Tech

There’s tons of information out there on the Internet for making 360 x 360 degrees panos but I still had a hard time when I was starting out and thus, here’s something I feel will be helpful.

1. Selecting your Pano Head/ Hardware

kp_01.jpg

I used the KingPano and it gets the job done well but:

a. It could be lighter.
b. No way to quickly release the camera from the mountings for non pano shots aka normal shots. The only way is to leave the whole thing (fix and lock at taking a zenith location) on while turning the bottom slightly off so eye can go into viewfinder to take a shot.
c. Changing batteries from my Canon 350D means stripping everything from the bottom of the camera with screw driver needed.
d. No able to be used with my battery grip (Canon BG-E3).

But for the price, not much to complain. It’s about $150SGD. There’s others like the 360 Precision (most pro and ex at 1kSGD), Kaidan, NodalNinja and others. I’ve since been swearing by Nodal Ninja.

2. Taking the Shots

2.1 Finding the nodal point/ entrance pupil. Whatever they call it, you have to find this point before you start taking anything! If not, you’ll end up with a lot of parallex errors when stitching. This is a good tutorial.

2.2 Test your shots before heading out with your gear to understand your setup. How many images to take, how much degree to tilt to take. I use a Canon 350D with a Sigma 10-20mm lens. I need:

a. Tilt upwards 40 degress, take one photo every 30 degrees, total: 12 (360 degrees divided by 30)
b. Tilt downwards 30 degress, take one photo every 30 degrees, total: 12 (360 degrees divided by 30)
d. Tilt downwards full 90 degrees and take one nadir*.
e. Take a few (if not sure) handheld nadir shots after removing the tripod.

zenith – This is the top image
nadir – This is the bottom image

3. Software

a. PTGui (http://www.ptgui.com/)
This is for the stitching all the photos together into what is known as a equirectangular image.

b. Pano2QTVR (http://gardengnomesoftware.com/)
This is use to break the equi image into 6 sides flat images so you can edit them, add your signature. This can even generate the final HTML coding and use your preferred plugin. Flash, Quicktime, DevalVR, you name it! Pano2QTVR is also the primary software I use to generate all Quicktime panos.

c. Photoshop CS2 (http://www.adobe.com/)
Needs no introduction.

d. Pleinpot (http://www.qtbridge.com/pleinpot/pleinpot.html)
Pleinpot is used to generate the final coding. If you are using Pano2QTVR already, you do not need this. I use both at times.

4. Links

a. Read everything from FromParis, especially this page.
b. Dr Karl’s website. Lots of info and tips/ tricks.
c. Panomundo.
d. Forums from Panoguide. Slow answers and limited traffic but if there’s anyone to ask, it’s here.
e. Another site of good tutorials on Photoshop targetting specifically VR photographers.

Please read through all the links. If you read through all of them and try it out and some trial and errors, I am very sure you will be able to get at least your first 360 pano up and running.

Leave a Reply