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How we created our 360-degree tour of Bletchley Park

Ever wondered how those look-everywhere videos are made? Here's how we did it.

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2D is so yesterday, right? These days, advances in camera and software technology are making spherical, look-anywhere video increasingly accessible to both video professionals and enthusiastic amateurs. If you've ever wondered what goes into making a 360-degree video, hit play on the video above, where we explain how we made our recent VR tour of Bletchley Park -- where Alan Turing and his code-cracking colleagues broke the Enigma code.

Choosing the right kit

Right now, shooting in 360 is about trade-offs. High-end solutions include GoPro rigs with six cameras, the footage from which is later stitched together to create a virtual sphere you can look around in. These setups are ideal for capturing extreme sports or anything with lots of movement because footage from six cameras gives you loads of resolution to play with.

There's a downside though. Often when those clips are stitched together, you'll notice a slight overlap where the join isn't perfect. For our 360-degree tour of Bletchley, the right tool for the job was the Ricoh Theta S, which captures images from just two lenses and stitches them together automatically.

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Luke Westaway/CNET

That automatic stitching means no overlap, but the Theta S' two lenses leave its video resolution comparatively weak. Our Bletchley project called mostly for indoor scenes with no movement however. That means we could use the camera's still photography (which captures at a whopping 5,376x2,688 pixels), and rely on post-processing effects to bring our scenes to life.

Hit play to see more on the lengthy editing process and watch our intrepid videographers hide behind various bits of foliage to avoid the camera's all-seeing eye. It's all glamour, this job.