Friday, October 1, 2010

How to: Photography for a Virtual Tour

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race and Schooner Days are soon upon us, so I thought I would start this blog with a short explanation of how I created the 360 x 180 virtual tour of the pilot house on The Spirit of Independence.
I set up my tripod with a 35mm digital camera, a 10.5mm lens and shot 3 individually bracketed photographs every 60 degrees capturing the entire 360 degree horizontal view; total of 18 photographs. Easy right? Then I pointed the camera straight up - my custom rig allows this - and shot 3 bracketed photographs for the zenith. Once those 21 images were complete, I had to handhold the camera and capture what was under the tripod, the nadir, for a grand total of 22 photographs.

Back in the studio, using an iMac and a variety of software programs including Adobe Photoshop, I digitally stitched the best exposed portions of all photographs together to create a full 360 x 180 interactive virtual tour. Controllers were added to the image so you can navigate 360 on the horizontal, or go 180 up and down to see the ceiling and floor. You can even pop-it-up to full screen for the best view, or click and hold with your mouse to drag the image in any direction, but don't spin yourself dizzy! :)

Check out my under construction website ViewVA360 to see The Spirit of Independence, Skipjack Nautical Wares, Rotunda at the University of Virginia and a farmhouse near Crozet, VA.