Here is an example of how Quicktime VRs can be used in an Art and Design class as a means to teach pupils how to use the equipment as well as providing pupils an opportunity to examine architecture and local geography.
Simply put, VR movies are just a bunch of still picture taken in sequence of a scene around you.
So really it’s a bit of a con. However, they can be very effective and can give a sense of reality to an otherwise, ‘flat’ image.
What you need
Digital stills camera
Any type will do, obviously compatible with your computer.
You’ll need special ‘photo stitching’ software, but that may well come free with your camera.
If not there are some freeware programs available to download.
Creating VR movies
First you get pics
Exterior or interior shots work.
Stand in one position
Practise your panning action (usually clockwise is best)
Set yourself up
Keep the camera level (a tripod is ideal – That’s a tripod not iPod)
Remember you need to create an overlap between each shot (about 10 – 20% so that the software can match the two frames)
As you move round,keep a picture in your minds eye of the previous frame and the starting frame.
Take each shot in turn, until you arrive at your starting point (overlap here also)
Transferring to your computer
Any way you like for this-
(remembering your image format will have to be compatible with the software)
Using the software
The software is usually easy to use. There are basically 3 steps. To using the software
1 Collect your images together on the pasting area of the program
(You need to arrange them here in the correct order)
2 Stitch the images with a ‘Stitch’ button
(This is usually takes the form of a preview)
2 Save you stitched image
3 It’s important to save the file in the correct format
4 Apple use ‘Quicktime VR’
PC’s may use a different format
5 When the file has been saved you can usually view the result immedialely
Some tips and pitfalls
Flat lighting is good
Low sun is bad
Centre of an area – not in a corner
Keep horizon level as you move round
(tripod is good but with practice hand held works fine)
Cars,people, animals etc – try to minimise this or you can get ghost effects.
The built environment
Investigating our built surroundings is a valid rewarding activity for pupils at all levels.
It encourages reflective thinking and develops knowledge of design and architecture, enhancing pupils critical skills and their ability to think independently.
Virtual tours do not replace first hand experience but can open up areas which are otherwise difficult areas to explore in reality.
Recording these investigations graphically develops a far clearer understanding of detail, structure, pattern and materials forming the elements of our towns and cities.
Again, first hand exploration is ideal, but being able to access varied areas with a virtual tour can make it much easier to draw comparisons between very different surroundings.
3D image to Map
Relating a photographic image to a map or diagram can be testing. Clue need to be translated for this to happen effectively. Again this requires close observation and making connections.