Paris panoramas, technical informations
I hope the information of this section will allow you to start creating panoramic images and spherical Quicktime VRs of your own. Or maybe better understand the processes involved. If you want to add or correct something, or just submit a question, use the contact form.


iPhone fisheye: unexpensive spherical panoramas

Written by Eric Rougier ,

iPhone spherical panorama
Small iPhone fisheyes are one unexpensive solution (~$20) to make your first spherical panoramas.
It's not the same quality as a DSLR camera with an expensive 35mm fisheye but it's working fine, it's easy and you have always your phone in your pocket. (not a DSLR + fisheye + panohead + tripod + bag)

Paris Panorama 1 : Paris, Eiffel tower, 360x180 made with an iPhone
Paris Panorama 2 : Night spherical panorama, iPhone also
Paris Panorama 3 : Very, very closeup panorama, same hardware
Paris Panorama 4 : Panorama 4 shots with the Pixeet fisheye

iPhone fisheye FE-12
FE-12 fisheye magnetic detachable lens for iPhone and other smartphones or pocket video recorders.
You can find it on Ebay, Amazon, Fnac, etc...

-> Read the complete article & HOW-TO: iPhone fisheye, unexpensive spherical panoramas

 

Video : Make a hand-held 360x180 panorama in 3 mnts

Written by Eric Rougier ,

hand-held panorama in 3 minutes

This video
explains how to create a hand-held spherical (360x180) panorama in 3 minutes. No tripod, no pano head, no photoshop. Just a camera, a fish eye and your hands.



Paris English soundtrack : View the video on YouTubeDownload the HD AVI video in ZIP
Paris French soundtrack : View the video on YouTubeDownload the HD AVI video in ZIP

Thanks to J.B. and the PanoGuide forums for help, english translation and voice over.

hand-held panorama in 3 minutes


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Video : create a full Quicktime VR 360-180° in 10 minutes

Written by Eric Rougier ,

create a full Quicktime VR 360-180° in 10 minutes

This video
explains how to create a complete spherical panorama / Quicktime VR (360°-180°) in 10 minutes, step by step, from the shots to the stitching part. Special thanks to Robert Haddock and Christine Collier-Roberts for their help. (voiceover and translation)

create a full Quicktime VR 360-180° in 10 minutes

[EDIT 1] You can now directly add the NADIR picture in PTGUI (or in some other softwares) to save more more time. All other steps in the video stay the same.

[EDIT 2] If you don't use an auto-stiching software, you have to create your own template(s) for your camera + panoramic head + lens


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Basic information to create a clean Quicktime VR 360°-180°

Written by Eric Rougier ,

There are as many techniques as different ways to build a panoramic image or a spherical Quicktime VR through stitching. The one described below is one amongst others. It probably is the easiest one to reproduce. It's up to you to adjust it according to your needs. (as above)

Quicktime VR
Basis
For greater ease, this example's shooting is based upon an horizontal row of 6 pictures, a top view (zenith) and a bottom view (nadir) using a VR head mounted on a tripod. (see below)

Quicktime VR Hardware
- Camera : Nikon and 10.5mm / Canon 1DS or Mark x DS and 15mm Sigma / Canon 20D and 10-22mm, Canon 5D x, etc.
- Support : a panoramic head (Panosorus, Manfrotto, Kaidan, 360Precision...)
- A good tripod
Panorama, Quicktime VR lens
Nikon 10.5mm - Sigma 15mm - Canon 10-22mm...

Quicktime VR
Preliminary settings
- Photo : The camera must be set to manual mode for focus, exposure and white balance to avoid any offset of the point, light and color setting between images.
- Camera + head : Beyond the correct mounting of the head and camera on the tripod, you have to define the nodal point to get pictures that are easy-to-assemble.

