Reading and comprehension: 7 minutes.
“Virtual tours and virtual reality (VR). The two go together like bread and butter, needle and thread or cheese and wine”. (3D Vista).
What can I say? I love this statement! But cutting the cheese and opening the wine, slicing the bread and spreading the butter, or threading the needle, are procedures that have to be learned.
The technique I am presenting is new. It is an evolution of the technique I presented in 2018(2Q) to the international panographic community, during IVRPA TOKYO. The original technique was calculated to work with Fullframe sensors and 8mm optics. This revision has been calculated to work with 220º angle of view optics, which are mounted on 360º cameras and their sensors.
You can use any 360º camera with support currently on the market (Ricoh, Insta, Qoocam), etc, or other discontinued ones, such as: (Nikon, Kodak, Garmin)…. All of them are valid for this technique. All of them use ultra fisheye optics, with a FOV of 220º.
It is important to bear in mind that we are only going to use the camera on one of the two sides, so if you have the opportunity to acquire a Ricoh Z1 with a broken lens, don’t miss the opportunity.
It can also be done with DSLR’s with APSC or Full Frame sensors and Entaniya HAL lenses.
SHOOTING WITH PARALLAX
If the panorama is spherical it is nodal, but if it is stereoscopic it needs parallax. We can obtain parallax in the horizontal plane in two ways: by misaligning the entrance pupil on the lateral axis (side by side) or by misaligning the entrance pupil on the longitudinal axis (rotational). To shoot with parallax we need a photographic rotator, you can easily find it in any photo shop.
As you can see in the drawing, the distance between the vertical axis of the tripod and the vertical axis of the camera is five centimetres. This distance is not the interaxial distance, it is the parallax (offset). It has been calculated to be able to work indoors respecting the volumetry in VR mode.
If you use too much parallax, the stereopsis will make everything look too small, if you use too little, everything will look big in VR mode. For this reason 5cm is the starting point. In time you will learn to work with variable (Off-Set).
The photo rotator has each of the 360º of rotation marked on it. So if you want to imitate the capture of an INSTA PRO or an INSTA PRO 2, you will have to take six photos, one every 60º.
If you want to mimic the Insta Titan or the new Obsidian Kandao PRO, you will have to take 8 photos, i.e. one photo every 45°. And you can use the software of these cameras to do the stitching. Just change the extension of your photos from .jpg to .mov. If that doesn’t work, open your photos in PS and export them as one second video segments (mp4). These cameras use a high (Off-Set), due to the physical law of impenetrability. In other words: They cannot make the cameras smaller, because there is not enough space inside. This is the reason why the TITAN INSTA produces (Miniaturisation/Dwarfism), because of a high (Off-Set) and cannot be used indoors.
Leaving aside the miniaturisation issue, the Insta Titan offers superior stereoscopic quality than the Insta PRO, due to the use of 8 cameras instead of 6. And likewise, the quality of the Kandao Obsidian PRO with 8 lenses is superior to the classic Obsidian with 6 lenses.
You will get the highest stereo quality by taking 12 pictures around. I have spent a lot of time and carried out a lot of tests to make this claim. That is: one photo every 30º.
Using a five centimetre (Off-Set) and taking twelve photos, the result is a MEGA INSTA PRO with 12 optics, and a diameter of 10cm. The stereography will be perfect. And the volumetry in VR mode will be just like the real world.
This is the frame (double fisheye) I get with the Samsung 2016.
The Samsung 2016 allows me to activate or deactivate the cameras on each side, in this case I have used both so you can see the capture sequence. I rotate the photo rotator and trigger the camera from its APP. Easy and simple.
For post-production, we will logically only use the front camera, so we will have to process the circular fisheye frame in Photoshop to give it a 1:1 aspect ratio.
To view this image in stereoscopic mode you will need to wear Red/Cyan anaglyph glasses. (click on it to see it in full resolution). Keep in mind that the anaglyph system is the most finicky, so if it looks good in anaglyph, it will be spectacular in VR.
As we have already seen, capturing is not complicated, but it is slow and requires a lot of attention. Make no mistake, all photos must be exactly 30º apart. If you are only going to take four or five photos there is no problem, but if you are dealing with a large property or museum, you will end up tired and you will make mistakes that you will not be able to fix in postproduction.
To solve this problem I advise you to use a photographic servomotor.
This RIG is not for sale, but you can build it very easily, it’s only three pieces and your usual tripod:
Leofoto 25 (LeoFoto).
Mecha E1 Servomotor (Panosociety).
Controler C1 (Panosociety).
To attach the Controller to the servomotor you can use industrial double-sided adhesive tape. This is sufficient, because the unit is not stressed.
I see that it is more economical to buy the two units together, the servomotor and the controller. In that case when you receive it you will have to separate both units. It’s very easy, you just have to remove three screws.
I would like to inform you that I have applied to the MECHA manufacturer for the option to shoot the Ricoh Z1. When this is possible, only one button will have to be pressed, like on the original Matterport.
There is no software in the world dedicated to stitching stereoscopic panoramic photographs. Both Google and Facebook in the last five years have focused on stereoscopic video, and ignored photography. And the same thing has happened with the traditional photography manufacturers, no one has bothered about photography.
PTGuy can be used to stitch stereoscopic panoramas, with acceptable results. The technique consists of applying cat’s eye masks to each photo. This preserves the area where there are no stitching errors, and corrects the zenith and nadir, where these errors are concentrated. With a little practice, the process is very quick. You can do it in less than twenty minutes.
If your job is to make virtual tours, you can’t spend hours and hours stitching dozens of panoramas, so let me help you. Send me the twelve photos by email and in 48 hours you will have them stitched and ready to start making the Tour. stereovrp (AR) gmail com
The system I use is based on the experimental software of a now defunct VR video camera. With this system I get the vertical stereoscopic alignment to be of digital quality. This is immediately noticeable in VR mode.
What is noticeable is the cleanliness of the stereography.
In the future, when there is enough demand. My intention is to create an Android based APP for the Ricoh Z1. Just download it and the stitching will be done in the cloud.
I have everything I need, but, the development is expensive because I have to outsource it. And now is not yet the time, especially because of the novelty of this technique.
In the meantime, so that stitching doesn’t become a bottleneck, I offer you stitching tickets for only 5€. Only for 360º cameras. Please consider this fee as a tip. (Please do not ask for an invoice). The time I’m going to dedicate you is not compensated with this amount.
CHECKING STEREO QUALITY
Before you start assembling the Tour, you will want to check the stereoscopic quality. I will send you the photo in (Under/Abobe) format. You just have to ingest it in 3D Vista, and activate the VR mode.
Next you will need an analogue tool, a Victorian-style stereoscope. I recommend the one designed by Brian May, Queen guitarist. Doctor of astronomy. Stereography enthusiast, and owner of the London Stereoscopic Company.
The VR OWL will surprise you. You won’t notice any smearing effect or chromatic aberration. For the first time you will see a 360° photo in stereo mode and with photographic quality.
JUST ONE MORE THING; STEREOSCOPIC PARALLAX.
It has not yet been adopted by HMD manufacturers.
Using an HMD, we can perceive stereography and lateral parallax. This is not 6Dof, but it is very comfortable and visual.
The frame is composed of three equirectangular panoramas: Right, Left and Center. The central one is a nodal panorama simulation, obtained by interpolation. The combination of these panoramas allows us to create two stereo pairs: right and left and the result is the perception of parallax and stereography.
If you are interested in making a stereoscopic panorama, write me, and I will send you the instructions to send your tip via PayPal.