Following is a description of the Meredith College Archives project
which created 360 degree images of the Meredith class dolls.
It is offered as an aid to others who may wish to try their
own VR projects.
Part 1 (2006): The general term for 360 degree images is virtual reality. For the doll project, 36 images of each doll were created with a digital camera and downloaded to a PC. Virtual reality (VR) software is used to "stitch" the images together into a VR object. The object is resized and converted into a Quicktime movie. The movie is then inserted into a web page.
Part 2 (2014): In 2014 the site moved to a new platform (Amazon Web Services S3, Simple Storage Service). We abandoned Quicktime technology for a newer one, which is typically used to display 360 degree images on retail sites such as eBay. We selected WebRotate 360 Product Viewer. Rather than using large Quicktime movie files that require users to download the very large Apple Quicktime/iTunes plug-in, WebRotate 260 works entirely in the browser.
1. Digital camera (2006). Sony DSC F717 Cybershot 5.0 megapixel. Cameras used in VR projects must have:
2. Tripod (2006) -- The tripod does not have to be of high quality, as it remains in one position throughout shooting.
3. Turntable (2006) -- Turntables specifically designed for VR projects are available. The Kaidan Pixi manual turntable is no longer available; Arqspin is a current turntable manufacturer. Any turntable can be used as long as it can be rotated in precise 10 degree increments.
4. Lights (2006) -- Two reflective umbrella lights. Photographic lighting is essential to maintain stable lighting conditions.
5. Backdrop (2006) -- 56 inch wide black velvet, textured gray simulated leather, and other materials purchased from fabric stores and Home Depot. As with any professional-looking photography, a suitable backdrop is essential.
6. Computer (2006) -- Gateway PC with 2 megabytes of RAM. The only PC characteristics required for this project were adequate RAM for the VR Worx software, and an internet connection or RW CD-drive for transferring images to the server where the web pages reside and downloading the Quicktime plug-in from the Apple Computer web site.
7. Web server (2006) -- The server is used for hosting the final web pages. Two gigabytes of storage were required.
1. A vacant room in the Meredith College library was used for the project. Windows were covered with black 56-inch wide paper to eliminate variations in light conditions.
2. An assortment of backdrops was used because the dolls had a wide variety of coloring. Black velvet was effective for creating a solid black background. It was not satisfactory for dolls that had black hair or clothing. In those cases the brown or gray backdrop was used. The brown and gray backdrops presented some lighting problems. Because the dolls are irregularly shaped, as they were rotated they reflected different amounts of light onto the backdrop. This often caused small variations in the brightness and color of the background, which were not possible to eliminate.
3. The dolls were placed on the Kaidan turntable. They were lit by lights set 45 degrees to the left and right of the camera. The lights were softened by reflective umbrellas.
4. Several test shots were made and downloaded to the PC to establish correct lighting conditions.
5. 36 images of the doll were then taken. One person moved the turntable while another took the pictures. With a remote shutter release it is possible for the photography to be done by one person, however. Once shooting began on each doll it took only about 3 minutes to take the 36 shots.
6. The images were then downloaded to the PC via the USB port.
7. VR Worx software was used to create the QT movie. The basic steps are:
8. Photoshop was used to create a thumbnail image for the web.
9. Dreamweaver was used to create a web page for the QT doll movie. Important considerations for the web page include:
The virtual reality doll project was supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina.
Project Director: Ted Waller, Carlyle Campbell Library, Meredith College
Photographer: Charlene Johnston, Meredith College Class of 2005.
Other Project Assistance: Martha Fonville, Carlyle Campbell Library, Meredith College.