A search for stereo photography morphed into 3D panoramic videos, I didn’t expect to go that far with it…
I had found instructions on panoramic photography from Florian Knorn’s Pano.ie website awhile back. I’m not entirely new to the prospects of panoramic imaging. I’ve used image stitching a long time ago. It’s mainstream now. The iPhone has made it effortless with the built in pano option. I still think the behind the scenes tour that Florian gives is well worth the time.
But this isn’t what I was searching. I have used another program that will take ordinary 2 dimensional images and create 3D anaglyph images with the red and cyan overlays. Here’s a video of that program. Amazon sells the special glasses to view these images.
This video is a parlor trick of sorts. The processing software takes the single source video and splits the stream into 2, left and right. The left stream has the red value removed, the right stream has the green and blue values removed. Next it shifts one of the streams ahead by a frame, or more to create the visual offset. This particular point of view isn’t the most suitable for this method. It really works well for side shot video.
So I have experience with panoramic and 3d photography. Great, but how did I end up with a pointer to this game changing technology? What really got me to take notice was the similarities of a project that a fellow by the name of Jim Watters had done solo to that of the Google Trekker Project.
Google’s Street View hardware platform known as the Trekker is a backpack of substantial materials. The “eyeball” is only available to parties on loan that meet the criteria of the project. The hardware is really beefy and the project is targeted toward the commited.
Now take a look at Jim Watters link he calls the Mobius Rig. This is comprised of an array of 1080p key chain cameras that he’s fit together. It’s looks like a poor man’s Trekker. I say that with respect because his rig is no small feat. The results he gets far exceed the data that we’re provided with from Google. I have to hand it to him, putting it all out there, well done!
The method he employed isn’t hidden in the demonstration. He really spells it out and I have to say I left impressed, inspired, and compelled to do the same.
He used a program called VideoStitch. The interface is reminiscent of my vReveal days with it’s CUDA enhanced operation. What I really liked about the program is that it helped clear up what Mr. Watters hadn’t. The input device quality really was a determinant factor to what was achievable. Another thing was the dependencies for references in the input videos. This made me suspect to whether or not the video rig could be in motion or had to remain stationary. I haven’t been able to make a reliable determination from what little I’ve seen so far. But I’m definitely intent on learning more about it.
Now for the freak show…
I found numerous mention of the Oculus Rift. This is hardware for VR, which is basically 2 video screens inside goggles. It really is more complex than that. They have built in sensors to detect the viewers change in direction. A lot of development has gone into it and I suspect it’s at a pinnacle for returns. The immersion has its place, but I can’t say it’s a game changer for me.
But I have to hand it to those free spirits that make things in there spare time. The look on Marcus Hutter’s face really nails it for me. The VR goggle idea isn’t new and I appreciate Mr. Hutter being up front and forthright about the whole business of these devices. Again, hats off to Marcus for sharing the knowledge.
Also, I found a program that does what vReveal did. The video stabilization and enhancement was a wonderful tool to have and to be left without another option seemed like crap. I really found it because they make a program that will remove fisheye bends in video. It’s called Defishr and is simple to use. They also have a program called ReSpeedr that will add a nice slow motion effect. What’s funny is the stabilization software called ProDRENALIN includes fisheye artifact removal, but costs less.
But here’s what these folks did that made them worthy of mention, they offer SDK’s for their programs.