Quicktime VR
Nodal point documentations
- Alain Hamblenne wrote a documentation on an adjustment method called "the grid":
http://www.outline.be/quicktime/tuto/ (available in english and french)
- Arnaud Frich is giving large details on the topic and on the ways to operate these different settings (french only):
http://www.arnaudfrichphoto.com/guide-photo-panoramique/point-nodal.htm
- Manfrotto also has a page dedicated to the subject:
http://www.manfrotto.com/303SPH/main.php?cnt=howto

How to make a panorama, Quicktime VR 6 views to make a panorama, Quicktime VR

Quicktime VR Shooting

1 row of 6 horizontal pictures + 1 top + 1 bottom
Quicktime VR logo view the video

There are many ways to "shoot" the bottom (nadir) :
- 1 view by handholding the camera after taking good marks and placing yourself out of the shooting field.
- 2 views with the camera inside the head, above the screwing joint of the tripod (add a logo to hide the remaining circle).
- 2 views by making sure, if your head allows it, that the camera is outside the monopod if you are sure not to have problems with paralax and/or offset.
- etc
panorama, Quicktime VR : the Nadir and the zenith

Quicktime VR Creating the bottom picture (nadir)
Whatever software you're using (Photoshop, The Gimp...), your goal is to stitch all 2 or 3 images to get a bottom image free of any part of the tripod/head.
[EDIT] You can now directly add the NADIR picture in PTGUI (or in some other softwares) to save more more time. All other steps in the video stay the sames.

Quicktime VR
Stitching

It can be done using multiple softwares with different processes, including:
- RealViz Stitcher : http://www.realviz.com
- PTGUI : http://www.ptgui.com
- PTmac : http://www.kekus.com/ptmac/
- Autopano Pro : http://www.autopano.net

Panorama, Quicktime VR : stitching softwares

Quicktime VR
Publishing (flat, Flash, Java, Quicktime VR, etc)
After stitching and rendering, the resulting image (spherical, cylindrical, etc.) can be displayed "flat" or interactively through the Flash, Java or the Apple's Quicktime VR technologies.
- Realviz Stitcher enables a direct Quicktime VR and and Flash rendering
- CubicConverter is an excellent conversion software: http://www.clickheredesign.com.au
- Flash Panoramas : http://flashpanoramas.com/player/
- Krpano Flash player : http://www.krpano.com
- Immervision Java and Flash Player : http://www.immervision.com

Enjoy your shooting...

Panorama, Quicktime VR : Sainte Chapelle de Paris


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Playing with the spherical head 360Precision "Adjuste"

Written by Eric Rougier ,

Pano head 360Precision Adjuste 360Precision logo video : pano head 360Precision Adjust

Since 2004 360Precison has produced pre-set panoramic heads with very high precision and designed to work with specific couples camera / lens such as Nikon D70 + Nikon 10.5 mm or Canon 5D + 8mm Sigma... This head, the "360Precison Adjuste" adds to their catalog a model that fits to all kind of photographic equipment, with a lot of new features. > see the video


Pro
• Adjustable for all cameras and lenses
• Precise : very, very precise after the setup
• Reliable and resistant, like a rock
• The 14 clickstop on the arm (see above)
• A small base (= less Photoshop work on the nadir)
Cons (almost)
• £595/$US995 a professional price or for serious hobbyists but it can be justified by the quality, the precision and the $aving of time.

360Precision: http://360precision.com - 360Precision forums: http://forum.360precision.com

Panorama, nadir Canon 5D, Nikon 10.5mm Panorama, nadir Nikon D70, Nikon 10.5mm, 360Precision Adjust Panorama, nadir Nikon D70, Nikon 10.5mm
nadir Canon 5D/Nikon 10.5mm nadir Nikon D70/10.5mm
360Precision Adjuste(-15°)
nadir Nikon D70/10.5mm

Eiffel tower, champ de Mars, just before the fireworks


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A smaller hole on the nadir = less work in Photoshop

Written by Eric Rougier ,

With a 10.5mm Nikon lens, the size of the "hole" on the nadir, when creating a Quicktime VR, can be significantly reduce, and then reducing the amount of work in Photoshop. To do this, you simply need to tilt your camera when shooting the last 6 shots row until you can see the panoramic head in the lower part of the photo (-10°, -15°...). The size of the circle to edit will then depend on the size of the panoramic head used.


