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How to Photograph a 360° Pano for Virtual Tours



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hello ladies and gents this is Patrick

from make virtual tours calm and I want

to bring you another video today about

how to make virtual tours but first I

want to thank everybody who's been

leaving comments and constructive

criticism especially the people who have

been letting me know about how big my

eyes get when I talk I had no idea that

this was even in issues thanks so much

to everybody who brought it up in this

video we're going to talk about taking

the actual photographs that we need to

create the panorama we're going to get

into the nitty-gritty talking about the

camera settings so if you don't know

anything about how your camera actually

works aperture shutter speed etc I

recommend taking a break checking out

some other YouTube videos and learning

about the actual process of how to

operate your camera once we discuss that

we're going to go over how we actually

use this thing this is the no towhead so

we're going to go into the details about

how this thing works and how we're

actually going to operate it depending

on what type of camera lens we have then

we're going to take the photos and

hopefully by the end of it you'll have a

better understanding about how the

actual shooting of the virtual tour

takes place

alright let's talk about the camera

settings that we're going to use now

keep in mind all these images that we

take are going to need to be combined

into a single panorama so that means

that we're going to need to keep them

consistent as possible in terms of the

exposure and the color temperature that

we use so that means we're going to put

our camera on full manual mode next

let's talk about the exposure that we're

going to use so when we shoot a room we

might have a really bright window on one

side and a really dark corner on the

other side and since it's a full 360

we're going to have to account for both

the brightness and the darkness and a

scene so really it comes down to setting

an exposure that gives you the best of

both worlds and also shooting HDR s now

when we talk about the aperture we're

looking at somewhere around f11 I would

say that hits a sweet spot between

giving you the maximum depth of field

that you need and also minimizing the

diffraction that you get if you stop all

the way down to like f-16 or f-22 so

then we're going to have to look at our

ISO and our shutter speed from that

point on and I generally don't want to

have my shutter going all the way down

to 5 seconds or something like that

because first of all it'll take forever

and secondly it'll eat up a lot of

battery if I'm shooting so many pictures

just having these long exposures so you

know you want it depends on your scene

obviously but I'm probably looking at

shooting you know a tenth of a second

that is my baseline and then starting

somewhere around 640 a so obviously

that's a give and take and if you have a

newer camera that was made after say

2013 you shouldn't have any issues with

pushing up the ISO a little bit higher

than that but it's all really your call

and knowing what works best with your

camera so on this camera for example

right now in the scene that I'm at I'm

shooting at a third of a second at f/11

and then my ISO is at 640 okay and that

should give me the exposure that I need

now let's talk about the white balance

again the white balance is going to be

on manual mode and you're going to want

to keep it the same for the entire scene

just to keep that consistency across

the color range and what is going to be

the ideal white balance well it really

depends on the room that you're shooting

it now if you're shooting in a room

that's dominated by warm orange tungsten

bulbs then you're going to want to go

towards that end of the spectrum however

if you're shooting in a room with a lot

of windows that's your primary light

source you're going to want to put it on

the daylight end of the spectrum now

usually I sort of just evaluate all

right I've got predominantly warm but

I've definitely got some daylight coming

in so that means that I'm probably going

to be looking at a white balance of

around 4000 Kelvin and the good thing

about shooting raw is if I do decide

later on that I didn't hit it quite out

of the park then I will go back and

change the white balance on all of my

images in Lightroom cool so once we get

all the settings dial then the last

thing we're going to have to do is get

ready for bracketing now when we shoot

these virtual tours we're doing an HDR

this means that we are taking three

photos of the same exact scene then

merging them together so we're going to

take one at the proper exposure one

photo overexposed then another

underexposed and then merge those all

together later on in our post processing

workflow so if you have a lower end

camera there's a possibility that you

may have to do this manually however for

the sake of this tutorial I'm just going

to assume that you have a mid-range to

high-end camera and assume that you have

a bracketing button just like mine so I

press this button right here then I turn

my dial so that I'm taking three photos

one of which is two stops overexposed

and another of which is to stop

underexposed and then the last is

properly exposed and the last thing that

I want to make sure that I have turned

on is the self timer mode what this does

is it allows me to press the shutter one

time count all five seconds then take

three photos back to back to back which

will give me that set of bracketed

photos automatically

all right we've got our settings dialed

in and we are ready to get started with

taking our pictures but before we do

that I just want to go over the

logistics of how we're going to cover

the full 360 degrees by 180 degrees of

our scene now in my case I am using a

ten point five millimeter fisheye lens

on a crop frame sensor and what that

means is that I'm covering approximately

60 degrees with every shot so I will

