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Going Wide — An Introduction to Panoramic Photography

October 08, 2017

 

This Free Lunchtime Seminar was held at michaels on Oct 5, 2017 covering

- The history of the Panoramic Format

- Types of Panoramic Capture

- Dedicated Modes or Stitching

- Shooting Panoramas with the Gear you have right now

- Display of Panoramas on the Web

- Modern One Shot Panoramic Cameras - 360 Degree Video

 

Going Wide – An Introduction to Panoramic Photography

 

[This Free Lunchtime Seminar was held at Michael’s Camera on Oct 5, 2017 and covered: The history of the Panoramic Format; Types of Panoramic Capture; Dedicated Modes or Stitching; Shooting Panoramas with the Gear you have right now; Display of Panoramas on the Web; Modern One Shot Panoramic Cameras; 360 Degree Video.]



(John Warkentin)

I want to welcome everybody to Michael's.

Hopefully, everyone can hear me; mic levels are good as Alwyn mentioned, we are streaming live today.

We've done it a couple of times.

I believe a few times with me as the subject, a few times with other guest presenters.

But today is sort of our official roll-out of our Michael's Mobile Production Unit.

So, if everybody takes a little look behind them, you can see Scarlet and David are at the back of the room and there's this big, fancy road case, and in the live feed you're looking over Scarlet's shoulder here, at the system.

 

So, it's kind of exciting for us to have been able to build a little television studio on wheels.

And we're ironing out a few bugs; this is the first official use of the Mobile Production Unit and we're going to learn more.

And, as we become experts in our own field and start broadcasting more and more of our seminars - including today's, going wide, and introduction to panoramic photography - we're hoping to have more guest presents in, more interviews, and then, of course, we want to take it on the road.

It's got wheels for a reason!

We can drive it!

So, that's all very exciting!

 

Of course, today's seminar - Going Wide.

As Alwyn alluded to in his introduction, I'm kind of into panos.

So, let's just start off here.

 

[Slide changes to one with the title, and some photos including one of John Warkentin with photographic gear]

 

Obviously, there's me, taking a panorama.

You can see me on the roof of a big building in Perth. It's actually Council House.

And we've got a tall panoramic tripod, and a full, multi-rope panoramic head. I've got one here to show you as well.

And you can see, there was the resulting picture.

 

Now, what we try to achieve in our panoramic work, with mosaics of pictures - and we're going to talk about a lot of the history of everything - but at the end of the day, the modern panoramic photographer is probably shooting digital, and is building a mosaic of multiple frames.

And, sometimes the cameras are automatically assembling them, and sometimes we're assembling them with software, and we'll dive into that as well.

But our mission is to try and create something that we couldn't have before.

Maybe it's a wider field of view.

Or maybe it's just to try and create a cohesive image.

So, in this case, I think there were something like thirty-six across, by four images high, so there were over a hundred frames in there.

But, the image needs to survive as a cohesive picture.

You don't want to see all the artefacts of stitching and everything, and that's what makes it quite tricky.

 

So, that's really, you know, sort of in a nutshell what our title slide is sort of showing us.

 

Now, let's just get a little bit about me - we won't dwell on it.

 

[Slide changes to a short bullet list of facts about John]

 

But, photography is not actually my original profession. I spent fifteen years in the explosive testing industry.

But luckily, the world of explosives testing involves a lot of photography, but it's mostly scientific photography, so it's a little bit different than what I'm doing now.

Some of my work is even lightly classified as "artistic" if you see the big print on the easel over here.

Then I spent about fifteen years as a commercial photographer.

But, since the start of all this - ever since I pretty well put a half-decent film camera in my hand, maybe twenty-five years ago - I've been a bit of a panorama junkie.

I'm just addicted to it!

It's a very fun thing to shoot the panorama, because it's a little technical - and I've always got a bit of a technical background to me - and you can kind of show things that have not been shown before with panoramas.

 

[Slide changes to one titled Panoramas, with bulleted facts about it]

 

What is a panorama?

Well, it's a little bit of a tough one.

There are a lot of different definitions, but for most people, it's a picture that's about 2 units wide, 1 unit high.

However, there are exceptions to this because, of course, it could be 2 units high, 1 unit wide.

You can also take a conventional picture, which might be 6 units wide, 4 units high - standard 4 X 6 inch print - and you could crop that, and call it a panorama as well.

And, of course, there have been many, many cameras that were made in the film days that had these panoramic shooting modes.

And all they did was just block out the top and bottom of the negative and that was your panorama.

So, it's not really a hard definition.

