A good stereopanography requires the knowledge of the two techniques that compose it: Stereography and Panography. It is important to read and understand the TUTORIAL section.
Capturing 360º VR requires attention to some aspects that we had not previously taken into account. First of all, we have to think that it is a technique for indoor capture, in which there must be no element in motion. For this reason we will have to close the windows, to avoid that the wind moves the curtains, we will have to turn off the television or to use a fixed image in it, we will have to turn off the ventilators, or the pendulums of the wall clocks. In short, we are going to use a valid technique for still lifes.
Other aspects of capturing interiors are already known, such as the compensation of interior and exterior light, taking photographs at dawn or dusk, or the use of DNG capture that will allow us a greater dynamic range.
The position of the camera will also be a very important aspect in the capture of the 360º VR, as viewers will see the photos from the same perspective in which they were captured. If we are doing a virtual tour, it will be visualized standing up, so the height of our tripod must be at eye level.
It will be very important to use the appropriate interaxial distance for each scene, this value will determine the amount of depth effect. The intention is that the volumetry of the photograph is equal to that of the human eye, using VR equipment, so it will be very important to use the correct interaxial distance for each scenario.
Operating the control unit
Turn on Sterimathic by holding down the switch button for a few seconds. When the Led´s has finished fluctuating, the system is ready for operation.
To activate it you must click on the number of the program you are going to use, and then you must click on “Play” on the arrow that faces the ground. From now on you have a few seconds to hide, don’t forget that if you see the camera, the camera will see you.
In your mobile connected to the Z1 you will see how Sterimathic advances and stops so that you can take pictures without “Motion Blur”, if you use the program 2 you will have to take 6 pictures, if you use the program 3, you will have to take 8 pictures.
To turn off the unit, press and hold the switch for a few seconds.
Sterimathic’s power and control unit, Mecha E1, has three capture programs. The first one (Nº1) will make a 90º capture, that is to say, it will take four photos around. We will use this program for 2D capture.
To get a perfect photo in 2D format, you’ll need to make the fine nodal adjustment exposed in the side GIF. Then use capture program number one.
Programs 2 and 3 will take captures of 60º and 45º, which are 6 photos in the first case and 8 in the second.
The operation is very simple. Press the power button for two seconds and when the leds stop fluctuating it will be ready. Then press one of the three programs and execute the program by pressing the “play” arrow that looks to the right.
PTGui is a software used by professional photographers for the realization of spherical panoramas. Currently it does not have stereoscopic tools, but it is easy to use it to render right and left images.
But we must not forget that PTGui has been designed to work with nodal captures, and that its use for stereoscopic panography is not contemplated by the manufacturer.
For this tutorial we are going to use version 11.13. This version includes support for the Ricoh Z1, but only in 2D format, so before we start we need to prepare the photos using Photoshop.
In this case we have used the program of capture number 2, which takes a photo every 45º. These 8 photos contain two circular fish eyes that we will have to separate before stitching.
NOTE: The photos on the front camera will be used to compose the panorama on the right and vice versa. In Photoshop we will separate them and name them as: R1, R2, R3 etc and L1, L2, L3, etc
Click on the photos to download them in real size.
Once separated we will have 16 circular “fish eyes”, and we can start stitching in PTGui:
This is the main screen of PTGui, the first thing we have to do is to ingest all the images together.
After the manipulation in Photoshop, PTGui will not recognize the metadata of the photos, so we will have to idicate it manually: Generic Fisheye Lens, 6mm.
The panorama is now ready to align.
But first click on the “CROP” option and adjust the ring to the photometrage, matching its edges.
Now we go back to “PROJECT ASSISTANT” and press: ALING IMAGES.
We can observe that there are no stitching errors in the central 170º, although some deformations appear in Zenit and Nadir. This is logical, because we are stitching NO-Nodal images.
To export the panorama on the right side, click on “CREATE PANORAMA”. And we will deactivate all the images on the left side. We will ask this for a stitching “SHARP 0,05” and we will use the Spline64 interpolator.
To export the panorama on the left side, proceed in reverse order:
Once both panoramas are exported, we’ll have to go back to Photoshop, where we’ll check the stereoscopic quality and also mount the “Under/Avove” frame.
Open both panoramas in the same project, placing the right panorama at the top, and double click on this right layer.
A pop-up screen will open, in which you will have to deactivate the Red RGB information. And ready, we have a 3D anaglyph panorama (Red/Cyan). If you like more the anaglyph (Green/Magenta) “Trioscopics”, deactivate the Green color information.
Now you can export the anaglyph panorama to check its quality using some kind of “GoPro VR Player” software.
Click on the images to enlarge them:
Looking ahead, you won’t find the slightest stitching error, but in Zenit and Nadir we’re going to find some deformations. My recommendation is to make the Virtual Tours using a 160º angle of vision, this way these errors will not be seen.
Now let’s go back to Photoshop to create the “Equirectangular Stereopair”. The first thing is to increase the size of the canvas, increasing its height to the same value of its width.
And now it’s important to know, that the layer on the right should go at the bottom.
Once both views are adjusted, the “StereoPair” is ready for Image Banks, Virtual Tours, or directly; Oculus GO.