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You can now see the ceiling of The Grand’s Copeland Hall close up, thanks to VR

Unified Web Media's new robotic panohead lets you get closer to the iconic ceiling than you ever could in person.

A closeup of the ceiling at Copeland Hall, captured in UWM's VR tour. (Screenshot)

This editorial article is a part of Technical.ly's Tech Stacks Month of our editorial calendar. Join Technical.ly at Super Meetup Delaware on Aug. 1.

Once again: The VR business changes quickly. Really quickly.

In April, we interviewed Larry Strange, founder of Unified Web Media (UWM), a Wilmington-based visual technology company that specializes in virtual tours. At the time, UWM had recently completed the VR tour of the 76ers Field House, a project Strange said looked very different from his VR tours from less than a year prior.

“The tools that I used six months ago ago are much different from the tools that I’m using now, not just because I’m spending more money for better stuff, but because I’m able to access hardware and software that just didn’t exist,” he said in an interview with Technical.ly at the time.

Only about three months have passed, and Strange reached out to us with another big upgrade:

“[W]e purchased a robotic panohead (Seitz Roundshot) that allows us to achieve DSLR quality in a stitched 360 image, dramatically improving the overall user experience and quality of our tours,” Strange wrote in an email. “We can now harness the power of a traditional DSLR body and lens into our automated tour production workflow.”

What does that mean, exactly?

See for yourself: UWM took some test footage using the robotic panohead at Copeland Hall inside The Grand, which you can check out here.

“If you look at the details on the ceiling artwork you can see how much the improved resolution stands out,” said Strange. “Click on stairs in front of the stage to see an ‘easter egg’ photo of the camera and panohead in action.”

The Grand footage is pretty eye-popping, even without putting it in VR mode (though if you have a headset, it’s definitely worth breaking it out). A good VR tour makes you feel like you’re really there. The higher resolution allows you to see details you would never be able to see in person.

And, in honor of Tech Stacks Month, we asked Strange for UWM’s stack:

  • Nikon D850 and Z6 cameras to capture gigapixel panoramas
  • Insta360 Pro 360 Camera for updating Google Street View
  • Seitz Roundshot robotic panohead to automate the image capture workflow
  • Adobe Creative Cloud for color correction and video editing
  • 3D Vista tour editing and stitching software for image composition, interactivity, and analytics
  • Oculus Go/Quest/Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets for immersive playback of virtual tours
  • Microsoft Cloud Hosting for robust and scalable online tour playback
  • Custom analytics built with JavaScript/HTML5
  • Twilio for SMS based promotion of virtual tours
  • Alexa and Google voice assistant integrations for promotion of virtual tours (coming soon)
Series: Tech Stacks Month 2019

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