Quicktime VR
Quality
There is almost no quality difference in the overlapping area with the zenith if you shot your pictures with a closed enough aperture, choose FINE or RAW as your saving parameters and with an angle allowing a good overlap.The following details are from a 'normal' render (0°) and a render with tilted images (-15°) of 10.000x5.000 pixels/Smartblend.

panorama Eiffel tower details

Eiffel tower détail 1 Eiffel tower détail 2
zoom (0°) - zoom (-15°) zoom (0°) - zoom (-15°)

Quicktime VR
Horizon
The current available softwares (Stitcher, PTGui) allow to align a panorama with a single click.

Align the horizontal

Quicktime VR
Exemple and images
You can find here the final fullscreen Quicktime VR file and all the composing images
- Download the ZIP file 6+1+1/-15° (21 MB)
Note: The nodal point of my images is not really... not at all perfect :-)
Quicktime VR Softwares
The stitching can be done with Stitcher Unlimited (http://stitcher.realviz.com), PTGUI 5.x (http://ptgui.com)..., etcYou can see here the four steps to create this panorama with Stitcher : from the loading of the 'fisheye' images, the automatic stitching and aligment, to the final render of the panorama (using smart blending option)

Stitcher Unlimited 1 Stitcher Unlimited 2 Stitcher Unlimited 3
[1] Loading fiseye images [2] Automatic stitching [3] Aligment
Stitcher Unlimited 4 Stitcher Unlimited 5 Stitcher Unlimited 6
[4] Result [5] Rendering parameters [6] Final render

Quicktime VR
Nadir Patching
The correction of the nadir can be done easier and quicker now. It's possible, if it doesn't have a lot of details, to use only the "patch" tool without using the 8th photo (often taken handheld). For more information, watch the video about the realisation of a Quicktime VR : Open the video in a new window - Dowload the video (ZIP 32 MB)

Quicktime VR
Hardware / Pano head
For all these tests, I used a Nodal Ninja 3 (http://nodalninja.com) panoramic head because it has a very small base. (Thanks to Bill Bailey for his help)

Panoramic haed Nodal Ninja 3 Panoramic head Nodal Ninja 3 Panoramic head Nodal Ninja 3
Nodal Ninja 3 Horizontale screw Nodal Ninja 3 + Nikon camera

Pro
• Not expensive $2xx
• Light, small, compact & easily transportable
• Very small 'click stop' base: 5 cm (see above)
Cons
• Does not support Nikon D2X, Canon Mark II, DS, 1Ds, or similar sized larger DSLR’s

[EDIT] Check the Nodal Ninja for the new pano head : http://nodalninja.com


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Quicktime VR in 3 shots with a Nikon 10.5mm on a Canon 5D

Written by Eric Rougier ,

Canon 5D and Nikon 10.5mm
Canon 5D + adapter + Nikon 10.5mm Head for my first tests

[EDIT] The Nikon fullframe cameras (x1 rather than x1.5) now allows to disable DX Lens recognition, like the Nikon D700 and the Nikon D3. Electronic AF and diaphragm coupling remain the same.

As a result you get a spheric view of three pictures, without having to shoot the zenith and nadir. After removing the Nikon sunshield, the angle covered is about 200° (!) on the Canon EOS 5D "fullframe" sensor.

This technique offers a lot of benefits and makes the life of the pan photographer easier, whether when shooting fast action scenes, or when shooting in reduced spaces or in difficult conditions. More than an 8mm fisheye, Sigma or Nikon, this lens associated with this camera give you original and high quality panoramas with less contraints.

