Phantom 3 - the panorama machine

Meta4

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I'm loving flying the P3. I've been going to some of my favourite shooting locations and this new bird really is a sweet panorama machine.

The shutter button on the controller makes it much more like using a camera and they have sped up the process so the wait between shots is minimal.
Shooting panoramas with the P2V+ was a lot of work. I would often shoot up to 21 images to stitch together but the slow shooting speed meant that the individual images were 6-10 secs apart.
I was often shooting out near the edge of signal reception and it was common to get 3/4 the way through a complex panorama only to get the lost signal - coming home message, which meant starting all over again and I'd have to hope that one was worth the effort.

What a difference it is to use the P3.
It's so precise, it's a dream to position and reposition for each image.
Being able to set the gimbal & sticks with some expo adjustment means that it's smooth and easy to make small adjustments to the Phantom's position without over-running.
The speedy buffer means I can click, click, click without having to wait so long between shots.
The lens on the new camera gives an entirely different perspective and the images are much clearer.
Being able to make bracketed shots means I have a few to choose from to counter the lighting variation across a big panorama. Still haven't got around to doing any HDR which is unusual for me as I do a lot with my regular camera.
I'm looking forward to trying the low-light ability tomorrow and have a particular subject in mind.

Here are a couple of panoramas that I've come up with in my first week on the P3.
These are all stitches from 3 or more individual images.
These big images don't show up well as tiny pics in a thread and are best viewed full screen (just view them on my photo website to see them properly).

Point Cartwright - one of my favourite photo sites


Looking down the sheer cliffs on Mt Coonowrin


A friend's house


A big sky panorama using the upward tilt of the gimbal


My first attempt at a planar panorama where I flew the P3 between individual images rather than rotating the P3 or tilting the gimbal.


I'm really happy with the huge step up in useability with the P3.
It's going to keep me busy till the P4 arrives with an even better camera.
 
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What are you using to stitch together the pano's?
 
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What software to stitch these shots together into panoramic?
 
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Thanks .. it's a nice machine for doing this.
I use Photoshop or Arcsoft Panorama maker.
I've been meaning to try this ...
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/ice/
It looks like it has the goods.
Very good! I'm using ICE and it works very well with easy to learn features and options. I don't have photoshop so don't know how it compares.
Btw- what expo/gain settings did you change gimbal, yaw and ? to for best video pan/crane/dolly shots?
 
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I've never done pano's. Do you have any tips on the basics of how to do one?
 

Meta4

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The basics are pretty simple.
Just take a series with a decent overlap between all images and put them into the stitching software.
The P3 makes it easy with hands on the controller - click, turn, click, turn, click.
The big screen makes it easy to check your composition.
Then lots of practice to improve and keep looking for strong subjects and good lighting to make the big picture.
 
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FWIW, I try to overlap each frame by about a third when doing composited panoramics. Works really well if there's movement of subjects in the frame as it gives you options for blending. It also helps with vignetting when shooting primes.
 
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DrewFlies

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I don't understand the point of panorama.
These are nice shots but they look as if what my P3 would take without any stitching involved. Maybe just move your p3 back a little if you want everything you have in the picture?
 
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I don't understand the point of panorama.
These are nice shots but they look as if what my P3 would take without any stitching involved. Maybe just move your p3 back a little if you want everything you have in the picture?
True, for web use, you could simply crop your photo to a 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 aspect ratio, but when printing large, at 300 dpi, you want all the resolution you can get.
 
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DrewFlies

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True, for web use, you could simply crop your photo to a 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 aspect ratio, but when printing large, at 300 dpi, you want all the resolution you can get.
That makes sense. Thanks
 
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True, for web use, you could simply crop your photo to a 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 aspect ratio, but when printing large, at 300 dpi, you want all the resolution you can get.
That is not the whole story. If you fly further away the perspective changes. That means a different picture which lacks the typical super wide angle view. That means that the middle foreground part is bigger/exaggerated/curved than the outer parts. You see this effect the most with ground based pano's.
Off course, you like the effect or dislike it. Its up to your taste.
 
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The basics are pretty simple.
Just take a series with a decent overlap between all images and put them into the stitching software.
The P3 makes it easy with hands on the controller - click, turn, click, turn, click.
The big screen makes it easy to check your composition.
Then lots of practice to improve and keep looking for strong subjects and good lighting to make the big picture.
How much overlap are we talking?
 
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With a DSLR and a proper Pano bracket we normally would have the camera Vertical, which allows a longer focal length and therefore more frames to stitch, really building resolution, but on the drone we are locked into a horizontal format, so 2-3 frames is generally all you need for a pretty wide panorama.
Given that I actually do almost a 50% overlap to really give he software a lot to work with for a seamless stitch. But 30% is pretty much minimum overlap.
 
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