I recently found a better program for creating my partial panoramas that I use in my virtual tours – PanoramaStudio 2 Pro from tshsoft. Tobias Huellmandel, the owner/developer started in 2001 with a simple editing tool. He released the first PanoramaStudio version for Windows in 2004 and to my delight released a Mac version in August of 2011. Of course, it took me this long to realize there was a Mac version – I checked for it early last year. Huellmandal plans to launch an updated version “with a further improved image alignment algorithm and a better vignetting and lens distortion correction in the single row mode (and some other features).”
It is quite an intuitive program, which I really appreciate.
The first window opens where one can chose what kind of panorama you wish to produce.
Then one selects the photos to stitch.
Stitch It! – Actually in this program its “Align”
You will notice that it automatically corrected the light balance in the room – I just pulled these photos from iPhoto without doing any corrections.
What I really like is it that the field of view (fov) data is available for me to use when I upload to my tour platform : Tourbuzz.
From this window I pull the Horizontal (HFOV) and the Vertical (VFOV) and add it to my title. My photo title would be something like “2 Story Living Room (fov213.75×54.25)”. Tourbuzz can then translate that information to make the partial panoramic pan correctly when one views the tour.
Wow, this home was so much fun and a challenge to photograph in the late summer of 2010. I did have to go back the next morning to capture the sun on the front of the home and it was well worth it for the result.
It really is great fun to do virtual tours of small houses, especially when they look great. We are just starting to come into Spring, so the outdoor yard colors aren’t great. Luckily the homeowner had some nice photos of the yard in the summer time. The photos were large enough that they remain crisp within the tour.
My goal within my tours is to present the home as one would walk through exploring the home. I want the viewer to see the relationships of the rooms and spaces. This way a viewer can imagine oneself within the home. Click on the Address to see the tour.
I have just started using a new tour company so that I can now brand the tours for my clients. Still working out some of the bugs and getting used to a new way of doing things. I thought I should post the first three here and as for some feedback on how they look and work for you. The company is working on how the stills pan in and out which I should probably be able to change within the next month. I am still working on the partial panoramics to get them to move the way I want. It’s a learning curve.
Click on the photos below to take you to the tour.
A Realtor® friend of mine, Hope Hughes and I were working on social networking when she said that she wanted to try doing a video home tour. I volunteered to try it out. I have a small Sony Handycam (DCR-SR85) – I now wish I had bought the HD version last year instead because it would better match the still shots I incorporated. Though the final results are ok at the size of a YouTube video.
It was my first venture using my iMovie program. I took advantage of my One-on-One subscription at the Apple store. I hauled in my computer and worked there for about 5.5 hours. I was only supposed to work for 3 hours, but because only one person had signed up for the following 3 hours, they let me stay. I learned so much more that I expected and was able to pretty much complete the video. And wow, iMovie was so much better than using Windows MovieMaker.
There is some discussion out there about video tours of homes. I found very recent blog post on http://photographyforrealestate.net/ where they asked how many photographers were thinking about or already doing video tours. Answer, not that many…so, who knows we may be on the cutting edge for Denver.
Here is the first video tour.
I would appreciate some constructive criticism (I went to art school – I can take it)
As a photographer I have been using Visual Tour® to create virtual tours for my clients. This program was developed for REALTORS® who do their own photography. It is easy to use and the results can be quite wonderful.
You can have as many as 50 images within the tour. You can do a combination of still shots and panoramics – all of which can move, if you so chose.
Visual Tour® requires that you use a digital camera. It’s best if you shoot with the highest resolution possible. When I started my business 5 years ago, I just had a high quality point and shoot camera. I have since moved up to an Olympus SLR (single lens reflex) which allows me to shot very high quality images. As I have moved up with the quality of my equipment Visual Tour® has been upgrading their viewers and I think it’s one of the best interfaces for viewing tours on the web.
I generally do panoramic shots that are more of a 180° shot instead of the 360° shots that many of the tour companies do because I find that the room is not as visually distorted when viewing. In doing those pan shots I have trained myself to shot with the camera vertically by hand instead of horizontally on a tripod. I always shot each panoramic twice, just in case some of the walls, counters, etc. don’t quite line up when the images are stitched together.
Here is a recent tour for you to check out:
I will plan on talking about some tips and tricks I have learned doing virtual tours using Visual Tour® in this blog in the future. If you have particular questions or comments. Please comment above.