A Big, Wide View of the World

Many of my friends and family know I've been playing around with 3D and panoramic photography for some time now. I like the "Full View" that a pano gives and I've been fascinated with the full 360 spherical productions and virtual tours concepts.

One of my friends had his large residential yard extensively re-landscaped and this spring to summer is providing a truly great opportunity for a photo project watching the yard change. The goal is a time lapse based blog.

It also provides an excellent challenge to refine the tools, workflow, and issue resolution to providing good web content of appropriate depth and complexity to potential clients.

To my family and friends just stopping by to see the images, jump to the Samples.

My potential clients are encouraged to read the Business Assessment, are invited to read the Technical Assessment and should read the Summary some time in their visit here, but don't forget the Samples!

Business Assessment

When would I want a panoramic or a virtual tour for my website?


Any time you want an expansive look and feel such as a full display case for an eye catching banner, an image of the beautiful view from the property you represent, a fun and fascinating method to show case rooms and structures, a tour of the grounds. Many opportunities arise.

Why?


A fully interactive virtual tour presents a fascination to the person visiting your site and will hold their interest longer. A movie tour (for mobile devices) can provide the same type of customer interest retention. A wide view draws the eye and makes a statement. Any way we can make your website to stand out from others will return greatly on the investment.

Considerations:


Is your website targeting mobile devices?

Many sites today are not optimized or inclusive of alternate code to be well displayed on mobile devices (another topic in itself, yes I can help). This factor comes into play on sites that do have an awareness of the mobile world. The main tool for displaying INTERACTIVE (user driven) pans and tours is the Adobe Flash player. Flash is NOT supported by today’s mobile devices (smaller than laptops). Fear not! There is the alternative HTML5 Video player, but it will present a MOVIE, not and interactive session.

A Static image of a wide shot may be all you need (a full display case of delicious do-nuts, or a full show room of products) for a great banner image on your web page. The aspect ratios with panoramas can become an issue, especially in mobile devices, and attention must be paid to image detail vs. overall impression. A 45 degree rotation, like for a display case, can hold a lot of detail for its width, am image of 180 pan of a coast line view gives the impression of the expanse. but you’ll not see the leaves on the trees. All can be balanced.

COST?


Ah, the final frontier! Not really a question to be answered here as it would be as variable as your needs compared to another’s. Negotiable and Reasonable are the two best descriptors until a project is defined.

Contact Mark Gallant
mark.gallant@frontier.com
503 642 1883 (Oppor-TUNE-ist Piano Service: the Day job!)

Technical Assessment

Here is a bit more detail on the tools and methods involved in panoramic and virtual tours:
Panoramic and virtual tours are not new and I've been doing them for some time. This assessment is meant to help potential clients to gain scope, size, R.O.I, and appreciation for the challenges in bringing this type of media to the web presentations.

A panoramic image is any image that contains more than a single capture frame can present. Two or more image frames are captured with enough detail overlap to allow "stitching" them together compose the final image.

Capturing the image sequence for panoramic views requires some specialized tripod mounts to do properly. The mount must be specific or adjustable (or modifiable) to the camera(s) used in the original capture as the rotation in both the horizontal and vertical planes must be around the focal node of the lens in use. A major lesson learned in this experiment was the difference in mounting the camera in a "portrait" orientation vs. the "landscape". Landscape orientation is the that most of us hold a camera for snapshots.

Landscape works in long range pans such as Yaquina Head from Beverly Beach (5 + miles).

viewfromroom

The Portrait orientation works best in closer subject matter and probably better over all. The completed pan results is a better aspect ratio (height:width). The capture of the garden on 4/8/14 proved that any benefit I gained in fewer images to get around the 200 degree pan is lost to image presentation quality loss on the web display.

shortfat

Of the many variations of projection models, I tend to use Cylindrical or Spherical most often.
The Spherical is needed for the full “standing in the middle looking every which way, floor to ceiling” pans/vts like in a church or chandelier lit ballroom, Cylindrical give a good rotational view of a single level image set. I’m using cylindrical for the garden, would for most of a virtual tour of a home for rent or sale where the sky, grass, ceiling and floor is of minimal interest.

The post capture production process usually requires some touch up of the individual frames to match color temperature, exposures, some image enhancements like structure and detail before “stitching”. I’ve found it a necessity to process the individual frames as the finished product can be too large for the photo editors to process the unsharp mask and color corrections processes.

There are several tools to stitch with. Adobe Photoshop can, I prefer PTGui Pro. The virtual tour software I use is Pano2vr. It creates the Flash interactive stuff. from the pans For mobile tours I use the panorama files and an automator (Adobe After Effects) to create the movie and HTML5 VideoPlayer Converter to create a final presentation for the website.

Here is a list of the tools for the technically interested:
Main Camera: Konica 5D with 18-70MM lens.
FANOTEK panoramic tripod mount (modified to fit camera)
Adobe Bridge
Intensify Pro
PTGui Pro
Pano2Vr
Flash Slideshow Maker
HTML5VideoPlayer
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe After Effects
Aiseesoft iPad converter
Adobe Dreamweaver
Adobe Flash

Summary

The bottom line for you, my potential client, is to assist you to a better website image, draw more customers to your website and hold their interest longer with a better representation of your company and product.

To do such economically and expediently via imagery. I’m not professing to be an expert in web content, graphics design, or layout. I can provide some stunning photo images. Ok, I can also provide very good dynamic features (database and web based applications in a variety of application development tools: you need a database and an app to talk to it? I can do that).

The main point here is to define your needs and how I can help at a coverage and price point that fits.

Enjoy the samples!