skies aren’t closed. Covid-19 has made things interesting without a doubt but you could still easily hop on a plane and fly to Israel to tour it right now. However, most aren’t coming. Why? There are several main reasons and those include the fear of spending time in the confined space of an aircraft, the fear of moving through busy airport terminals, the knowledge that upon arrival you may be subjected to a quarantine period and more.

Realistically, most who even think of doing this aren’t aware of the fact that many sites have closed since the beginning of Covid-19 and while some have reopened, many are still closed or open with restrictions.

In this post I do not wish to debate coming vs. waiting. Instead, I wish to check some of the alternatives. You’ve all heard of Zoom right? This has become one of the most popular communication methods during the last few months. People even have family gatherings through Zoom (or other Video-Conferencing providers). Does it replace an actual meeting of loved ones? Absolutely not. It does, though, allow a continuation of communication that a simple phone call isn’t as effective at.

shai tours

No surprise that tourism tried and is trying that option as well. Numerous online/virtual tours started popping up using this exact tech. It’s simple enough right? Slap a virtual background of a site and start talking about it. Production costs are around 150 USD per year so you can charge very reasonable sums and since the Ministry of Tourism in Israel isn’t checking this, you don’t even have to be a licensed guide.

But why do it from home? Why not go out to the field and stream live from there? That would be a much better experience right? Until recently sites were closed or limited, we had quarantine issues in Israel and limited movement restrictions. Now though, it’s about to start. You’ll see more and more offers to watch a LIVE video streaming from a site. Yes, the costs are higher and the time differences are a pain but it’s heading that way.

shai tours

How would that look like? Well, a licensed guide (hopefully) will walk around holding their phone on selfie mode and talking while showing the site. That’s the basic option. The ones who invest into your experience will use serious cameras, or even have someone holding the camera for them. Think of a live Vlog if that helps. What they show you is what you’ll see, without all the editing.

Is that a great option? It’s not bad actually. It’s better than not seeing the sites at all right? But you’re limited, greatly, with that. You see what they show you ONLY. One of the best things about walking with a guide in the alleys of Jerusalem is that while they talk you turn this way or that and see what’s around you. That will not be possible.

The best explanation I’ve found so far is when I compare it to photography. You know how you take a picture of a really beautiful scenic spot and it never quite looks like the reality? That’s because you’re getting a very limited perspective through the lens. Compare a regular picture with a panoramic one or one taken through a wide lens. That’s what I am referring to. It’s that knowledge that gnaws at us that there is something more there that we can’t see.

Now that’s when a 360 Live-Streaming experience is about to blow the ball out of the park. Imagine that while the guide walks around you CAN tilt you “head” everywhere you wished and see everything available around you. You can choose what you wanted to see at any moment. Nothing compares to that option. If we go back to the same photography analogy than instead of getting a panoramic picture, you’ll get a panoramic picture that spread both from side to side but also up and down and never actually ends.

shai tours

The list of technical issues that we face as we start exploring this option is long and we’ll sort those out over time but boy the potential is incredible. We can now stream Live in 360 from anywhere in Israel. We can also stream at any time.

Imagine your group climbing at sunrise to Masada but you want the school at home or your family to experience this as well with you. Here you go. At the moment, though, you’re not coming. So what do we use this for?

Exactly for that. We can provide you with the best Israel experience available remotely when we use the 360 option. You sit at home, no longer worried about crowds, Covid-19, quarantine etc. We walk the land for you and you see it all on your phone, smart TV or VR-glasses, just choose. Either method will allow you to rotate the angle displayed at will and any user may see a different feed at the same time. No need to tell your guide to “turn right” or “tilt up” as you can choose what you’re looking at.

At the moment we are the first ones to do this, so check us out. You can find a lot more information on the subject when you visit our page. We are working on an even more incredible option and will share it with you once it’s available.

See you soon.

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