Being a long time computer geek, I have a particular interest in interactive virtual reality images. Currently, I can offer a variety of interior and exterior panoramas including full 360 degree by 180 degree spherical interactive panoramas. I can also offer object virtual reality showing a 360 degree view of an object.
The sample 360 degree by 180 degree interactive QuickTime virtual reality(QTVR) image below was created with a Sigma 15mm diagonal fisheye lens attached to a Canon 5D Mark II body using a Nodal Ninja 5 panoramic head to generate 8 separate images. There were 6 images in a single 360 degree row around each room although I could have gotten away with only 5 images. There was one photo of the ceiling in each room taken from the same point as the rest of the images, and there was a photo of the floor in each room where the tripod was located, taken from a different point of view from the other images. Because these images where taken at night with no sunlight blowing out the windows, multiple images per direction for High Dynamic Range (HDR) were not required. I followed this procedure for the main room in my workshop/studio and for the backroom in my workshop/studio. The RAW images were color corrected in Lightroom, saved as JPEGs and stitched together using PTGUI, masking out the tripod in the process and working in the shot of the floor under the tripod. Given that PTGui can handle RAW files, Lightroom was an unnecessary step, but I felt that it did improve the quality of the images. Once this was done for both rooms(nodes), the two panorama files where linked to each other using hotspots defined in Pano2VR. Then, it was just a matter of putting the modified QTVR files in their final location on this website and adding a link on this page. All of that took about 8 hours including the photography. No matter how I do it, including the down shot where the tripod sits seems to take about three hours a node of computer work without any retouching in Photoshop. Even though the software does most of the work, there is still a lot of tedious work to stitch in the floor under the tripod.
Most virtual tour companies eliminate this work by sticking a cheat in that spot such as a mirror ball or logo or just limit the downward motion of the viewer. That reduces the required computer work to much less than an hour per node which is necessary to make virtual reality tours affordable to most businesses. I do shoot these lower cost virtual tours. For these budget tours, I use a Sigma 8mm circular fisheye lens at a 12.5 degree up angle taking shots in only four directions. Most of my panoramas/virtual tours are shot in HDR, where sunlight would blow out part of the image, with a full 10 stop range. This makes for 6-12 images per direction, but since the stitching software can process these automatically, it really doesn’t add much to the processing time, especially since I am only shooting four directions. However, only shooting four directions does leave a hole where the tripod sits, and the 8mm circular fisheye produces an image with less detail than the 15mm diagonal fisheye; but this approach costs as little as a tenth as much. This makes a BIG difference to a lot of companies. If I had to pay someone else to do panoramas/virtual tours for my business, I probably would opt for the lower price compromise. No matter your needs or your budget, I can handle it.
Below are links to some of my commercial work for YP360 clients. All these tours were shot in four directions per node using the Sigma 8mm lens. They were all shot in HDR over a 10 stop range resulting in 6 frames in each direction for each white balance setting. The exteriors were shot with one white balance and the interiors were shot with the exterior white balance and usually a tungsten white balance for the interior lighting. For these tours, I just shot the panoramas as a contractor for Everyscape. The Everyscape team assembled the panoramas into the virtual tours you see. However, I can do all the same processing myself.
McGrady’s Irish Pub in Charlottesville,VA
A Appliance Repair in Mechanicsville, VA
Sage Custom Contracting in Yorktown, VA
Kobe Japanese Steak & Sushi in Richmond, VA
See the Pricing page for an idea of the cost, but basically, I charge by the finished image or image file and how it will be used. The normal turn around time for a single node (set of images around a single point) would be two business days from the time the images are taken. A job with multiple nodes may take more time and an estimated delivery date would be put in the estimate and contract. Given that I do all the processing myself, I am certain that I can give you a better turnaround time and better customer service than those guys that send all their photos overseas for processing. I can deliver the interactive panoramas in Quicktime, Flash, or HTML5 formats. I can even create a virtual tour complete with hotspots and audio, and help you integrate them into your web site. The delivered files will normally be processed at a resolution suitable for standard web publication, but extreme high resolution images are available for special applications. Also, don’t forget that I can provide a simple panoramic image in sufficient resolution for a magazine centerfold, a poster, a banner, or a billboard. I can offer you all those services in one place with one contact person to walk you through the whole process.
Below is a High Dynamic Range (HDR) cylindrical panorama of the Palace Green in Colonial Williamsburg. It was taken about 9AM using a Sigma 15mm diagonal fisheye lens. While the 15mm diagonal fisheye produces a more detailed image than the 8mm circular fisheye, it produces a somewhat softer, less detailed, image as compared with a standard wide angle rectilinear lens. A much higher resolution and sharper image could be produced using a wide angle, or even a telephoto, rectilinear lens, but it would take considerably more time and many, many more images to complete the panorama. There is a place for each lens choice depending on requirements and budget. In most cases, good web performance of a virtual reality tour will render anything more than an 8mm circular fisheye and a four direction capture unecessary. Clicking on the image below to get the full resolution photo will demonstrate the problem with higher resolution panoramas. It takes a while for them to load over a standard internet connection.
Next we will look at a sample of object virtual reality where instead of the object moving around you, as it were, you move around the object. Basically, you are able to spin the object and, potentially, view it at various angles. The simple sample below just has the camera, or viewer, at one position, but I could have just as easily photographed another row at 45 degrees and a row directly over head allowing you to move around and over the object. Once you setup the photography, this is pretty straight forward to do. Of course it is all done in studio, and right now, I can only do small objects 360 degrees by 90 degrees. I will do a simple one row object VR movie like the sample below for $100. I will do a 360×90 for $125. If you want the object removed from the background and placed on another background, it will be $325 for a one row, and $775 for the three row, 360×90. I can produce an image file in Quicktime, HTML5, or Flash format. Please let me know if you are interested in shooting a VR video of your products and we can discuss the particulars.