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Thread: Panos from Fullscale - help

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    Senior Member Vantage Point's Avatar
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    Default Panos from Fullscale - help

    Hi all,

    Looking to see if anyone here (Greg) has experience shooting panoramics from a full scale heli. I need some help with how it's done! Basically running into the problem of keeping the camera in the same place. I don't care how good the pilot is, that camera is going to change positions as you pirouette no matter what. Is there any way to accomplish this without having some kind of specialized "camera ball" mounted outside the heli?

    There's a distinct possibility here that I'm just no good figuring out the stitching software, but being that I've been able to make panos with my polecam before, I think there's gotta be more to it.

    Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

    Tim
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    Colorado Aerial Photography and Real Estate Photography - Vantage Point Imagery, LLC www.VantagePointImagery.com

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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    Tim I'd talk with Mark as well. He has shown me an example of one that him and Greg did. Mark ran the camera and stitched the picture so I'm sure he'll have some info for you. But from what I remember it was done via a tail turn. Or a couple tail turns.

    I have a buddy here locally that went up in a heli to take a few pictures for a client. He borrowed my camera and asked the pilot to go a tail turn while he took pictures. He took 180 degree picture. The stitching took some work but it ended up turning out pretty nice.

    Let us know how this turns out.
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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    Hey Tim,
    I seem to remember Mark and Greg shooting some full scale panos too.
    Have you attempted it yet, or are you just in the planning stage?
    I'd like to hear some of their suggestions too.

    For the stitching, it is much easier to do with a stationary mast. How many shots are you needing to shoot with your current lens/camera setup? Are you using a wide enough lens/fisheye? That would make stitching a little easier. I bet it is also difficult to work around the larger platform spinning since your nodal point will be in a circle instead of a point...and not getting the skids in the shot.

    Tip
    It's all of the little things that make the big things happen.

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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    For close subject, the focal point is important, but IMO anything over 400' you can be anywhere in a 100"circle and it should come out just fine..

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    Senior Member Vantage Point's Avatar
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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    No we did the shot yesterday... fortunately I think all the customer want are a "series" of images, but for our own sake we wanted to stitch them into a 360 degree circular panoramic and I shot the photos with that intent. I used 2 different lenses - a 28mm and a 22 mm. I'm certainly not an expert with pano work, but have done a few with our mast setup and have had good results. I'm using PTGui, and basically just can't get all the images to line up properly. The auto control point placement normally works ok, but I spent forever fixing the control points - even then it didn't give me a good stitch. I'll place the control point on the EXACT same spot in 2 different images, and I'll get errors of up to 50 (usually around 25-30).

    From the heli we hovered over one spot at 140' AGL and spun the tail around to capture the images. I knew we wouldn't have a fixed point for the camera, but hoped it would be "close enough". Is there a better software, or techniques with the software I'm just learning to use (PTGui)? Or, perhaps there's some method of capturing better images in the first place?

    Tim
    Colorado Aerial Photography and Real Estate Photography - Vantage Point Imagery, LLC www.VantagePointImagery.com

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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    Ptgui is a great program. I've had the same issues when stitching. You do have more leeway when higher up like Lvspark said, but the closer your images line up, the easier it will be to stitch. To make it easier on the pilot, what about hovering in one spot..even better if autopilot/gps available..making a simple mount on a short stick to drop below the skids(with safety lines of course)...weighted for more stability..and pan it by hand??

    Tip
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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    If any control points are in the sky, they have given me real head aches.
    What camera and lense?

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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    I'd go wider if you can. How many shots does it take at 22mm to stitch a sp pano?

    Tip
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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    Sigma makes a nice 8 mm lens.
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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    Oddly enough we had more problems stitching the pano shot with the wider lens than with the narrower lens. I was finally able to put together 2 180 degree panos instead of 1 360. They're not without flaws... but you've gotta look really close to find them. Just to be clear we were never trying to do sphericals, just 360 horizontal panos.

    Here's a sample of one of the 180's.