So, that covers our sort of aspect ratio. And, of course, you could make them as wide as you want.

But that's sort of, is the demarcation zone - once it's 2:1 it's usually referred to as a panorama.

 

Then, of course, it could be a mosaic of many images.

Even if it was square, that still could be classified as a panorama because it's a mosaic.

And, of course, there are special panoramic cameras.

And, some of them shoot square images; some of them shoot 6 X 17 images, you know, there are all sorts of weird types of panoramic cameras that can do these things.

 

So, that brings us to the obvious question: Why would we want a Panorama?

 

[Slide changes to one titled with the question, and 4 bullet points]

 

Well, right off the bat, it's a pleasing image format. These wider images look quite nice.

However, there's a square panorama right beside you, so they don't really have to be wide.

It's still a panorama, because it's presenting this ultra-wide field of view, and it's a mosaic of many images.

So, again, that gets us to our second point: we want to show a wider field of view.

Well, here's a classic case: maybe we've got our cropped sensor camera - and affordable camera, like an 80D, a Canon 80D; I've got one over there - and we've got a 50 mm prime lens on there - the nifty fifty - well that's actually like an 80 mm lens, you know, when it's hooked up to our cropped sensor camera, so that's not very wide at all.

But if we want to shoot a wider image and that's the camera we've got with us today, well, let's shoot a couple of images across.

And there we go' we've managed to take this 50 mm, or 80 mm equivalent, lens and get a little wider aspect ration, a little wider field of view, with the tool we've got.

So, you know, it's a common issue.

Third point: to yield more detail using many images.

 

Well, when I first started out, digital cameras only had about 1 or 2 megapixels. That wasn't a lot of resolution.

Most of our screens on our smart phones have got than a megapixel worth of resolution on them, and of course, you know our 8K television sets are, you know, like a 4 megapixel frame... or... no, sorry, 4K television is like a 6 megapixel frame. The highest resolution digital SLRs are in the 40 to 50 megapixel range.

We've got medium format digital cameras that are the 50 to 100 megapixel range.

But even with a basic camera - like a 10 megapixel, an older camera - you want to put together a quick mosaic of 20 or 30 frames, you're up there at the modern medium format resolution.

And you didn't have to spend all the money!

 

So, it's a very convenient way - assuming you've got the right topic, that needs higher resolution - for you to build a mosaic and get that kind of resolution.

And then, of course, if you use a modern camera that's got obscene resolution, like a 50 megapixel Fuji GFX, you can start making, you know, 1000 megapixel images very quickly with a mosaic of those.

 

T Hen the last reason we might want a panorama, is to show a huge space.

And, of course, this is where it gets a little freaky - even behind the camera.

Because, of course, we can make spherical panoramas.

That's where we put the camera maybe in the middle of the room, and we rotate the camera all the way around itself and we shoot the complete 360 degree width, by full 180 degree height.

And, of course, that sample that's on the aisle beside us here, that's exactly how that was shot.

As a matter of fact, it was shot with the lens that's sitting on the tripod right in front of you.

In that case it was shot with a full-frame Canon 5D MK III.

I currently have a cropped sensor Canon 80D on that.

But it can be used again, it's just depending on what focal length you want to use for your lens, and what is the effective focal length - how many pictures you need to shoot around.

But, even with the Canon 80D, with the Canon 8-15 mm zoom that we've got over there - you can shoot a full sphere in 4 frames, and I'll demonstrate in a little while exactly how that works.

 

So, that sort of gives us, you know, our reasons for the panorama.

So, let's just dive into, you know, what do we need to shoot one?

 

[Slide changes to one titled "What do we need to shoot a pano?" with 4 bullet points]

 

Well, as I was describing earlier, you can basically shoot it with any camera.

It's been a very, very popular format from the beginning of the photographic age.

So, before they even had specific panoramic cameras, there were people using still cameras to shoot panoramas, and building mosaics.

Now, they didn't have software to stitch it together, they just presented the images.

And, as far back as 1848, there was the famous Cincinnati Panorama.

And I'll just bring this up full screen over here...

I'll put this link in our, once we get the speech online - oh, we've got the flash plugin... oh, that's unfortunate.

I apologise for that.

Some of these older websites need flash.

 

[Big screen shows a website, but the image links do not show]

 

But nevertheless, I think if you do have - I don't have the plugin and I don't want to put that in right now.

Let's just go back here.

 

The Cincinnati Panorama, there's a bit of a text description and there's an awful lot on it. When I share the link later, you'll figure it all out.