Below are some Quicktime pictures assembled with PTMac, PTGUI or Realviz Stitcher.

Note: Be careful not to scratch the front lens (or worse) when attempting to remove a portion of the lens hood !


Canon 5D and Nikon 10.5mm
Nikon 10.5mm without sunshield Original picture (200° ?)

Zenith and Nadir with a Nikon 10.5mm on a Canon 5D
Nadir without "path" Zenith

Panorama, Quicktime VR vith a Canon 5D with a Nikon 10.5mm samples
Example 1 (no link to Paris) Panorama, Quicktime VR fullscreen (2 MB)

Panorama, Quicktime VR vith a Canon 5D with a Nikon 10.5mm samples


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Playing with the spherical head 360Precision "Absolute"

Written by Eric Rougier ,

360precision absolute and video
pano head 360 Absolute View the video (1 MB)

For most spherical heads on the market, setting the "nodal point" requires patience and a minimum knowledge. Even when it is set, vibrations, transportation, shocks... will make you the operation regularly (most of the time, when you do not have time to do so).
360Precision works on the opposite principle: it has been designed for a couple "camera body + lens". It has no customizable setting, apart from the spirit level. > view the video

Pano head 360precision Absolute Pro
• Precise : vey, very precise
• Compact, it can easily fit into a photo case / bag.
• Resistent and reliable, it looks sound as a rock.
• As it is preset, you only have to screw it on the camera
Cons
• Expensive : £520. But you'll find it more cost-effective than you think, compared to other heads of the same category.

Panorama, Quicktime VR : Paris, hotel de ville
Panorama, Quicktime VR : Paris, hotel de ville View the panorama, Quicktime VR (1.8 MB)


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Quicktime VR : Nadir creation and patching with Photoshop

Written by Eric Rougier ,

Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop
Panorama Technical Opening CubicConverter Panorama Technical Loading the image previously rendered in PTMac Panorama Technical Saving the side containing nadir with the "hole.

Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop
Panorama Technical Opening Photoshop Panorama Technical Loading the Nadir with the hole from CubicConverter and the picture of Nadir made during the shooting Panorama Technical Assembling, placing and modeling the two images with the Warp module
Edit -> Transform -> Warp

Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop
Panorama Technical Fine placing and cutting Panorama Technical Correction of the density of the added central part. Note: You can set this correction in "grayscale" not to be influenced by colors Panorama Technical Color enhancement of the added central part

Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop Panorama, Quicktime VR, nadir patching in Photoshop
Panorama Technical Editing of details and backup Panorama Technical Replacing the side containing nadir with the hole in CubicConverter Panorama Technical Final conversion in CubicConverter and saving as a Quicktime file and an image (TIFF, JPEG format...)

Once saved, the final spherical image can be corrected, edited, enhanced according to your needs and your creativity. The max. duration for the nadir patching is 10 mnts. Special thanks to Matthew/360Precision, Pierre/Adobe, Stéphane/Realviz, Gilles, Michel, Jean,... and all members of the PhotoPanorama forum for their assistance and informations.

Another instance made the same way (without any link to Paris, but fun and pretty technical :-). Note that the mirror on nadir has not been shot from the "nodal point", in order to avoid the camera to be reflected. Original idea: Marco Luethi : Panorama, QUicktime VR fullscreen (1.5 MB)


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Manfrotto 304 VR : a cool "do-it-yourself" panoramic head

Written by Eric Rougier ,

[EDIT] I'm still using this head, but more and more a 360Precision or a Nodal Ninja

Spherical head 304 VR manfrotto
Spherical head 304 VR manfrotto

For years, I have been using for panoramic shootings a 303-Plus (+) head. I have decided to switch to a 303-SPH which is a very good choice to expand its use to Quicktime VR 360°/180° shootings. After a few days of use and tests (with all due respect for its manufacturing and design quality), a few issues appeared :

Quicktime VR Inaccuracy of the swing system : the system only holds marks for each degree to align by hand in front of a spot but there is no blocking mark. Reproducing 2 (or more) identical views is therefore impossible once the swing position has been changed. => replace by a thinner horizontal 300N or MA300.

