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You are in: Norfolk > Sense of Place > Norwich > Ice Rink 2004

19 October 2004 1746 BST
Take a 360° spin on the ice
Picture: Visitors try the ice-rink
Waving your arms seemed to help keep your balance!
Jump onto the ice from the warmth and comfort of your desktop with our exclusive interactive panoramic videos.

video To watch interactive views you will require RealPlayer. Download this free plug-in with help from BBC Webwise

As thousands of skaters prepare to enjoy the fun of The Forum ice-rink, you can now enjoy a virtual skate with the BBC Norfolk website.

When The Forum ice-rink opened in mid-November 2003, more than 28,000 skaters slid, shuffled, twirled and clowned their way round the ice with varying degrees of expertise.

Using the latest interactive video technology, you can now get a feel of what it's like with our 360° video views.

Did you take to the ice in 2003? Can you spot yourself or a friend on the ice-rink?

Just click on the link below that suits your connection speed, sit back and enjoy.

Picture: Ice skaters 360° panoramic view - dial up
Picture: Ice skaters 360° panoramic view - DSL
Picture: Ice skaters Widescreen view - dial up
Picture: Dave the ice-rink marshall Widescreen view - DSL

For the panoramic views press SHIFT or CTRL to zoom in and out of the picture. You can also pan left or right by moving your mouse on the image in the direction you want to go.

Tip: If you want to experience the cold icy blast that goes with a whizz around the ice - just open the window before you view, but don't blame us if you get a cold!

When you've tried a virtual skate, remember to check out the skaters' gallery to see if you've made it onto our pages. Even if you haven't skated, there are some real photo gems to enjoy.

You can also enjoy more 360° views taken from around Norfolk.

How it works

If you just want to enjoy the magic, stop reading now. If on the other hand you like to know these things - grab your anorak and read on.

Picture: 360° lens

The DV system uses a Sony TRV900 camcorder with a 360° lens. The camera records the full 360° view in one go.

The camera chosen is used due to its small size, its 3CCD spec and it ability to shoot in progressive scan mode.

In the view finder, the scene appears as a doughnut shaped image. The set up for the camera compensates for the impact that the specialist lens had on the camera.

Due to the nature of the shoots, the camera is often fixed on its auto setting as making manual adjustments is not possible due to the positioning of the camera and the requirement to stay out of the shot.

The DV cam and lens are mounted as with the stills system on a tripod off and L-bracket. The camera and lens point up vertically in the air so that the full 360 degree view cam be taken in one go. The user then hides below the tripod whilst the camera is running.

Once the material has been shot we process the doughnut images using bespoke software, edit it as required using Adobe Premiere and then encode the footage with Real Producer to low and high quality for users on modems and on Broadband

In addition to The Forum ice-rink, the DV system has been used on the London Eye, a virtual tour of Silverstone and a trip across Bristol from a Cameron hot air balloon.

To view the images users require Realplayer v8 or RealOne player and 40k behere plugin.


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