But it was shot with a Daguerreotype, which was one of the first commercially viable panoramic formats. And it was a dangerous format for the photographers to use because they developed the Daguerreotype plates with mercury vapour, and many of these photographers died of mercury poisoning.

 

So, the photographers that shot this famous Cincinnati Panorama did it on 8-inch Daguerreotype plates, which were massive.

This would have been the Rolls Royce of cameras in its day.

And it was a, I think it was a 6-plate panorama, and it's on display in the Cincinnati public library.

I'd like to go see it one of these days.

 

And it had an immense amount of detail because these were really big Daguerreotype plates.

Inherently, I'm sorry, normally, most of the Daguerreotype shooters were shooting these little, oh they were just a couple of inches maximum size, and they had a lot of detail in them. It was a very, very interesting format.

There are still a few people using these ancient formats, just as for fine arts purposes.

 

But, the Cincinnati Panorama was digitised by Rochester Institute of Technology with the microscope system.

So they basically, took all the individual plates and scanned them with a microscope and then put all the individual scans together as a huge mosaic and it became a panorama of a panorama.

And they put it together digitally and, unfortunately, because I don't have the flash player here, I can't really show it to you right now.

 

But, you can play with it at home.

The amount of detail in that old 1848 pano is incredible.

There's so much detail they were able to read all the of the names of the various paddle wheelers that were on the Ohio River at the time.

They were able to match those names to the log books of the various captains, figure out what day of the year all those ships were in Cincinnati - so they calculated the day the panorama was shot because it wasn't documented - and then they were able to zoom in to a town hall tower and read the time on a clock face to the nearest minute.

Was just an incredible amount of resolution.

So, what these guys were doing with Daguerreotypes is what I'm attempting to do with digital, today.

 

So, that's a very interesting example.

Let's go back to our slide here and get on to our next topics here.

 

So, there you go! People were shooting panoramas with assembly techniques, from the very beginnings of the photographic age.

 

Then, of course, there were special panoramic format cameras that were made.

They were made in film and they've been simulated in digital as well today.

And, of course, nearly every smartphone and most digital cameras have these special panoramic modes.

You pick up your Android or your iPhone and there will be, in your photos app, a sweet panoramic mode which is just very easy - you just shoot it and you've got yourself wide pictures.

So, very exciting.

Now, I just want to show you one of these historical panoramic cameras.

So, let's just go over to here... and...

This is very interesting.

 

[Slide changes to a photograph of two elderly gentlemen standing on opposite sides of an old film camera]

 

So, on the left hand side, we've got a Kodak circuit camera. Which is a (sweep) camera, and as you can see, there's a bit of a round disc below the camera. This camera rotates about the tripod, pulling the film through its clockwork mechanism, and exposing the film with a slit aperture.

Basically, walking the light across the film as it unrolls from one spool and rolls on to the next.

These were amazing cameras in their day, and this fellow, (Reg Lambert), was using the camera from the 1920s into the 1960s in Western Australia.

 

The photographer on the right hand side is Phil Grey, a photographer out of Sidney.

He discovered Lambert's archives and travelled to Perth about four or five times in 1984 and re-shot many of his locations in colour with his more modern, Sights 70 mm circuit camera.

 

And then, of course, the Sights company exist to this day; now what they've done is replaced the film in these cameras with a digital line sensor.

So, think of it as a scanner that rotates about the scene.

So, they are scanning digital cameras.

So, these special cameras still exist to this day; they're very expensive though.

 

So, that gives you a little bit of an indication of what the special cameras are.

 

Now, let's get back to our slideshow here.

 

So, as we said, there are a lot of ways to skin this panoramic cat.

 

So, we're talking about the historic systems.

 

[Slide changes to "Historical Systems" with 5 bullet points]

 

Obviously, any camera film could shoot it with multiple shots with a little bit of overlap.

You could sticky tape and scissor the pictures together. I used to do that in the film days.

We talked about the Cincinnati Panorama.

 

Another interesting fact - all of the astronauts that walked on the surface of the moon had a Hasselblad square format camera on the chest of their spacesuits.

And these guys shot panoramas on every mission to the moon.

And they basically just stood, clicked, rotated their body, clicked, rotated their body, clicked.

And all these panoramas are available online.

And if you wanted to stitch them yourself, you can download the scans of the source frames from NASA, and play with yourself...  play with it on your own with any stitching software.

And lo and behold, here's a website with all the panoramas from the lunar missions.

 

[Screen shows website with small black and white images]

 

And they're fascinating!