Quicktime VR Incapacity to separate the camera and the head then placing it back quickly without changing a bit the settings of its stand rail => add a 323 quick-release bracket.
Quicktime VR Incapacity to shoot a nadir (vertical) view outside of the tripod without changing the head or tripod configuration (if you can hold your camera with your hand, for a night-20-second-long exposure without moving, please contact the Guiness Book of World Records). => add a vertical 300N.
Panoramic head 304 VR Manfrotto
338 fine tunes and level
Panoramic head 304 VR Manfrotto
vertical 300N
Quicktime VR The lens is too close to the tripod for vertical shooting =>vertical 300N: +15cm
Quicktime VR No micro-positioning plate for ultra-fine positioning as on the 303 Plus for instance
Quicktime VR No spirit level => add a 338 plate from my old 303 Plus (+)
Quicktime VR Relative elasticity of the main rail (which "crimps" a bit even with light cameras like Canon 20D, Nikon D70, etc. => screw the 357 from former tilt axis over the rail supporting the square
Panoramic head 304 VR Manfrotto
outside tripod rotation
Panoramic head 304 VR Manfrotto
quick release 323
video panoramic head : 304 VR Manfrotto
View the video of the first test (3 MB)

Paris The accessories available in the Manfrotto catalog allow to slightly modify a 303 SPH and avoid some of these issues.
Paris Add-ons include: 300N (x2), 338 plate, 357 rail and 323 quick release (see pictures above).
Paris This "304 VR" (with its imaginary reference) is indeed a simple DIY device, but it can now meet 100% of my needs for shooting 360-degree-views (most of which are night-shot landscapes).

The panoramic view below is the first image shot using this head - view the Quicktime VR fullscreen
quicktime_vr_cite_des_sciences

Quicktime VR Many Quicktime VR head models are available which will suit your needs and budget (less expensive and lighter than the assembly demonstrated above :-). Don't spend a lot if you just want to make a few tests or if this type of shooting is not an every-day practice. (see various models and links at the bottom of this page)
Quicktime VR This configuration is more stable when used with cameras with no grip (avoiding to increase the distance of the offcentered weight of the camera).
Quicktime VR The grip/screw under the head is the one from the original tilt axis of 303 SPH, kept to serve as a hold and to increase portability once the head is bent.
Quicktime VR The parallax is not perfect on the view taken "outside" the tripod due to the extreme offcentered position of the camera regarding the tripod's central screw and to the flexibility of the support rail screwed on the 338 plate. The defect is minor (especially if you don't use the central part of the bottom image) and the pictures stitch pretty well in the various software.
Quicktime VR HERE is an example of one QTVR with objects close to the lens.

Panoramic heads : Panosaurus, Manfrotto, Kaidan, 360Precision


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All Panoramas

All Paris 360° panoramas in only one page >here<

All Paris panoramas in one page

ParisChange panorama with the menu on the top of the page
ParisNavigate with your mouse
ParisSwitch to fullscreen
ParisZoom +/- with Shift/Ctrl

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louvre

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All photographs are copyright "Eric Rougier / FromParis.com". Please, do not to use without written authorization.
The pyramid of the Louvre museum: Leoh Ming Pei, architect. "La Geode": Adrien Fainsilber, architect.
The "Grande Arche": Otto van Spreckelsen, architect. Bibliotheque Nationale de France: Dominique Perrault, architect.
Lighting of the Eiffel Tower is copyright "Societe Nouvelle d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel".
Some history texts are licensed to the public under the Creative License and, or wikipedia sources
Zoomify (tm) is a trademark of Zoomify Inc. QuickTime (tm) and QuicktimeVR (tm) are trademarks of Apple Computer.