Knock Your Socks Off 360° Virtual Tours Using a Fisheye Lens
See how to create a full screen 360° Virtual Tour using the power of Java software,
a fisheye lens, a tripod with special head and Photo Stitching
software to generate
stunning 360° Virtual Tours that will help you sell your home or
promote your business. You can create the ultimate virtual tour -
real tours, like only 360 Degrees of Freedom makes possible. Virtual
tours are not simple spinning panoramas. In the same way that
websites vary from simple pages to amazing interactive environments
- so do virtual tours
A good virtual tour should:
- Display crisp, glossy panoramas and still imagery.
- Minimize window washout common with virtual tour companies
using parabolic mirrors or fisheye lenses.
- Contain presentation flexibility that permits custom artwork for our HotSpot
directional icons and custom banners.
- Feature premium Audio Clips for describing your property or business.
Other unique benefits of the software include:
- Posting tours online within 24 hours.
- Free hosting of tours online for up to six months.
- Free download and e-mail of tours.
- Tour Quality Control System to insure accuracy and consistency.
Photography Tools for Virtual Panorama Tours
and Real Estate Photography
Panosauras Tripod Head
For those of you unfamiliar with Panoramic, QTVR, and Super Megapixel photography the need for a panoramic tripod head
may not be understood. A standard camera tripod is designed to hold and rotate a camera around the tripod mounting hole of the camera. This hole is located arbitrarily somewhere on the camera body. However, to take accurate panoramic photos it is important that the camera be mounted and then rotated around what is called the optical center (sometimes called the nodal point or
entrance pupil) of the camera's lens. This ensures that optical distortion, called parallax distortion, will not be introduced into your pictures before they are then stitched together using computer software.
Many people use panoramic tripod heads to not only take wide vista shots, but also to take 360 degree QTVR photos and photo mosaics (multi-row megapixel panoramas). Most panoramic tripod heads are constructed of metal, are quite heavy and very expensive due to the complexity of their designs.
The Panosaurus was designed to meet the needs of the hobbyist and professional who don't need the overkill precision of the most expensive heads and would prefer a light weight and simple to use alternative. The Panosaurus was developed and has evolved during two years of research to attempt to create the most flexible and easy to use panoramic tripod head system available - that will accommodate the widest number of camera and lens combinations possible.
The front and rear nodal points have the property that a ray aimed at one of them will be refracted by the lens such that it appears to have come from the other, and with the same angle with respect to the optical axis. The nodal points therefore do for angles what the principal planes do for transverse distance. If the medium on both sides of the optical system is the same (e.g., air), then the front and rear nodal points coincide with the front and rear principal points, respectively.
The nodal points are widely misunderstood in
photography, where it is commonly asserted that the light rays "intersect" at "the nodal point", that the
iris diaphragm of the lens is located there, and that this is the correct pivot point for
panoramic photography, so as to avoid parallax error. These claims are all false, and generally arise from confusion about the optics of camera lenses, as well as confusion between the nodal points and the other cardinal points of the system. The correct pivot point for panoramic photography can be shown to be the centre of the system's
3DVista Stitcher is the most comprehensive stitcher on the market today. One-click simplicity leads you through each stage of the process to ensure you have top quality panoramas stitched in nearly no time, every time.
There are no restrictions when using 3DVista Stitcher. Stitch almost any kind of panorama: All popular lens types supported including standard, wide angle, FISHEYE and One-shot lenses. Whether you want to stitch full or partial panoramas, flat, immersive, cubic or spherical 3DVista Stitcher does the lot.
Preview your panorama with Stitcher's built-in viewer then save it in JPG, BMP or PSD format and it's ready to be imported into 3DVista Publisher, 3DVista SHOW or your favorite virtual tour authoring software.
Sigma 8mm f4 EX Circular Fisheye is an excellent lens
for virtual tours. Color and detail are excellent even at minimum
aperture. The lens cap comes in two parts that you can use to advantage. Just take off the front cap and not the ring and you shoot a little less than 180 degrees. In this way you can block off the tripod leg, your feet etc. Watch out for stray light though as it will reflect off the ring cap. I found I could focus down to a couple of inches which is less than Sigma states.
This lens is fairly quick to auto focus but the odd time it continues to focus as the picture is being shot.
This lens is great, given that the alternatrives are either a very expensive (even used) camera maker's lens or a relatively poor quality converter. Image quality is very high, though there is CA.
With this lens it is possible to produce an immersive VR image with only three exposuresif you have a full-frame camera, or with a few extras if you mount an APS-C sensor camera vertically; on those cameras the top and bottom edges are cut off but you can still cover the full circle with plenty of overlap with 6 images and could probably get by with fewer.
On an APS-C sensor camera you get the full 180 degrees horizontally, but less, I think about 120, vertically, and the top and bottom of the frame are cut off. Images can still be remapped quite effectively to very wide panoramics, or to very interesting ultrawide shots.
One thing to watch out for if you are looking for one of these lenses; the older version of the manual-focus Sigma 8mm only covers 170 degrees or thereabouts, and should be avoided if you are looking for easy immersive panorama shooting. Even that lens can produce some very interesting results, though
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