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Tag "panorama"

The guys at kogeto are experts for panoramic videos captured using the a 360 mirror lens. The current high end product, Lucy, is widely used in education and science. The company now bring out a mini version for the iPhone allowing for panoramic video capturing in stunning quality on the gadget of choice.

kogeto Dot
Image taken from mobiles-actus / The kogeto Dot 360 panoramic lens kit attached to the iPhone 4.

This is especially exciting since there were earlier on urbanTick some panoramic imaging articles using the 360 lens for normal sized cameras mainly for timeLapse projects like the London Small World. Back then we use the 360 VR.

The panoramic imaging stuff at large cale was definitely being introduced to a wider audience via the Google Street View and brought to people by the GOogle StreetCars. However they still use a number of cameras on the car roof, as doo most of the panoramic image capturing projects such as Nokia and some London Borroughs.

kogeto Dot
Image taken from designboom / The kogeto Dot 360 panoramic lens kit attached to the iPhone 4.

The real peoples gadgets were the GigaPans using the GigaPan platform to share the panoramic images. For moving into panoramic images there have been for a long time only very few, very specialised and expensive systems. Google tested it, but also Microsoft has some projects running in their research labs for it to be used for in-car navigation and driving directions. After the success of Google Street View on and off the streets, other companies set about to deliver the same as 360 panoramic videos. They asre mainly targeting tourist destinations.

Video by Christian Mazza / For the interactive version, ‘A walk through Soho in New York while they are filming Men in Black 3’, playing in the original video player please, please click HERE.

To have it not as a gadget fot he gadget and be able to shoot panoramic videos on the iPhone on the go it fantastic. This is really taking the technology a step further and making it accessible for a wider user group.

The Dot clips on directly to the iPhone 4 via a semi iPhone case and is ready to go. kogeto ships the lens together with a software that wil automatically unwrap the image and display it interactively on the iPhone screen so that you can pan around as you record. However, the lens of course also works with the normal camera app or any other timeLapse app for example. The unwrapping however has in those cases to be done in postproduction.

kogeto Dot
Image taken from mashkulture / The kogeto Dot 360 panoramic lens kit attached to the iPhone 4.

The product should be ready this summer at kogeto they are working hard at geting the stuff out. They are using KickStarter to fund the project and have been extremely successfull and already high above the targeted funding sum. However you can still becone one of the funders of the project and for $98 you will be the first to get a Dot for your beloved iPhone.

Video by kogeto / The promotion clip for the Dot.

Via MashKulture.net

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360 panorama stuff was discussed ere a number of times. Starting with Google Street View to panoramic timeLapses and then also for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010 the ‘Google Slope View‘. There are now however, tests ongoing with 360 video for panoramic views. The Microsoft driving project featured her or on DigitalUrban the 360 video street view. Those were only tests and proof of concepts, but now comes the first beta of a 360 panoramic video in an online presence. It is again for a winter resort and you can hop on the lift, the clip gets you up the hill, of course including free 360º panoramic view and you can then ski down the sopes, no need for clicking the next arrow head, but concentrating on the navigation of the view. Yes its the real thing – onSnow over at slopeView.com. You also get a few walks through the resorts village.
Video quality is not that amazing and it is sort of guessing what the more distant view is, but nonetheless a fully working comercial version of a 360º panoramic video tour.
Thanks to Jason for the link.

There are, however more of these platforms poping up everywhere. VideoStreetview.com for example is another one that offers Google Street View style video tours covering Switzerlandand parts of France.

Image taken from videoStreetview.com / Leonhardsgraben in Basel Switzerland.

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A short and rather hastily put together timeLapse of the snowfall over the last night here in London. It all happened very quickly, with the darkness came the snow down from the sky and started covering the landscape.
It is shot with an iPhone 3GS and put together in quicktime. Music ‘A Touch Of GenIus’ by Daniel McKenzie at Mp3unsigned.

Snowed In Over Night from urbanTick on Vimeo.

The following night was clear and very cold. London was quiet all day and especially in the evening. I went out with the GigaPan pack and my G10 to take a couple of panorama shots with the snow. It was freezing and that is probably why I didn’t pay enough attention on what I was doing and ended up with hiccups in my shots. Also the GigaPan didn’t really cope very well with the freezing temperature and gave up after two and a half panos. I have also a few new shots on my flickr account HERE. My pano at GigaPan can be accessed HERE.

