How to Create a Virtual Tour

 How to Create a Virtual Tour

This guide is an overview of the basic principles of how to create a virtual tour. While not delving deeply into any one particular aspect of virtual tour production thi Virtual Tour s guide should help you understand the steps you should be thinking about when approaching virtual tours and panoramic photography in general.

Equipment

They say a bad workman blames his tools and this might be true but even the world’s best blacksmith can’t make Excalibur from a tuning fork and an old tea bag. While it is possible to create panoramas with a camera phone and a nifty lens you get off bobsrubbishlenses.com for £3.99, your panoramas are going to be the virtual tour equivalent of a cave painting. For any budding panorama or virtual tour enthusiast I recommend at the very minimum investing in a high quality DSLR camera and a wide angle lens (preferably fisheye). With these two pieces of equipment you can start to create some half decent panoramas to use in your virtual tour. If you are looking to go professional or take HDR images I heavily recommend investing in a ball head tripod and decent Panohead as well.

Preparing the Scene

Creating a good virtual tour scene is as much about what your filming as it is getting the technique right. Take some time to think about what you are trying to achieve from the scene, for example if you are filming a dynamic outdoor scene you should think about how the weather, season and time of day will affect the shoot. If you are shooting a kitchen for a real estate agent then you might think about laying the table or lighting candles to create an atmosphere. Remember that at the end of the day a virtual tour is a series of artistic photos. Approach the scene like an artist and you will produce something special (eventually), approach the scene like a surveyor and you will end up with the virtual tour equivalent of a fiat punto, functional but you’re probably not going to turn any heads.

The Nodal Point

To produce a panoramic scene you must take a complete sphere of images from one individual perspective. This perspective is called the nodal point and is incredibly important when shooting a panorama: if your nodal point is even a few millimetres off then the perspective shift that occurs between images will make them impossible to stitch together properly. If you have a tripod and Panohead you can set the Panohead to keep the exact nodal point for your camera. If you do not have access to this equipment then you can use a number of methods to keep your camera on the nodal point. I highly recommend the Philopod Pitch Variation method, a description of which you can find online.

Taking the images

The type of lens you are using will dictate how many images you need to

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