Now, because of the way the astronauts rotated, the camera wasn't in the perfect stitching location - it's referred to as the no-parallax point - so, there are a few errors, but it's a landscape panorama.

And as long as there's not a lot of really discernible detail in your foreground, it's very easy just to take multiple frames, like that, and stitch them together.

It's when you're close to some important subject matter that your alignment issues become a bit tricky, and that's where special panoramic heads come in to play.

So, I just find it really, really cool, that the astronauts shot panos on the moon.

And, luckily, due to my job here at Michael's, I had a chance to meet the last man who walk on the moon, and put a panoramic camera in his hand, and have him shoot a panorama of himself.

And, we showed him some of the Hasselblad space replicas... well, not replicas, but the commemorative space cameras, and he's like, that's exactly like what I had on my space suit when I walked on the moon!

So, it was a really interesting thing to actually meet a guy who shot panos on the moon.

And, unfortunately, Gene Cernon passed away in January of this year.

There are not too many of these guys left who walked on the moon, but they were photographers!

They were trained so they could shoot pictures while they were there.

 

We talked a little bit about the circuit cameras - that was that old rotating camera that I was mentioning, that Reg Lambert had - and of course, these things were a very important type of photography in the early part of the 20th Century.

 

[Slide shows the heading The Last of the Film Pano Cameras... with 4 bullet points]

 

So, the film pano cameras, they still sorta hung on and there are still some people who are using them.

So, there are some really cool ones.

I like this one myself.

So, this is a Linhof Technorama 617 camera.

 

[John picks up a large-lensed, chunky looking black camera]

 

So, this takes a roll of 120 film and you get four shots on a roll.

And the negatives are 6 cm by 17 cm.

They're huge!

So, this is kind of like the ultra high-res camera in panoramic format.

This camera out-resolves a 50 megapixel modern digital camera.

It will not out-resolve stitching from that 50 megapixel though, so you can still beat it.

But, quite an interesting camera.

A lot of photographers - including Ken Duncan, famous Australian landscape photographer - shot on this format.

Fuji made them, Linhof made them. There were a few other companies that made them.

Some people even made handmade ones.

I've been seeing some samples online of a guy who is 3D printing panoramic cameras in this format.

 

So, that was quite interesting.

And they were manu... Well, actually, I think the Technorama Linhof's are still made to this day.

Or, at least, made up until recently.

 

[John picks up a smaller black camera, which is very wide, with a small lens]

 

Hasselblad and Fuji co-developed the XPan.

Now, this used 35 mm film and shot, in its panoramic mode, a 65 mm by 24 mm panoramic frame.

It was a very popular camera in its day and I believe it was manufactured up until about 2005/2006.

When they come in used they get picked up pretty quick here at Michael's.

This is from our museum.

 

Lastly, I've got an interesting little Russian camera here.

Bit of a, sort of a, there are a few people, companies that made these.

The company Widelux was quite popular. We don't have a Widelux in our museum, unfortunately.

This is called a Horizont, by a company called Global.

 

[John holds a very strange looking camera with multiple tubes and rounded edges, silver and black]

 

It's a special camera because it's a swing lens.

So, the circuit cameras that I was describing, they rotated and the film walked across the slit as the camera rotated.

These are opposite: This has a lens that swings inside it, sweeping the slit aperture across the film.

So, they obviously can't see behind themselves. They shoot about 140 degree to about 150 degree field of view.

But they're still popular to this day.

I interviewed a photographer, a Melbourne photographer, who still shoots on a Widelux, about a month or two ago.

So, quite interesting.

 

And, of course, Seitz continues to make their Roundshot series cameras. They were made in the film days and Phil Grey was shooting on one back in the Eighties, and they still exist in their digital format.

And I'll just quickly show you the Roundshot website.

 

[Screen changes to a web browser with the Seitz Roundshot web page loaded]

 

And that is their current D3 model and I believe that's got a linear sensor of about 9 or 8000 pixels and then you just get as many pixels as you choose to when, as this thing rotates.

And it can shoot, depending on the lens, nearly a full sphere.

So, it can almost cover from ceiling to floor and do the full 180 degrees.

What's really nice about these digital scanning panoramic cameras, is that you don't have to assemble the picture - there's no stitching required.

So, they're very good for shooting in areas where there is motion.

However, because they are a sweeping camera, they create what's referred to as a temporal artefact.

So, as the camera sweeps, if a car is moving in line with the sweep you will extend the length of the car and it will look a bit freaky.

If the car is moving in the opposite direction of the sweep motion of the camera, you will shrink the length of the car.

