360º panorama’s that you can zoom into:
32,000 pixel wide 360º
3D like 360 photography and video is one of the most immersive visual experiences and is quickly becoming the standard for showcasing property of all types. From real estate to corporate aircraft, its as close to being there as you can get. An added feature of 360, is the ability to zoom into the scenery. This is particularly useful for a subject matter that has a lot of detail like this 1868 opera hall in Pulaski, Tennessee. Aside from the visual experience, it is useful in planing the restoration, and in this case, viewing the weather damage that is eroding the roof of the 32 foot domed gallery.
Most 360º photography systems are shot at a fixed short focal length (usually a 8mm fish-eye lens). This looks fine at first glance, but try to zoom into the scenery, and it quickly becomes blurry. For shots demanding attention to detail, I use a Gigapan Epic Pro DSLR tri-pod mounted robot, which allows variable focal lengths with it’s gridded photo system. In this case, I shot the interior at 24mm in order to see clearly across the opera hall and to the top of the 32′ ceiling.
Shooting at this level requires a lot of pictures that took about 30 minutes to complete one scene. Due to the wide variation in ambient light, I choose to shot 5 levels of exposure (HDR). That translates to 78 bracketed shots that total 390 images.
But that’s not the hardest part. Those 5 HDR’s have to be merged into a single image in order to stitch the 78 shots together. PTGui software is great for automating the stitching, but especially at low-light like this one, there is a lot of manual effort to place control points that help “glue” the individual shots to each other. From that point I bring the stitched .jpg or .tif file into Adobe Lightroom for a variety of touch-ups: color balance, lens correction, etc.
The next phase is organizing the various tour points into an organized geographic layout using Pano2VR Pro. The newest release of this software allows dimensioned floor plans for interior layouts. I like the interface with Adobe Photoshop for easy touch-ups. It also is integrated with Google Street View for instant publishing.
Google+ and Facebook now accept 360º panoramas. However, they are limited to about 10,000 pixel wide photo spheres. That’s fine for most applications, but for the Antionette Opera Hall, I needed to display the entire 32,000 pixels for the zoom clarity. I use Roundme.com, which is a free hosting platform that can display up to 50,000 pixel wide imagery. For a nominal fee I can add my logo and output the code (iframe) to my clients for easy cut-and-paste to their webpage, or post.
PS: there are systems that will produce stitched imagery for you, but in most cases they own the final 360, which they lease to you.
Antoinette Hall @ 24mm focal length
360º Equirectangular Imagery Options:
X1 – 11,000 pixels wide – zoom x1
X2 – 24,000 pixels wide – zoom x2
X3 – 32,000 pixels wide – zoom x3
X1 is fine for interior virtual tours and even exterior if you don’t need the zoom clarity. X2 doubles the zoom length, and X3 triples it. In the tour above, the most distant surface is about 35 feet, which remains reasonably clear.
Athens of the South Visual Design
Imagery by Bob Henderson
#360photography #createtn @antoinettehall