Image by urbanTick

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I am testing some new gear, a GigaPan set to use for automated, very detailed panorama shots. I have done a few test over Christmas and it works really well and delivers impressive results. Even though the apparatus looks complicated the setup is straight forward. However the thing drains it batteries very quickly and because it is so cold at the moment I can only about do ten panoramas with one load of AA batteries.
It is a lot of fun and the detail of the images are great, the downside really is that one image is just too big and all the raw data eats up so much space on the hard drive.

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Image by urbanTick

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New development on the navigation gadget front. This time it comes from Microsoft and that is in it self a bit surprising. So far the company has not been closely linked with navigation. In general they are trailing behind everyone, generally trying to improve the stuff other have developed and promoted. In this sense this ‘new’ development has to be looked at.
The research featured as an article on Technology review this week where its chef researcher Billy Chen introduces us to the concept. They are using video for driving directions. Instead of Google Street View, they are playing video recordings of the route in Microsoft Virtual Earth. The research is partly about the recording and synchronising of the map a video, but partly also about the influence of this method for direction instructions. The results of course claim that the animated instructions enable participants to find the route easier, with 70% to 60% for participants who were instructed only with image (Google images I presume).

Image by Microsoft – (a) Original spacing of panoramas. (b) Final spacing of video frames, after slowing down at landmarks/turns and speeding up between. (c) Straight ahead orientation. (d) Final orientation with look ahead. (e) Widening the view and freezing the landmark thumbnail.

However, the paper written about the project can be found HERE. It has to be noted, that it i not simply a replayed clop. An important feature of the software is the way it focuses on landmark and guides the users view files. It is not a passive record that has just followed the movement. Rather it is a carefully calculated section of the 360 Degree recording. Through this movement emphasis is put on certain aspect along the route, say a landmark. This means that the route somehow has to be processed and interpreted. How quickly and with what kind of system the software can be rolled out is not clear,         

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In the context of the Small World time Lapse series I was obviously interested in what else is going on in this field of panoramic photography. Just by chance I also came across new smart camera cars in the neighborhood. I approached them and we had a chat about their work.
They were expecting me to ask about Google Street View. They responded by apologizing for not working for Google and it turned out they work for the London based company 360viewmax (it was printed in rather big letter all over the small car) and they are doing a job for Islington council. It appears that the council has discovered the value of Street View for their purpose. They want to use it for maintenance survey. What that is I haven’t really figured out.
How it works is quit complicated at it involves two people in the car. There is a secondary quite big writing on the back of the small car: “Caution this vehicle stops frequently“. Meaning what it says, the car stops every 20 meters or so to take a picture. It is kind of done manually. Beside the driver the second person in the car has a laptop with GIS information on a map. The location of the image is, I believe manually input into the GIS system. GPS as they have told me is only used for rough navigation as they say it is not accurate enough. Compared to this the Google cars just drive along the road and take photographs on the go. The argument of 360viewmax is that they want to deliver high quality images with a lot of detail. The installation on the roof of the car is three Nikon p6000 cameras. Funny enough the cameras have a built in GPS module but it is not use.
However, there is a cool demonstration of it on the 360viewmax webpage (I had some issues with Firefox this morning when I tried it, but it worked on Safari). You can click into an Islington neighborhood and down to street level to jump into bubbles of 360 panoramas. The interface is rather crude and located somewhere in a GIS technical engineer kind of world. Maybe they develop at some point a neat designed consumer interface.

Images by 360viewmax – screenshot – plan overview, panorama, zoomed in on a car

There has been this huge debate about privacy around Google Street View and they where forced to blur faces and number plates. In this council version of Street View however these elements are not blurred and number plates can be read for example.
In terms of Google Street View, it has sparked a lot of controversy, especially around the launch of it in a new area. I remember the fuzz about it in London for a week, when it first launched earlier this year. And just a month ago the launch in Switzerland sparked the same discussion. Now in London there is hardly any comment on it in the news, apart from the odd use of the service to visualize a location. Also in everyday conversation the fear for losing privacy has been replaced by curiosity and acknowledgment. People speak about it as a useful tool, mainly saying: it is great to see a location that you are not at. Then they bring the excuse of planning for a journey and it would help to orientate in unfamiliar surrounding. We’ll it might do but come on it does not really replace being there. It is related to the phenomenon of the photograph and the discussion of truth. In general photographs are believed to be a true image of reality and therefore Google Street View is in this view a digital replication of the actual scenery at this location. So it urges the question whether it is live and people can be seen, because people identify with it so intensively that it becomes a virtual reality.
However if you are interested to know where the real Google Street View cars drive a t the moment Google has finally disclosed this information. Not in detail, but you get an idea what areas are getting mapped at the moment and the chances are that you come across a Google camera car. You can click here.

