Multimedia Workshop 



Oct 25, 2000

Ask The Guru


QuickTime or IPIX for Virtual Tours?

Q: I was wondering if you could provide any professional advice as to the pros and cons of Quick Time & IPIX. I found a little bit of helpful info on your site, but I was wondering if anyone there could recommend one over the other (and explain why). My company is about to invest $20,000+ to create a virtual tour (an outside firm is going to create it for us), but we can't decide if we should use IPIX or Quick Time as the plug-in.

Rachel R

A: These are very similar products, but they have different pros and cons. I would recommend searching the web for reviews of the products, but I would sum up the differences as:



  • Wide variety of authoring tool options
  • Supports objects and panoramas
  • Variety of compression options
  • A single file can contain multiple panoramas (not necessarily good for web use)
  • Can be created using "regular" camera lenses
  • No licensing fees.
  • Can use either wide angle lens or fish-eye lens to create nodes

While it's a proprietary technology, other developers support it. Using a digital camera can produce acceptable results (though you'll want to use a wide angle lens adapter)


  • Only just added support cubic projections (so now you can see the ceiling and floor) BUT, QuickTime 5, which supports this, is only in Preview Release, and Mac only at the moment
  • While QuickTime is a great technology, not everyone has it, and QuickTime is a larger download than IPIX.




  • See the ceiling and floor!
  • Designed to work with fisheye lenses; only two pictures needed to create panorama!
  • Plug-in is a smaller download.


  • Licensing fee required per node
  • Prioprietary technology that is not widely supported by other developers
  • Using a digital camera with a fish-eye lens (only two pictures!) produces a lower resolution image - though it will be acceptable for most web use
  • matching the two halves of a spherical image can be more difficult than matching multiple images than overlap (but you only have one 'join' to fix!)

When it comes down to it, the big difference is in the capture, authoring tools, licensing fee, and the spherical projection. I might consider what else you are going to do with the images (if anything.) For example, if you might want to print them, then you'll want as high a resolution as possible, you might want to go with film, a wide angle lens, and one of the QuickTime stiching tools so that you capture several images for a scene rather then just two. But again, that's extra time and processing compared to IPIX.

If you're having a third party produce the work, then you should get a quote for both, and then make your decision.


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