So, man-made objects that have known dimensions can get a little bit distorted and it'll be a little bit freaky when you look at the results.

However, natural objects like trees swaying or waves rolling in, you'd never notice the temporal artefacts.

So, they're very good for nature use.

But, expensive and specialised.

I've never used on personally.

Matter of fact, I don't think I've ever even seen one!

 

[Laughs]

 

I don't know of anyone who even has one in Melbourne.

But, they exist!

 

So, let's get back here to our slides.

 

[Slide changes to one titled Modern Pano Systems in the Digital Age, with 5 bullet points]

 

So, now, Modern Panoramic Cameras in the Digital Age.

As I was explaining, there are sweeping digital cameras, digital circuit cameras - like that Seitz Roundshot that I just showed you - there are the special panoramic modes on all most new cameras; your iPhone; your Android phone.

It actually uses a video mode when you're shooting a panorama, and it's taking a whole bunch of tiny little slices and blending them together in real time.

 

So, again, as you sweep your iPhone shooting a panorama, you can get some very weird artefacts as your cat moves through the scene, and you turn your cat into what looks like centipede.

You'll see all these panoramic fails on the photo sites all the time.

And then, of course, there's the system I use which is Shoot and Stitch.

And lastly, and this has just changed since the last time I gave this presentation in October 2014 - one shot panoramic cameras have shown up in the marketplace.

And they've changed everything, and I love them; they're really, really exciting.

 

So, let's dive into that!

 

[Slide changes to one titled, One Shot Pano Cameras, Where all the action is in the market right now, with 5 bullet points]

 

One shot panoramic cameras! As far as I'm concerned, this is where all the action is in the panoramic market.

So many players have entered this market.

But, this is where they sort of started.

I'll just sort of quickly run over here.

 

This is a one shot panoramic camera, but it's referred to as a mirror-based camera.

So, these were the simplest to make.

 

[John holds a small, strange looking camera on a silver tripod - it looks like a little moon lander]

 

And when the early digital cameras came out, a lot of people wanted to use these mirror based units to shoot them.

So, what we have is a convex mirror here, and then the camera shoots down on the mirror and then the mirror shows the whole world, and the camera records, sort of, a doughnut shape and then some special software unwraps the doughnut to make a full 360-degree view.

 

The problem with these are, is that mirrors are nowhere near as optically precise as lenses, and of course, you've only got as much detail as your digital sensor has.

They've kind of fallen out of favour, but there are still a few specialised ones that work.

And they're mostly used for video now, because we've got affordable 4K video sensors, we can capture stitch-free video with these.

 

However, things have changed with the introduction of Ricoh's Theta camera.

It was sort of, the first mass-market panoramic camera that has been successful.

 

So, I just want to kick out here and show you their original prototype.

 

So, the original Theta prototype.

Let's go into our sample panoramic cameras here.

And there we go.

 

[Screen shows a strange looking camera that looks like a Preying Mantis, in white and black]

 

So, in 2013,  Ricoh - which is basically Ricoh-Pentax because they took over Pentax which is a historic camera brand - they proposed that they were going to make a one-shot panoramic camera.

And they seeded the internet with this prototype picture, which looks a bit like the head of a hammerhead shark.

But, obviously, what you're seeing here is a body with two cameras in it, with fish-eye lenses on both sides.

And, I thought, wow, this is going to be great when they make this!

I hope it'll stitch.

And, obviously, it's going to be hard to put two cameras together in one box because you've got to have the sensors.

But, that's what Ricoh prototyped, and before the end of 2013 they actually released a camera which looks exactly like this.

And they no longer needed to make it look like a hammerhead shark.

They managed to shrink the whole thing down.

And these guys have done some brilliant optical engineering.

 

[John holds a flat, almost phone-shaped camera that looks nothing like the prototype image]

 

And now, they're in their fifth generation and this is now the Ricoh Theta V, or Five.

And, soon to be available in Australia. I just got my hands on this demo unit yesterday; I've barely had a chance to look at it.

 

But, what makes the Ricoh unique - let me just get back to my slides here - is that it uses a folded optical path, which is truly remarkable.

 

[Slide returns to the One Shot Pano Cameras slide]

 

So, the sensors in the Theta, are not behind the lenses; the sensors are on the edge, and they're very small cellphone-sized sensors.

So, smaller than the tip of your baby fingernail.

 

And there's a prism behind each lens to then fold the optical path to the left and right side of the camera, and that's how they put this to work.

And, we'll fire this thing up shortly.