need to take six sets of bracketed

pictures to cover the horizontal 360

degrees then in order to get the ceiling

on the two sets of bracketed photos with

the camera pointed straight up next I'll

turn the camera around so it's facing

straight down and get two sets of

bracketed photos of the floor with the

camera on the tripod and lastly I'll

remove the camera from the tripod and

take one single handheld shot of the

floor if you're using a wider lens say

an eight millimeter circular fisheye

lens then you will probably need to take

less photos to cover your scene then on

the other end of the spectrum if you're

using a normal non fisheye lens you'll

probably need to take a lot more your

panamá head will come with a series of

interchangeable rings and these rings

have notches in them that allow you to

turn your camera a set number of degrees

now the number of degrees that you turn

the camera between each shot depends on

how wide your lens is so one last thing

that I should mention is you want to

have your camera be as level as possible

so there's a bubble level and what I do

to make sure that it's in the right

place that everything's level is I

rotate it around and I just make sure

that that bubble is just sitting there

right in the center for every angle and

if I need to make any adjustments I'll

maybe lower a leg of the tripod just a

tiny little bit all right

so without further ado let's go ahead

and take these pictures and here we go

the first one is like I mentioned going

to be on a timer so I'll just press a

button

and let it do its thing it's going to

take three pictures and they're going to

be slightly different exposures for each

one alright looks good so let's keep on

doing that and I'll go ahead and speed

it up we've covered our entire 360

degrees of the horizontal field of view

so now what we need to do is make sure

we take pictures of the ceiling and the

floor in order to do that I'm going to

loosen the knob on the right-hand side

and then flip my camera straight up now

I'm going to have the duck down for this

because if I'm actually standing up here

I'm going to be in the picture which

isn't really ideal for any of the

clients nobody wants to see me in the

pictures so I will go ahead and hit the

button still got the same settings on

and we'll let it rip great now instead

of turning it another 60 degrees I'm

going to make sure that it's turned 90

degrees this will give me the most

coverage of the horizontal area and here

we go again

one last time and we have liftoff

all right the last part of the virtual

tour shooting process is taking photos

of the ground so what we're going to do

is actually flip this camera around and

we're going to take two pictures while

the camera is still on the tripod facing

straight towards the ground then we're

going to remove the camera from the

tripod we're going to try to remember

exactly where it was and hold the camera

out with our arm and just take pictures

of the ground with no tripod what this

will do is for the person who's looking

at the virtual tour they're not going to

see any tripod it's just going to be as

if they're looking straight down to the

ground and kind of floating in space

there when we are stitching our

panoramas together occasionally we have

issues with getting the floor to match

up with the rest of our panoramas and

the reason for this is because usually

the floor will be very nondescript

so in order to reduce the headache that

we have on the back end a side of things

I will sometimes put three distinct

objects on the ground which make

touching my floor to the rest of my

panorama a lot easier these are

generally really small things that I can

put down in a triangular pattern and in

this case I've got a leaf I've got a

little ring and I've got a set of keys

and this will trust me simplify my life

so much in the future when I know that I

get back to my computer and I'm trying

to match the floor and bring it in to

the rest of the panorama and I just

can't find anything on the ground that

really matches and the reason why I

choose small objects so that I can

easily photoshop them out later so here

we go I'm just go ahead and put these

three things down here got a leaf here

got the ring on this corner and we've

got our keys over here and the last

thing we need to do is just flip our

camera around doing it the exact same

way that I did earlier and and I love

photobombing you guys in this video here

taking the three pictures once again

same situation same settings and then

stepping out our final photo is going to

be a handheld shot of the ground as you

may remember my shutter speed is at a

third of a second I'm going to have to

obviously increase that shutter speed in

order to make the photos not have any

motion blur while I'm shooting handheld

so I'm probably going to go ahead and

bump that down to a twentieth of a

second or so and open up my aperture a

little bit and perhaps boost the ISS

this last photo will not be an HDR so we

can turn off the bracketing and then

also turn the camera from self timer

mode to single shot mode so I'm going to

go ahead and remove the camera from the

tripod and I will move the tripod out of

the way and one thing worth mentioning

as I'm doing this is that you should try

to keep the camera when you take this

last photograph in the same spot that

you had it in before

disregard that when you keep the camera

in the same spot it'll just make the

stitching a lot more seamless later on

however if we do have a little bit of

prospective shift it's not the end of

the world so let's go ahead and take

this last photo all right that's it so I

wanted to thank everybody for watching

this video I really hope that you

learned something if you guys are

interested in learning even more about

how to make virtual tours please

subscribe here and go check out Meg

virtual tours comm I've got tons of

in-depth text tutorials information

about the software and the camera gear

that you need and loads of other fun

stuff so thanks so much for watching and

have a good one

you