How to shoot panoramic photos

Nick

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Aug 9, 2007
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I know how to shoot quick and dirty pano but I'm wondering how to do it the right way and as cheap as possible. I'd like to do one of the interactive VR's like John Fowler does on his site, http://www.lumenetic.com/. I know this would typically involve a really expensive pano head but I'm wondering if anyone knows of a way to get it done cheaper. The idea is to move the camera back on the tripod so that it pivots on the nodal plane, right? I'll be doing this indoors so distorting things as little as possible is my goal.
 

John Fowler

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Jan 17, 2012
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I know how to shoot quick and dirty pano but I'm wondering how to do it the right way and as cheap as possible. I'd like to do one of the interactive VR's like John Fowler does on his site, http://www.lumenetic.com/. I know this would typically involve a really expensive pano head but I'm wondering if anyone knows of a way to get it done cheaper. The idea is to move the camera back on the tripod so that it pivots on the nodal plane, right? I'll be doing this indoors so distorting things as little as possible is my goal.
You don't have to worry about the nodal point unless there is something nearby and you are going to make a high-resolution pano. If you do need to rotate about the nodal point, a pano head is a requirement. These are expensive and heavy, so I recommend doing a trial with the camera just mounted on the tripod as usual to see if that works. If high-resolution is a requirement, you will probably need to take lots of overlapping shots (maybe 10 to 20) using a moderate focal-length lens and stitch them together. Most of my 360 panos are not very high-res and were made from three overlapping shots with a fisheye lens (I use the Sunex 5.6 mm on a Nikon D7000). There are several software packages that do the stitching and file creation for you. I happen to use PTGUI Pro. If you're doing it for a Web site, the output consists of ~15 jpg files along with a htm , js, and swf file, to accommodate all recent browsers. Or you can make a Quicktime .mov file, but it is not as universally readable.

Getting the area right below the tripod is tricky and I usually just finesse it by distorting the bottom part of the jpeg image from which the 360 files are made. If you are shooting outside in direct sunlight, HDR is a must. PTGUI haqndles the HDR for you or you can preprocess the images with your favorite HDR tool.

If you are going after high-quality indoor scenes (for instance, for a real estate company to put on their Web site), you will need to shell out for a pano head and high quality fisheye or wide angle lens.

If you just want a "cylindrical" 360 (one that doesn't look straight up or down) then you can indeed just move the camera back on the head so that it rotates through the nodal point as you pan around. You can probably make yourself an adapter out of wood or plastic for this purpose.

If anybody wants more information, ask away and I will try to answer as well as I can.
 

Ben

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Sep 12, 2014
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any one know of a program for stitching 360* panoramics into a continuous image?

DSCF3132.JPG
 
Last edited:

Ugly

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PTGUI will do it, but the free version leaves an annoying watermark. I played around with it a little, but not enough that I wanted to purchase it.
 

Ben

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Sep 12, 2014
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PTGUI will do it, but the free version leaves an annoying watermark. I played around with it a little, but not enough that I wanted to purchase it.

i did end up finding PTGUI, but haven't played with it enough to figure out how to stitch the ends together.



Nothing wrong with this pic.....

i also like this picture Bob, but i'd like it more if i could get the ends stitched back together so that one could zoom in on it, and then pan continuously, rather than running into either of the edges. posted as it is, it's hard to make out the Tetons on one horizon, and the Wind Rivers on the other.
 
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