But, I want to then talk about a couple other cameras, because everybody has entered the market.

 

So, Ricoh's done five versions of these things and this is the newest and its big feature set now is 4K video.

Everybody wants to get 4K video because panoramic video is taking over the market; people putting huge investment dollars into this.

And, that's kind of like where the stills are moving to video and it's all called virtual reality now.

 

So, a lot of companies have jumped into the market.

We've seen Google enter it with a thing called the Google Jump.

So, that's a cluster of 16 GoPros.

We've seen Facebook make a research camera.

We've seen Samsung release their Gear360 camera.

We've seen Nokia generate this really crazy one.

 

Let's pick up some of these pictures here.

The Nokia one is quite interesting.

 

[Screen shows a photo of the Nokia camera - it looks like the practice drone from Star Wars - round, with lots of little black lenses around it]

 

So, this is the Nokia.

It's like a huge ball of cameras.

It's about $50,000 US.

They're hiring this thing out for movie use.

 

Nikon has entered the market with their KeyMission 360.

 

[Screen changes to photo of the Nikon KeyMission 360 which looks like a flattened cube with a very large lens]

 

We've got, here's the Samsung. It's like a little golf ball sort of sized thing.

 

[Screen shows the Samsung, which looks like a little silver sphere on a black tripod]

 

What else do we have here? There are quite a few.

 

Oh, and of course, there are a lot of people who want to use clusters of GoPros.

This is the GoPro Omni.

 

[Screen shows the GoPro Omni cage, with GoPro cameras clustered to form a cube]

 

So, again, you can put a cluster of individual cameras together, and GoPro makes this package and there are six GoPros in it. That's enough to cover the full sphere, and they put special software into these Hero 4s, so that they can all synchronise at the exact same time, and record video truly synchronised.

 

So, these are the systems that people are using to product all this crazy VR content that we're seeing.

And, of course, now, there are so many new cameras.

I think, basically, I've got in my slide here, not a day goes by where there's not a new, crowd sourced camera - like Kickstarter, IndiGogo, these sort of things - there are just tons of new ones.

And GoPro has now got a smaller, affordable one called the Fusion.

I had a chance to see it and touch it - didn't play with it - at a GoPro launch of it just this Monday.

So, I think we can expect to see GoPro's Fusion camera hit the streets in, maybe, early 2018.

 

So, there is a lot of money into this 360 game, and everybody is trying to stake their claim in it.

 

So, let's - I'm going to put this one aside for a second here - what I want to do is show you how we can use this Ricoh Theta.

So, I'm really hoping I can get it linked up to my phone.

Just before I started this seminar I had to do a reset on my phone so that I could get it to show up on the screen over here.

So, now, what I need to do is see if I can connect to the Theta.

 

When I reset the phone, I seem to have disconnected my mobile provider! So I'll have to fix that later.

 

[Screen shows an image of John's phone]

 

But anyway, let's get in here.

So, we've turned the Theta on.

The Theta operates as a little WiFi hotspot, so let's hope that we can go find it here on our settings.

 

So, I get into WiFi and we should see the Theta over here.

There it is there.

Hopefully, it remembers my password.

Which is really easy - the Theta just makes its own hotspot and the numeric portion of its identification - i.e. the three zeros 130 - that's the password.

So, if somebody wanted to try to connect to it, you could.

 

Anyway, so now, let's go quickly over here.

We'll run the Theta pano app.

It's kind of funny here, there's a little bit of an older version.

The app is called Theta S, which was the previous model, but this is now the Theta V.

 

So, now, we're going to connect to that.

Let's go in here to camera settings, and, now we want to allow.

That's fine.

And there we go! We have...

Oh, hang on a sec here...

Camera cannot connect to WiFi.

Oh, let me just go back to the WiFi settings here.

These are all problems because I just did this reset.

 

Let's get it in there.

Okay that's connected.

Okay.

Let's get back here.

I'll just put this on the table so I don't drop it.

You have to be very careful with these panoramic cameras, they've got rather delicate lenses on them.

 

There we are! Okay!

Now, I've got it set at a really long exposure.

Let me get a reasonable ISO.

It goes from ISO 64 all the way up to 3200.

Let's get a shutter speed that's a little bit more normal here.

And, there we go.

So, now you can see...

 

Let me just bring the shutter speed down, we're really overexposed.

Let me just kick out of that.

So, I am now looking at a live preview in here, of what we are shooting at.

 

[Screen shows a live view from the Ricoh Theta, showing the audience and the seminar room]

 

Got auto white balance.

Let's just take a picture really quickly.

