Bletchley 360 behind-the-scenes: How our VR tour was made
In creating CNET's 360 degree video tour of Bletchley Park, we learned a lot about the nature of this immersively video technology, its challenges and its enormous potential.
Crafting a 306 degrees experience is very different to the 2D video we normally produced, the first principle is the same.
stating out what story you want to tell.
In our case it's a story Brachly Park, Britain's core HQ throughout the second world war Here teams of cryptographers including Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman worked tirelessly to break German Enigma transmissions.
Invaluable efforts that not only pushed computer science forward, but are credited with shortening the war by several years.
Today the park is open to the public and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year who come to learn about the park's code breaking history and to walk in the footsteps of its famous figures who worked in cramped, prefabricated huts sworn to total secrecy concerning their intelligence gathering roles.
Capturing the spirit of these rooms is a huge job, but to do so we've opted to use a particularly small bit of kit.
The Ricoh Theta S, available for just $350, or 300 pounds.
So you might be thinking that this camera is way too small to be doing 360 stuff like this.
And You're sort of right.
The thing is, with 360 video at the moment, everything is a trade off, that's just where the technology is right now.
So you can capture 360 with a big goPro rig that has six goPros in it, and afterwards the feed from those six goPros gets stitched together.
However what you often get with that is a little bit of overlap where the joins haven't quite gone smoothly enough.
But what you do get is the resolution because we are shooting mostly indoor scenes where there isn't any movement we're actually using stills and this Rico's camera can capture high resolution stills indeed.
The video resolution because there are just two cameras isn't so high but the stills It's perfect, and the join that you get is much less visible so that was our decision in the end.
The first challenge when shooting 360 is not appearing in the frame yourself.
We can't be anywhere in the frame, so whenever you take our stills, you have to close the door.
And take it like that.
We have to do a lot of hiding on this shoot in case we're in some of the 360 images.
Right, okay let's duck down together, there we go.
Standard, wonderful hiding place .>>Ok.
By her side.
He was disgusted with himself.
The [INAUDIBLE] captured by the [INAUDIBLE]
For the basis of our 360 degree tour.
But there's lots more to capture from stills to ambient audio.
For up close storytelling nothing beats 2D video and as we want to incorporate a lot of flat footage into our 360 sphere out comes the [UNKNOWN] 100 for closeups on this original Enigma Machine.
It is a wonderful sound,
Can you, can you do that for me?
Yes, of course.
Back in the studio it's time to put it all together.
Editing 360 degree photos and videos is done with the image flattened out like a map of the world.
When assets are superimposed onto this they become part of the sphere.
Using an Adobe Premier plug in called SkyBox 360, we were able to tweak the scene before adding our narration track, music, and sound effects.
The final step is to use a code injector to add metadata to the file that tells YouTube and Facebook to render [UNKNOWN] As a sphere.
And now, you're ready to enjoy [UNKNOWN] Park in glorious 360.
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