“One and One” means one minute of capture and one minute of postproduction.
And this was made possible by the absolute precision of the Fanotec Mecha E1, which made it possible to work on Mistika VR using photographic “Presets” for the first time.
The result is that we can take 12 stereoscopic pairs in less than a minute and process the 24 images in another minute.
The stereoscopic alignment is digitally perfect, thanks to interpolation, and the “Optical Flow” completely eliminates parallax/stitching errors.
The Stereopanoramas, which we have been looking for for decades, are now a reality.
Mistika VR is a software dedicated to the composition of 360º videos in stereoscopic mode. Its operation is based on the presets made by the S.G.O. team. To date the most complex “Preset” that had been made was for the “JAUNT ONE VR Camera System” composed of 24 cameras.
However, in Mistika VR you won’t find photographic presets, the reason is simple and is that until now, there was no standardized capture. To standardize the capture I counted on the collaboration of Roman Dudek, digital engineer of S.G.O, who advised me about the ideal overlap for Mistika VR.
The interpolation used by Mistika VR requires an extra overlap for 3D. The horizontal overlap is easy to handle, because we just need to take more or less pictures around, but the only way to increase the overlap in Zenit and Nadir, is making two rows.
Mecha E1 is not an automaton, It is a Robot, composed of a logic board, a processor, battery and one output port which feeds a peripheral servomotor. And for this reasons the precision is robotic and absolute.
Pseudo-nodal alignment consists of keeping both entry pupils aligned in height and depth, and only misaligned on the horizontal axis, this nodal misalignment being equal to one half of the interaxial distance used.
Any artisan photographer has rotators, angles and clamping systems to build a two-axis nodal head. But if you want to build it using professional parts, you can find everything you need on the web sites of : Nodal Ninja and Fanotec.
Nodal Ninja Mecha E1 Stereo.
For the construction of this model you will need a Nodal Ninja NN3 and an Mecha E1, to which you will have to add a 90º angle, a horizontal plate, and the fastening brackets of both cameras, that Nodal Ninja offers in a Kit.
The operation of this equipment will be exactly the same as that used during the tests, so the results are perfectly extrapolable.
The first step was to carry out the necessary load tests, checking that the weight of 2 cameras Sony Aplha 5/6 series, together with their optics, is lower than the maximum load recommended by Fanotec.
The second step consisted of resolving the shooting of both cameras, using an audio cable splitter, that can be purchased at any telephone store.
NOTE: Sony cameras do not have native genlock, except for the UMC-S3CA model, so any attempt to fire them in sync will only be an approximation.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
ONE MINUTE CAPTURE
You will receive the Mecha E1 with three factory-set programs corresponding to 90º / 60º / 45º captures. Thanks to these programs, you only need to charge the battery before using the Mecha E1. Later you’ll learn how to program it.
Once your RIG is mounted and the Mecha is installed, we are ready to start:
We’re going to use a two-row 60-degree catch, with a 30-degree pitch. This template is valid to work with: 7.5 / 8 / 10 / 12mm, and we can use FullFrame or APSC. It has been proven that in all possible combinations, we have enough overlap.
1º) Light the Mecha E1 by pressing and holding down its switch for a few seconds, until it starts to illuminate, when the lights stop flashing Mecha is ready.
2º) We will always start from the low row, and always turning clockwise. Otherwise, the preset won’t work. We will adjust the inclination with -30º and we will activate Mecha, pressing the number 2, and the arrow to the right.
Mecha will make a complete 60º rotation, making six stops, in which it will take 12 photographs.
3º) Now we will have to manualy vary the inclination to +30º, and to make the second capture, in the same way that the first one, in total this operation is made in less than 60 seconds.
ONE MINUTE POSTPRODUCTION
The post-production system is amazing, you have to see it to believe it. Mistika VR operating on a Lenovo i7, 1050 Geforce and 32Gb Ram, takes thirty seconds to perform the stereo stitching, and another thirty seconds to perform the render, the whole operation in less than 60 seconds.
1) Open Mistika VR and create a new project in 6K. For the time being and until the implementation of the 8k VR Gear, it is not necessary to work at a higher resolution. An Oculus Go does not present quality differences between 6K and 8K. On the other hand, when working with 6K, the system requirements are significantly reduced.
2º) Go to windows media browser, and ingest the images, simply by dragging and dropping into Mistika.
3º) A second popup window, which will ask you how many cameras has your video RIG, in our case number of photos, enter the number, in this case 24 and check the box: “Use default preset”.
Display the presets folder and search for: Twin60twoRow
When you click on “Continue”, the Stitching process will start at the same time that Mistika ingests the images, it will take a few seconds and when the image appears in the cambas, your stereoscopic panorama will be ready to be rendered.
Until now it was impossible to use Mistika VR for photography in the same way that it works for video. We were forced to use PTGui, Autopano or Hugin, but now it is no longer necessary.
In a video camera, the different cameras that compose it are not going to move, they are always going to be in the same place and with the same inclination. For this reason, making a video preset takes time, but it is not difficult and we have the guarantee that it will work correctly on any camera in the same series.
To make a “preset” for a multi camera RIG like the “Jaunt” that has 24, the first thing to do is to position each of these cameras in space, then make a correction of the “off-set” used, and then a correction of the angulation of each of the 24 cameras. For this we have manual controls that allow us to vary the angulation in three axes. When the Stitching errors are almost negligible, then we can always apply the “Optical Flow” as little as possible, and finally adjust the color correction.
The presets for photography are made in the same way, it is a process that requires a correct knowledge of the “soft”, as it does not allow errors. The realization of a good preset takes several hours of work, but once finished, the rest of panoramas of the same series of capture, is done quickly and accurately.