 

[Ricoh Theta makes a little jaunty chirp]

 

Just a little, you might have heard a little tick there.

And now it's transferring the picture to my phone.

And, in a second it should just pop up in my preview here.

 

Give it a sec.

 

And there we go; here's the picture we just took.

We can dynamic zoom around.

I'm not about to say that's a very good exposure, but there it is! That's a one shot panoramic camera.

No stitching required; no assembly.

You can shoot and share.

As a matter of fact, I have flown in a helicopter with these Thetas with it sticking on the end of a carbon fibre pole - which is around here somewhere... where's my carbon fibre pole? Did we put that in the closet? We might have put that in the closet.

Not too sure.

We'll pull it out later.

 

Anyway, I got a 10 foot carbon fibre pole, and I've had the Theta below the helicopter skids and I've shot panoramas from a moving helicopter, pulled them into the camera roll and published them while flying.

So, pretty amazing what you can do.

To hang a digital SLR out of a helicopter and try to get a panorama while you're moving is almost impossible.

 

So, that's the Theta.

They've got a great ecosystem of software on the iPhone and on Android, to play with these things.

And it even does video.

It is a truly fun camera.

 

Now, we've got some prints here.

I'm just going to get Hashim to pass those around.

This is actual output from the Ricoh Theta, with a little bit of massage work in Lightroom - honestly, maybe I'm getting a little, just a little bit of improvement on it - and so that wide one is the full rectangular image shot from the roof.

Well, actually, the sort of, courtyard roof area of the Manchester Unity building, on the corner of Collins and Swanston.

And the square one is a stereographic, or little planet projection of Luna Park in Melbourne.

 

Both of these are shot with a very long carbon fibre pole, which is 10 meters, and that's what enables me to get this Theta into these truly unique points of view.

And because it doesn't weigh much, I'm able to hold the pole at a distance.

So, let me just quickly show you how I did it.

 

So, let's go take a look here at the setup photos, and here's the Theta on a pole.

 

So, here I am on the roof of the Manchester Unity building. If we just flip on over to this.

And you can see me hold the carbon fibre pole.

 

[Screen shows two images after each other - one of building's roof top courtyard, and the other of John standing at the edge of the building holding a pole out over the side]

 

It's very, very long.

Everybody makes these jokes about my selfie stick with it.

 

[Screen shows another photo of John, close up, holding the pole with the camera up high next to the building]

 

And that's me looking up. And you see the Theta's just the little guy on the top.

And there's our results.

 

[Screen shows a panoramic image of the Manchester Unity building and the surrounding streets]

 

So, when you look at this image in a panoramic viewer - and if anyone wants to see this is a VR headset, I can show it afterwards - it looks like you're floating above Swanston street.

It's truly incredible.

And, I've even got some larger prints of this one, on the wall downstairs by the imaging counter cash area.

So you can see it.

For a little toy camera, produces pretty good results.

If you wanted to print these on canvases, with our fine art printing department - which David, at the back of the room, runs - I have no doubt in my mind, you could make a wall-sized print with wallpaper or a big 1.5 meter by 1.5 meter stretched canvas print, and it would look brilliant out of the Theta.

 

As a fine art print, you probably don't want to go much bigger than about 24 by 24 inches, because then you'll start to see a little bit of the pixelisation. But the canvas always holds the size very well.

 

So, that's the Theta!

 

But, there are more cameras that are coming in this area.

There's a Chinese company called Insta360, and I haven't even had a chance to play with it, but the distributor just brought it in the other day.

And this one's just come out and this one's called the Insta360 One.

 

[John holds a tiny ovoid-shaped camera in black]

 

This little guy can operate, much like the Theta, hand-held - it's got a shutter button on it - but it also has a little connector...

I don't know how you pull it out here, I've got to figure this out...

Okay, press the button...

Oh, there it is!

I don't know if you can see this, but there's a little Lightning connector!

So this little guy just plugs right into an iPhone, and there's an Android version coming soon.

 

But, the other thing which is cool about the Insta360 One, is it's got a little connector at the back here and you can put a little eyelet and a string on it, and it will shoot 4K video at 120 frame per second - I think it's 4K, maybe it's full HD, I haven't played with it yet, I'm dying to! I'll play with it on the weekend - but you swing it around your head and it does Matrix-style bullet time videos.

So, that's their big...

The whole idea of these panoramic cameras is to make photography fun.

 

And, I just find it, they're just so crazy to play with!

