Hillside Memorial Park

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Tour Description:

Hillside Memorial Park
6001 W Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Our team has provided traditional photography and video to Hillside Memorial Park for five years. In 2021, while taking photos at Hillside, I flew my drone and captured a number of aerial panoramas to create a simple demo – https://home3d.us/3DVista/Hillside-Demo/index.htm – which I presented to them. They reacted with interest however they had just contracted for a virtual tour with another company that specializes in cemeteries.

A year and a half later, they reached out to me explaining they were very disappointed with the tour the other company had provided. The 360 photos were not of consistent quality, navigation was confusing and many links took users in the wrong directions. It was a mess, they said. So they decided to write off that investment and wanted us to create a completely new tour. The property was ready that summer (2023) and we spent about 5 days at Hillside shooting aerial panos, ground panos (about 600 total) and FPV videos.

About the same time, we were creating a virtual tour for a parochial school near Los Angeles. 3DVista had recently added support for 3D models, a process we wanted to try out. So at the end of one day we flew a drone over the school capturing hundreds of images for photogrammetry. These were processed using Metashape and the final model became the centerpiece of StJohnsTour.com.

We arranged a Zoom call with Hillside and demonstrated StJohnsTour.com with the addition of its 3D model. The Hillside team was very impressed, asking the cost to add 3D to their tour, and soon approved the expense which increasing the entire tour cost by about 30%. We returned to Hillside on a day with great weather, flew the drone across the entire site (about 50 acres / 20 hectares) and also took hundreds of ground level photos of the sides of all major structures. Hillside is proud of many sculptures in the Park so we also collected photos of six 3D art works to process into 3D objects for the tour.

Multimedia content, equipment and technical details:

This tour contains nearly six hundred 360° panorama images, about twenty 360° videos used as live nodes (with audio), seven 3D models, and four videos. During shooting we utilized many different cameras, and Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Affinity Photo, SNS-HDR and PTGui, in addition to 3DVista. All panos are normal, not stereo panos. Some popups are planned for the future but only three (as test) can currently be found in the tour.

  • Ricoh Theta Z1 – probably the greatest usage throughout the tour. Advantages are excellent HDR, limited sun flares, and capture in raw DNG mode. Though processing steps are greater, its 1-inch sensors capture high dynamic range that can be expanded in Lightroom, output as TIFF and further enhanced with very little degradation. Final resolution is 7296×3648.
  • Ricoh Theta X – next most used camera. Advantages are simpler operation without use of connected smartphone, and also has excellent HDR. Limitation is capture only to JPG format, so less capable in very high dynamic situations such as extreme brights and darkness. We used solely the X only for scenes entirely outdoor. Final resolution is 11008×5504. You would think these to be far sharper than Z1 images, but the smaller sensor in the X yields an image that, to the eye, is approximately equal in sharpness to the Z1. Also sometimes has slightly greater sun flares.
  • Insta360 RS 1-inch – In testing, we found this camera’s bracketed 9-stops (1-stop per exposure) setting to yield the highest dynamic range from extreme darks to lights. This was an issue for shots in the Mausoleum which was darkly lit but contained many stained glass windows, often lit from the exterior by blazing direct sunlight. To achieve greatest dynamics, bracketed 9s were HDR-blended in Insta Studio and exported as DNG (important) to preserve maximum dynamics. These were then enhanced through Lightroom and saved as JPG for the tour. Numerous steps but worth the work. Final resolution is 6528×3264. Perceptive sharpness approximately same as Z1 and X.
    We also used this camera to capture 360° video at nodal points such as fountains and waterfalls, so visitors to the tour would have a live experience, audio included. Step to one of these nodes and the water features are both seen and heard. Captured as 6K video yielded final video resolution at 5888×2944, about the same as the still panos. Downside is that capture as mp4 without true HDR so dynamic range had to be enhanced in video post to make these nodes blend with the HDR still panos. But worthwhile trade-off to achieve motion.
  • Sony a7sii with Rokinon 12mm fisheye on Nodal Ninja panoramic head. 9 shots per sphere with bracketed 3s = 27 initial images – This system yields much higher resolution and dynamic quality with no stitch-seams softness at all. Captured bracketed 3s in Sony raw, enhanced in Lightroom, HDR blended in SNS-HDR, then stitched in PTGui. Final resolution is 13000×6500. Note that although these pixel dimensions are modestly greater than the Theta X images, these panos display much higher quality and sharpness than the X. As this workflow was considerably more complex, we used this rig only for some key areas like the chapels.
  • Production Video – Included in the tour is a production video we produced for Hillside in 2018. Can be found in the Videos button in Left Panel, named Hillside Remembrance.
  • Fly-Through Videos – Included in the tour are several FPV Fly-Through Videos. One also appears during data loading when the tour is launched. Others can be accessed by the Videos button in Left Panel or by clicking the Play (triangle in circle) blue icons in the tour itself.
  • 3D Models – the Tour has seven 3D models. The primary view is large 3D model of the entire property, about 20 hectares. At the Jolson Memorial there is a 3D model of the dome over Al Jolson’s tomb and another model of his nearby bronze statue. In the Canaan section there are four bas-relief sculptures which can be viewed as 3D models. All of these were created by photogrammetry from sets of still photos using Metashape and output in .glb format.

Tour Navigation:

  • Left Side Navigation – lists the names of areas at Hillside. Click any of these to “fly across” the 3D model to that area. The same can be done by clicking on any of the “text flag” labels that float above each area with a thin connecting line. Lower down are “link” icons that open a database of Hillside’s “Distinguished Residents” and its “Art and Architecture” features. There is also a map pin icon beside “Featured Residents” that opens a list of some prominent people interred at Hillside. Clicking a name in this list takes you to their burial site. A “Videos” button provides access to videos embedded in the tour.
  • Right Side Control Icons – the Back Arrow takes you back to the node your were previously at. Cube Icon takes you to the initial 3D Model view of the entire park. (Transport is immediate if coming from a 3D linked hotspot (Blue Spheres), Transport from other positions requires reload of the 3D model, a short delay indicated by blue loading bar at center bottom of screen. Cloud icon takes you to the Aerial panorama high over the center of the park. Clicking the Compass Circle toggles all hotspots off and back on. Question Mark toggles on and off some help identifiers for the tour.
  • Blue Spheres – displayed when you are in 3D Model View. These are hotspots that, upon clicking, take you to ground level locations.
  • White Pulse Dots – appear when you are in 360° panoramas. These are hotspots that, upon clicking, take you to the chosen location.
  • White Cloud Icons – appear when you are in some, but not all, 360° panoramas. They identify the positions of aerial 360° panos. Hover over each to see an identifier. Clicking moves you to that particular Aerial panorama from which to best view the identified area.

Creator: Home3d.us


  • 360º Panoramas
  • Drone 360 Panoramas
  • 3D Models
  • Drone Videos

Related Tutorial:

Tutorial: 3D Models – Fly-Over Mode

Related content:

Virtual Staging and Design Options

3D Model of a site – Fly Over Mode