An in-depth look into Karsten Moholt's Google Virtual Tour
The Capture Factory’s international journey began when we signed the contract with Karsten Moholt. It was definite we were going to Norway to produce their Google Virtual Tour. The project was an adventure to say the least! We couldn’t have achieved this without our travel counsellor. The Capture Factory have created other Google Virtual Tours before, but never have we travelled so far for a job. This Google Virtual Tour was a huge job for us, and it could have gone very wrong, very quickly…
On the day I was travelling, I stopped by the office to gather the last pieces of equipment. When I arrived, my business partner told me my flight had been cancelled! The first thing I did was call our travel counsellor. I found that everything was already rearranged, and another flight was already booked for me!
So I made my way to Heathrow Airport where I caught the plane to Bergen, Norway. The flight gave me the opportunity to prepare myself for the large amount of work ahead. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy job, and I only had one chance to get it right.
After I got to the hotel, I made the short journey to Karsten Moholt. The trip gave me chance to really experience Norway. The views were amazing; from every direction I could see rocks, water, and boats.
Normally when I produce a Google Virtual Tour, I get the chance to go and look at the premises first. This would allow me to survey the building before I shot the images. But, because I was in Norway, I had one opportunity to get it right. Getting back to Norway to re-shoot is something that I did not want to consider.
It was almost lunch time when I started shooting the virtual tour. The plan was to shoot the whole factory in a single day. Then I would create a basic layout ready to present the following day. Capturing the Google Virtual Tour on the first day gave me time for corrections. This meant I could make the necessary changes and ensure I got the best visuals.
Firstly, I had to work out all the places where I was going to set up the camera. I did this in order to capture every inch of the factory within the tour. Everywhere I placed the camera I had to take 12 shots: 3 shots from 4 different angles. I had to make sure one was light, one was dark, and one was very exposed. This is so there is a high dynamic range (HDR) making every angle of the tour clear. Overall, it took around 5 hours to shoot the whole factory.
After a very long day, the photographing was finally complete. I headed back to the hotel to upload and layout the tour. What would normally take a whole day to upload back home, took only the car journey to upload. Amazing broadband!
Eventually I managed to make a really basic version of the tour to present to the company the next day. It was important they got a real feel for the tour and were happy with everything. This also allowed us to make any changes they wanted.
It’s never until the client actually sees the tour that they realise how important attention to detail is. Karsten Moholt had kept the factory tidy for a whole 2 weeks before my arrival, in preparation for the shoot. However, it still wasn’t the perfect look they wanted. The camera sees more than the eye and as a result, everything needs to be prefect.
After a very early meeting discussing the tour, we established some parts needed re-shooting. We decided to re-shoot the factory section of the tour for the purpose of great presentation.
This allowed Karsten Moholt to make it look completely how they wanted it to look. We gave them time to make the last few changes to the factory. This included tidying up a few things, making the place look more professional. Afterwards I had to check everything was right; ensuring I had every shot, at every angle, in every light.
When being so far away from home, there was no room for mistakes since I was in Norway. I couldn’t easily come back to re-shoot! Everything I produced within the two days had to be perfect.
Capturing Karsten Moholt’s Google Virtual Tour
The next step when producing a virtual tour is the build and layout of the images. This was complex for Karsten Moholt’s virtual tour as they required a multi-layer virtual tour. This is because there was more than one level to the building. Finally, this step began the next day at The Capture Factory, after my long journey home. On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed the trip!
The finished tour is now live on both Google Maps and Karsten Moholt’s website. As a final point, to progress their tour further, we encourage Karsten Moholt to develop a layer which sits on top of the tour. This will be especially relevant as it can give information, labels, and explanations about the different aspects of the factory.