Hi there and thanks for checking out the 360ify blog. This first post will be a bit of background on the business and me, Steve Wooding.
I've always had photography as a hobby from an early age, even taking it as one of my optional GCSEs back in the analogue days, since the school had a darkroom. Digital was a big step forward in getting instant results and feedback on what you've taken and so I took many, many more photographs.
I then got into taking panoramas, stitching together multiple photos together to fit more of the scene into the shot. Of course, the natural progression is to spin the camera all the way round, a full 360 degrees. It then becomes necessary to use special software to let the viewer move around the scene and choose what to see and focus on. A very crude version of virtual reality, but I was keen to let the viewer decide on what to see and what they felt was important about a scene.
If you then link together multiple panoramas, you can build a virtual tour of a space. This was something I was really keen to pursue and maybe do it professionally. So I got a fish-eye lens for my DSLR and a special mount that meant there were no parallax movement as the camera rotated. For each position, multiple shots had to be taken at different exposures to balance out the light and dark areas across a whole scene (HD photography).
So the shooting side took a long time. But that's just the start. Then when you got back to the computer, the images needed to be stitched together, processed and linked together to form a virtual tour. The process took a long time and in order to turn it into a business, I would have to charge a lot of money. So I let the idea go for a while.
Then last year I found a camera system that auto rotates, takes the different exposures and stitches the scene together all by itself. As a bonus, the camera does a 3D scan of the scene and produces a 3D model that the viewer could explore. The output could also be viewed in mobile virtual reality headsets. So the system had a few unique selling points beyond simple 2D panoramas. Great for a little business.
So here I am today, with the website more or less complete and ready to start scanning spaces. Now I just need to tell everyone I can think of about this fantastic way businesses can present their spaces on the web.