How it was done...
A panorama is just a picture that is much wider that it is tall, many cameras today will take these simple panoramas. If you take enough pictures to see all the way around you (like standing in one spot, and turning a bit after each picture), then you can put them together side by side to get a long, rectangular picture, where each end faces the same direction. If you curl the connected pictures around a cylinder and tape the ends together, you will have a cylindrical panorama. Getting a spherical panorama is a bit more difficult because the closer you are to looking straight up or down, the image becomes more and more distorted. Think of a flat map of the earth.
To get the spherical panoramas you see on this web site, we used a 35mm SLR camera, a tripod, and a special support for the camera that sits on top of the tripod. The support holds the camera in just the right position for each photograph. After taking about 12 pictures, the negatives are scanned to produce a digital picture that our computer can use. Then a program is used to connect all the individual pictures together, and create a single digital picture that you see here.
Now, we aren't quite ready for you to see the panorama yet, at this point the image is called a "equirectangular" image. It's a ten-dollar word that means if you look at the image as is, it would like that flat map of the earth, all distorted at the top and bottom, however, if you use a small program that compensates for this distortion, you will see a nice, smooth spherical panorama where you may look in all directions.
On this website, that small program is called an applet, your web browser loads the applet from our website, then loads the equirectangular image for each room, the applet compensates for the fact that you are looking at a spherical image on a flat screen in your browser window and voila', a stunning spherical panorama.
A project like this is not the result of one person, it takes many people working directly and indirectly together. With the help and encouragement of these people, this project has become more to me than a showcase for my talents, it has become a way to bring the authenticity and detail of Heritage House to the Internet.
In addition to his many other civic responsibilities, Alan Curl is the Curator of Heritage House. Alan's cooperation and accommodation have bordered on heroic at times, (gee, those AC units looked easy to move...), the groundskeeper (German Ponce) and volunteer docents (Cindy Stevens & Dagmar Rees) were also amazing, ("don't look at the camera, you made that costume yourself?, is that corset really as tight as it looks?, and above all RELAX!"...), even the horse drawn carriage was volunteered for this project.
I have had a great time on this project and I hope I work with all of them again very soon.
The carriage and equestrian power source was kindly and patiently provided by Margaret Coon Liblin of Carriages By Margaret in Riverside, California. For more information call (951) 789-1620. Steady Cindy, steady.
The special camera rig and software for assembling the panoramas are produced by Kaidan of Feasterville, PA and iMove of Portland, OR. . Special thanks to Salvatore at Kaidan, and to Pam, Julie, Maria, Krista and Brian at iMove.
The browser applet for viewing the equirectangular images is by Professor Helmut Dersch, Technical University, Furtwangen, Germany.
Thanks also to the members of the proj-imim list, and all the beta testers, your time is appreciated.
Thank you Cindy, for listening to all those "what ifs", for being my toughest critic, for sharing the vision, and most of all, for being my wife. 143.
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