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Images by The monument View Project – Screen shots on 2009-08-11

Looking back at the London Small World clip I produced a few weeks ago, there is some contextual stuff that should be published along side.
One such project is the London Monument View. It is quite simply what the title suggest and in short the 365/24/7 version of London Small World. It is a camera with a 360 degree lens that is installed on top of Monument in London. It gives a live webcam image and also a previous day time lapse.
It is an art project by Chris Meigh-Andrews installed in 2008 during the renovation of the Monument. The idea is to process the images according to environmental data. In detail this means the orientation of the images corresponds with the wind direction, the air temperature influences the colour tone and the wind speed the speed of the image stream.
The construction on top of the monument looks like this; funny enough the glass jar in the middle is the actual lens case, so quite small and the weather station taking a lot of space.

PastedGraphic.scg3nhOfXSMC.jpgPastedGraphic3.c0FoW0tikpHm.jpgPastedGraphic1.fYZwub0Oo3u1.jpgImages by Chris Meight-Andrews – Finished installation, environmental sensors, lens VR360

The environmental sensing equipment is the same as Andy Hudson-Smith over at digitalurban uses. He has a live page that also works on the iPhone.
To see today’s Monument panorama go here there is also a log book where you can access any data in 2009. If you are interested in today’s time lapse click here you probably have to wait a second for the clip to load.

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London Small World was posted last week here on the blg. The 360 VR timelapse processing has been very tricky. Some result was on the blog earlier this month, but it was a complicated workflow and the result has raised some questions and eyebrows.
The main problem arises from shooting scenes with different zoom settings. At first the idea was to zoom right in to the mirror to allow for as much resolution of the focused 360 area as possible. This has become less and less important because of the fact that there is enough pixels anyway for HD use with 5mp capture settings and I also realized that the frame and the background, usually the sky around the mirror make for a good backdrop. The first trial was run on the bases of a cutout version of the mirror set in a white space. The HD dimensions did not really matter, later with the requirements of the background the dimensions and the proportions became important or rather defining.

Image by UrbanTick

Having this variety of zooms it makes it virtually impossible to get an insinc version out, using the current scenes. Solution, going out a shoot some more. It has to be seen as a go experiment and some conclusions have to be drawn from it. So, for me this means, think about the workflow and requirements of each step of the work flow first! And then go out and take pictures. Well it wouldn’t be fun anymore if we’d known everything beforehand, would it. The experiment is the exiting bit, isn’t it.
Anyway some more tests with a more elaborated workflow using FinaCut or AfterEffects to adjust and aline the image content.

2min15 London Small World from urbanTick on Vimeo.

The conclusion is basically that I will go out again and capture some more material. I will be using a more strict set of camera settings to make sure the raw material is easier to compile.

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Finally the new timeLapse animation is here. It was shot quite quickly in two days, while having reasonable August weather. The editing process was more of a problem, though. It is shot with a G9, some 1480 stills. While using the 360 VR this was quite an installation and there are issues with the zoom level. Because this has to be done manually it is different in each scene and this proofed a problem in the editing process. Photoshop is a helpful tool and without the batch function there would be no timeLapse, but for synchronizing the frame over different scenes it is quite tricky. I know video editing software would do the trick, but the rendering process would consume about the same amount of time.

Image by UrbanTick – StoryBoard

Anyway here it is, with eleven scenes from around central London (I know I should get out once! Any suggestions for places?) Funny enough I spent two days sitting underneath the tripod and studying the scenes. The angle of the VR mirror allows for sitting underneath so I dono appear in all the scenes, but still in a couple of them. In the empty Gordon Square I had to use some bread to attract pigeons otherwise it would have been a bit boring. Other scenes like the Millennium Bridge it as too crowded there was no need for intervention. Sorry for the shaking in this particular scene, but the bridge is in motion because of the crowd. If you sit (like me) or stand there for a while, you can feel it.
So the little worlds are up now, and maybe you spot yourself in the clip somewhere.

London Small World from urbanTick on Vimeo.

music by bradsparky at m3unsigned.com

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Some still of the scenes I have been shooting the last few days. It will be an other London timelapse eventually, but requires some image processing that takes a bit longer. But anyway I thought they look beautiful even as stills.


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