Are you interested in creating a Virtual Tour as a part of your online learning project?  Follow these easy steps to create an outstanding basic Panoramic Movie with your students!

  1. Find out more about VR Worx from their website at http://www.vrtoolbox.com/vrthome.html You can download a demo version that allows you to create panoramic movies without the features of saving your work.  It's an excellent demo and will give you an excellent idea of the simplicity of the product.  It is cross-platform unlike many other Virtual Reality software products.  The movies you create will be viewed using Quicktime software.  This can be downloaded for free from Apple's website. (It is for both Macs and PC)

  2. You will need the following equipment to prepare for your project:

A digital Camera with the capability of being mounted onto a tri-pod. A tri-pod to mount your camera on.
A Kaidan KiWi head to be mounted onto your tri-pod.  Your camera will be mounted onto this KIWI head.  You can find out more about KiWi heads at Kaidan's website.  I prefer the KiWi-L.  It is the most affordable and includes a level. You can use your  tri-pod ion its own if it has angles marked on it, but the KiWi head will give you a more accurate panoramic image A PiXi manual turntable for object movies.  The table has 10 degree increments notched into the table.  You can use a "Lazy Susan," but the images will not be as accurate and the movies will appear "jolty."

 

3. Download a demo version onto your computer or purchase VR Worx from a computer store.  It ranges from about $400 to $500 (CDN).  In Canada it, and many of your VR needs can be found at Vistek.

4. Once you have purchased your equipment and software, decide what you would like to make a panoramic movie of.  Will it be of a classroom, a class project, a student-generated museum?  Whatever the project, have it finished before beginning the next steps.  For practice, you may just want to try something simple like your own classroom.

5.  Mount your KiWi head onto your tri-pod.  Mount your camera onto your KiWi head.  Place your tri-pod in the center of the room or area that you are taking photos of.  Set your camera to take photos at their "best quality."  If you are looking for a excellent quality final finish, you may want to spend some time locating the Nodal Point of your camera lens.  Refer to this site, http://www.edb.utexas.edu/teachnet/QTVR/NodalPoint.htm for specific instructions.  For this practice application, this isn't really necessary.l

6.  Using the notches on the KiWi head, start your camera at zero degrees.  You can choose to take a number of photos.  The VR Worx program accommodates for 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, or 22 pictures of your area.  I find that 16 is ideal and leaves the least seams in your panoramic movie.  There is a more specific and detailed way to determine the most appropriate amount of images needed for limited overlap.  You can take a look at Ken Turkowski's site at http://www.worldserver.com/turk/quicktimevr/authoring.html#NumberOfPhotos to use his calculator to calculate the exact images for the best movie.  For this activity, it is not necessarily important.

7.  If you are using the KiWi head, you can set the KiWi head to 16.  You then simply take a photo at each notch provided.  Your camera will slowly rotate around the room as you take your photos.  You will take 16 photos in all.  Consistent and bright lighting is very important.  If the area your are photographing is not well-lit (as most classrooms are not,) you may want to bring in some extra lights or photograph on a sunny day. It is best not to use a flash as it creates uneven lighting on your images from one photo to the next.  If you are not using a KiWi head, you may want to take 18 photos, using the built in degrees indicator provided on your tripod. You would then take a photo every twenty degrees.   It is very important to keep the tripod in the exact same position for the entire process.  If your camera jolts, you will need to start over.  The KiWi head also has the advantage of providing a smooth rotation as you move to the next notch.

The photos you have taken will be used in the VR Worx program to make a panoramic movie.  The following steps will help you install and use the program to create this movie.

  1. VR Worx has the advantage of being a cross-platform product.  It can be used on either Macs or PC computers.  Click below to follow instructions for:

  1. Install the VR Worx program onto your computer.  Use the directions provided to you with the user manual.  If you are using the downloaded demo, simply select the download  that is appropriate for your computer.

  2. Download the sixteen photos you have taken of your project onto your computer.  Put them in an easy to find folder.

  3. Open up the VRWorx program.  You will see a window like this:

  4. Click on "Create a Panorama," and then "OK."

  5. You will see a window like this:

  6. Change the Max Frames prompt to the number of photos you have take of your project. (sixteen)  The length and F.O.V. should be provided to you in your manufacturer's booklet provided to you with your digital camera or on the actual lens of your camera.  If it isn't, take a moment to browse through your CD to look for the template folder.  In this folder you will find pre-made templates specifically designed for specific types of cameras.  If you can't find your camera here, you may also want to check the VR Worx website as they often have camera template updates.  All you have to do is click on the template and everything will be filled in for you with the exception of how many frames you are taking.  You can also use Ken Turkowski's calculator to calculate the exact F.O.V. using his program on http://www.worldserver.com/turk/quicktimevr/authoring.html#FOVFromFocalLength   If this is confusing, you can play around with the numbers a bit...i.e.. trial and error!  If you have to do this, don't worry.  The creation of the movie is quick and painless, so if you have to do it again, no problem! The image size will be found on your digital camera, when you selected the quality of your photos.  It is best to take pictures as their best quality for this project.