    Tim
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    Colorado Aerial Photography and Real Estate Photography - Vantage Point Imagery, LLC www.VantagePointImagery.com

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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    Ok, you said "circular" and my brain heard "spherical". That makes sense. It turned out nice. I'm sure the more you do, the easier they will become.

    Tip
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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    All I can tell you is they are very difficult to achieve, and it takes a significant amount of processing each individual image in PS to remove unwanted elements from the stitching process done by PTGui. Mark is a master with this technique. I could tell you how to do it, but then I'd have to kill you.

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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    Well, ok Greg. I'll go to great lengths to learn something new. Go ahead...tell me....I'll make the sacrifice. Or wait...I'll trade ya for some of that fancy wine that comes in a box. ;D

    Tip

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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    360 aerial pano like this? http://elearning.biworldwide.com/pro...final_sun2.mov

    Its easier to do with an RC heli.

    Pat L

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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    This has come up before and I'll share my experiences from being a full-scale pilot. Anything is possible but it is not the easiest thing to hover a helicopter 'up high', maintain position, altitude, AND turn around a specific point of the helicopter (ideally the nodal point of your camera)

    Higher is better in terms of parallax errors.

    I never did have someone approach me with a pole or rope to dangle below the heli but I'm pretty confident it would work well.

    Anyway...your shot looks great!

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    Default Re: Panos from Fullscale - help

    This guy does it regularly with a full size heli:
    http://www.bigeyeinthesky.com/

    I believe he dangles a pole below the heli.

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    Senior Member PhotoShip One's Avatar
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    what we are going to be using from a Jet Ranger starting next week. A prototype from PhotoShip One.

    360 coverage from nadir through about 20 above horizon from 4 shots at one time. We begin flying with it later this week or next.

    Until now we have been shooting them while the pilot hovers. An nearly impossible task to shoot a clean pano with that method.

    With the new rig shown below we will shoot 400' AGL panos at about 60mph with nearly zero stitching errors.

    DJ Vegh
    AZ ChopperCam
    PhotoShip One
    Mesa, AZ

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    Senior Member mpartovi's Avatar
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    Wow DJ, thats very cool!

    So is the mount going to be hanging below the helicopter?

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    I agree, very cool. You're always setting new standards.

    Will this method be used for linked panos where you can 'fly' along a path?

    Troy
    "Always In Motion the Future Is..." YODA

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    Wow, can't wait to see some results from that DJ! You're pushing the bar higher every time you post!


    David

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    Senior Member PhotoShip One's Avatar
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    So is the mount going to be hanging below the helicopter?
    Yes, if the concept works there will be a mount designed to fit on a Jet Ranger cross tube that will raise and lower the rig. An STC will have to be applied for as it is illegal to attach anything to an aircraft without one. That process could take up to a year. In the mean time I'll be testing the old fashioned method.... hanging out the door and dropping it below the skids.

    Will this method be used for linked panos where you can 'fly' along a path?
    Yes, that is the end goal. I am going to work with our Flash artist and the studio I work at and have him put together an interface.

    For now we are using GE (must have the v4.2 or higher for this to work)

    http://azchoppercam.com/google-panoramas.shtm
    DJ Vegh
    AZ ChopperCam
    PhotoShip One
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    Senior Member 500Driver's Avatar
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    DJ,

    An FAA "Field Approval" should be easier to get than an STC.

    In fact an STC will be very expensive and time consuming.

    Take your local FSDO rep out for lunch, show em' what you've built and ask him nicely if you can strap it to the heli...good chance you'll be flying with it in no time...won't be able to sell it...but at least you'll have one

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    The mount looks great DJ nice work. That's a lot of coin hanging there. I think Greg at one time was talking about building something smilier.

    D.

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    Cam on a stick, hang it below the helicopter....hey wait, that was my idea! Oh...4 cams on a stick? I didn't think of that.

    Nice work DJ.

    Tip

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    DJ, great concept! Just a thought though... if each camera was swung down through 90 degrees, the "nodal point" or its other names would very closely line up with the centre support (apart from being a bit to the right), which I would imagine would reduce stitching errors even more.
    Tony Stott

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