Spherical panoramas, also known as VR (Virtual Reality) or QTVR (Quicktime VR) panoramas are one of the newest and most exciting developments that have spun off the digital photography revolution. They are a unique photographic representation of the world as captured in photography that exists only within a computer and can be viewed only on a computer monitor. Utilizing a sequence of 4 or even 5 computer programs, one starts with several to many shots (6 were used here) by fisheye lenses in a 360 degree sweep from a tripod head. One "stitches" the shots into a flat picture the equivalent of a flattened world map. One then processes that picture in the usual digital fashion for color, contrast, and sharpness. Lastly in another program one creates a picture the equivalent of standing inside a sperical ball and the picture is projected in 360 x 180 degrees on the inside walls of that sphere from one's eyepoint. From that eyepoint one can then "look" in any and all directions to see the entirety of the surrounding scene. Furthermore, one can zoom in for detail or draw back for perspective. It is, in 2 dimensions, as close to 3 dimensional as one can get. An unusual combination of both "static" as a picture and "live" as in 3 dimensional, it differs from live video in that the viewer is in control of what one sees and from a self determined close or distant perspective.
It takes a special program to present these pictures, Quicktime or DevalVR are the most common. They can't be viewed unless one has these programs pre-loaded on your computer. Both Quicktime and DevalVR are available as free downloads.
After the program is loaded and one is looking at the initial static picture, then scroll in 360 directions with left click and mouse. Stop and enjoy wherever you wish. Zoom in with SHIFT, back out with CTRL. ENJOY!
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