  7. Once you have filled in these boxes, select the "acquire" feature.  You will see a screen like this:

  8. The white rectangles that you see represent the photos that you have taken.  In the Images area, click the button that says "multiple."  You will then see a screen that looks like this:

  9. Navigate to the folder that contains your images. Once you have located them.  Select your images and press the button the right that says "add 16."  or you can add them one at a time.  Make sure your insert them in the order that they were taken.

  10. On the lower left hand corner you will see two boxes labeled "source rotation."  If your camera was on its side when you took your photos, you will need to rotate your photos +90 degrees.  Ensure that you select this option before proceeding.  If you camera was upright while taking the photos, you will not need to adjust this.  Whether or not your camera was on its side or not will depend on the manufacturer of your camera.

  11. When all of your photos appear in the box, select "done."  You will then be taken back to the initial box which will show your images being inserted into each of the white rectangles.  This should only take a minute or so.

  12. Click the "Stitch" function to put the pictures together.  You will come to a box that looks like this:

  13. You need not adjust any of the prompts.  Simply click "stitch."  The computer will analyze and then process the pictures. Your pictures should look like they are pieced together roughly.  Click the "blend" function.  You will see a screen that looks like this:  

  14. Click the "blend" feature.  The program will blend, straighten, and sort your photos.  To the right of the blend feature you will see hotspots, compress, and playback.  The hotspot feature will be explained at a later time.  Click the "compress function."  You will see a screen that looks like this:

  15. Click on "compress," to compress your movie.  Then click "playback."  What you should see is a movie that can be viewed using your mouse to navigate around your project movie.  If you find that the images do not blend well together, you may want to readjust the features on the set-up page (lens length and F.O.V) and try it again.  If this does not work, you may have to take the photos again, especially if it appears that the camera was jolted or moved while taking the photos.

  16. To take a look at a finished product created with VR Worx, please take a look at Parkdale Elementary's Virtual Pioneer Museum.

And now you have your simple panoramic movie!  If you would like to know more about how to create links to your movie, or create an object movie to link to your panoramic movie, you can follow detailed instructions provided to you in an easy-to-use manual included with the VR Worx software.  The site at http://www.edb.utexas.edu/teachnet/QTVR/Index.html also has some great instructions for more detailed applications using various programs including VR Worx.

  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at mmspeight@cbe.ab.ca 

  1. Install the VR Worx program onto your computer.  Use the directions provided to you with the user manual.  If you are using the downloaded demo, simply select the download  that is appropriate for your computer.

  2. Download the sixteen photos you have taken of your project onto your computer.  Put them in an easy to find folder.

  3. Open up the VRWorx program.  You will see a window like this:

  1. Click on "Create a Panorama," and then "OK."

  2. You will see a window like this

:

  1. Change the Max Frames prompt to the number of photos you have take of your project. (sixteen)  The length and F.O.V. should be provided to you in your manufacturer's booklet provided to you with your digital camera or on the actual lens of your camera.   If it isn't, take a moment to browse through your CD to look for the template folder.  In this folder you will find pre-made templates specifically designed for specific types of cameras.  If you can't find your camera here, you may also want to check the VR Worx website as they often have camera template updates.  All you have to do is click on the template and everything will be filled in for you with the exception of how many frames you are taking. You can also use Ken Turkowski's calculator to calculate the exact F.O.V. using his program on http://www.worldserver.com/turk/quicktimevr/authoring.html#FOVFromFocalLength   If this is confusing, you can play around with the numbers a bit...i.e.. trial and error!  If you have to do this, don't worry.  The creation of the movie is quick and painless, so if you have to do it again, no problem! The image size will be found on your digital camera, when you selected the quality of your photos.  It is best to take pictures as their best quality for this project.

  2. Once you have filled in these boxes, select the "acquire" feature.  You will see a screen like this:

  1.  The white rectangles that you see represent the photos that you have taken.  In the commands area, click the button that says "multiple."  You will then see a screen that looks like this:

  1. Navigate to the folder that contains your images. Once you have located them.  Select your images and press the button the right that says "add 16."  or you can add them one at a time.  Make sure your insert them in the order that they were taken.

  2. On the lower left hand corner you will see two boxes labeled "source rotation."  If your camera was on its side when you took your photos, you will need to rotate your photos +90 degrees.  Ensure that you select this option before proceeding.  If you camera was upright while taking the photos, you will not need to adjust this.  Whether or not your camera was on its side or not will depend on the manufacturer of your camera.

  3. When all of your photos appear in the box, select "done."  You will then be taken back to the initial box which will show your images being inserted into each of the white rectangles.  This should only take a minute or so.

  1. Click the "Stitch" function to put the pictures together.  The program will attempt to overlap each picture and match the images up.  Don't worry if it doesn't look very accurate at this point.  Your image may look something  like this:

  1. Click on the "Blend" button to blend your pictures together. Once it is finished, click on the Compress tab to go to the next step.

  1. Once the program is finished compressing your image, you can select playback to view your results!

And now you have your simple panoramic movie!  If you would like to know more about how to create links to your movie, or create an object movie to link to your panoramic movie, you can follow detailed instructions provided to you in an easy-to-use manual included with the VR Worx software.  The site at http://www.edb.utexas.edu/teachnet/QTVR/Index.html also has some great instructions for more detailed applications using various programs including VR Worx.

  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at mmspeight@cbe.ab.ca 

 

 

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Last updated February 4, 2004

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