What do I need to produce 360 virtual tours?
There are a number of things you will need before you can produce a good commercial 360 degree virtual tour.
Yes I realize the camera is quite obvious, but what camera? You can produce a virtual tour using most cameras these days, even mobile phones have apps that allows you to create a virtual tour on your phone. But we are looking at producing commercial virtual tours, so you are looking at a good quality DSLR. Personally I use a Canon 5D MK11, it works well for me and it’s full frame which again makes life easier, but the choice of camera is really up to you.
A good quality fisheye lens will make life a lot easier when you come to capturing the images for a virtual tour, although you can just as easily use a standard lens. I use a Sigma 15mm fisheye which is wide enough to give a good starting image for my tours. I have occasionally used my Canon 24/105 Lens and again this has given me good results, although I’ve had to take more images to create the same effect as with the fisheye.
Any good solid tripod will do the job, don’t skimp on the cost of your tripod if it not solid enough it will not give you the results your after. I have done virtual tours without using a tripod, but it’s much easier with one.
A Panohead is the vital piece of kit for creating a virtual tour, this allows you to position the camera so the nodal point of the lens is directly over the centre point of the tripod, this allows you to take seamless images for your panoramic image, which is the starting point of any virtual tour.
You really need at least two pieces of software for your virtual tour, three if you include photoshop or any other photo editing software you use. You need one software to stitch the images together, and another software to create the tour. I use PTGui and Pano2vr but there are various options on the market.
There are other pieces of equipment that would make life easier, but with the items above you should have no problem creating your virtual tour.