But this company's really making waves, because they've got another camera here, which is the Insta360 Pro - again, they just brought it in yesterday. I've turned it on but I have no idea how to use it yet - but this is kind of like competing with that crazy Nokia camera that I've showed you.

 

[John holds a large camera with a spherical body and multiple lens eyes facing in every direction, in black]

 

And this was in the news yesterday. This has now been certified to put on a vehicle and shoot Google Streetview data.

So, it's pretty amazing.

And this will do 4K video, and 4K still panoramas.

So, there are 6 little fish eye lenses in this thing, and obviously, a bunch of electronics in here.

I'm itching to play with it on the weekend.

You can come up and have a little touch.

 

So, there are just so many different companies that are jumping on the 360 bandwagon.

 

Very exciting time to be involved in panoramic photography.

 

Now, let's get back to our slides here.

 

So, I've showed you lots of new things you can buy, and we're happy to sell them to you because we sell a lot of these things.

 

[Screen shows slide titled, Shooting Panos with Gear you may already Own, with 4 bullet points]

 

The Insta360 line we've got; we sell the Ricoh Thetas; we've got the Nikon KeyMission; we've even got this little V360 mirror video camera which is quite affordable.

 

But, maybe you just want to have a little bit of fun with panoramas with the gear you've already got.

So, right off the bat, there are no hard and fast rules about panoramas.

I mean, I sorta said, they can be wide, they can be square, they're kind of mosaics - it's whatever you really want to do.

 

So, as far as lens choice, you just choose your focal length.

Choose what you're looking for.

Are you trying to get that distant mountain and just get a little bit more data out of it?

Well, shoot four or five frames across and you've got it. Now you've got the equivalent of maybe, 100 megapixel picture with five or six frames from your 24 megapixel Canon 5D Mark III, which is what I have.

So, you've effectively taken, if you say a 200 mm when you're looking at that landscape with the mountains in the background and all that sort of stuff, if you're at 200 mm and you hold the camera vertically, and then you shoot a few pictures across, nice and level - try to do it level, that always helps - and you stitch that together, well, now you've managed to get a picture as if you shot it with maybe an 80 mm lens.

But you've got all the detail because you did shoot it at 200 mm.

So, shoot it with anything you've got.

If it's landscapes you're shooting, you just don't need to worry about how you're going to hold your camera; just make sure that you've got enough overlap to stitch it and you're going to be fine.

 

When you start to get into the wide angles and the spherical panoramas, that's when it gets a bit tricky, because you're going to have objects near and far and parallax is going to start affecting you. And you can do a simple parallax test: You just close one eye and then you close your other eye and you see that the relative position of the people in the front row here and just shifted a little left and right with respect to my two eyes.

So, that's what happens when the camera is not in the perfect spot for everything to line up.

You can get some discontinuities in your stitching.

 

So, there are some tricks and this is what I want to show you.

It's called, it's basically, the Plumb Bob system.

 

So, I'm going to just grab a camera here.

I'll just take this 80D off the panoramic head over here.

And I'll grab a lens - this is just a standard 18 to 135 kit lens.

So, we're just going to put that on here.

 

[John removes the 80D from the mount and places a standard lens on it]

 

And let's just say we want to get a fairly wide angle shot.

So, I've come prepared, I have a little plumb-bob.

Which is, basically, an elastic band, a string, and I've duct-taped a coin on the bottom of it.

I think you could make this; it's pretty easy.

 

All I'm going to do, is I'm going to put that... I better take my lens cap off!

I'm going to put that over the front here  - you don't want to get that all over your lens here.

I'm just going to wrap that around the front.

Now, here's the magic little trick I'm going to tell you: It's the front of the lens which is the magic point that you want to rotate the camera about.

It's not the film plain, it's not the center of the lens, it's the glass! That's the magic point!

So, as long as you know the magic point of which to rotate your camera, you're good to go.

And after you've done it with the plumb-bob ten or twenty times, you don't need the strong anymore - you just get to know how it works.

 

I quite often shoot panoramas with my camera over my head and I just rotate my body. I just, kind of, keep it over my noggin and it's good to go.

Yeah, there'll be a few little niggly stitch errors, but it saves me bringing a tripod and a panoramic head while I'm on vacation if I want to get a few spheres.

 

So, basically, all I've got to do...

It's kind of handy if you've got something on the ground. I'll just toss my keys on the ground here.

 

[John removes his keys from his pocket and drops them on the floor at his feet]

 

So, I just throw something on the ground.

And then, you basically, just let the string, kind of, get the vibration out.

And there you go.

As long as you hold the string touching the thing you put on the ground, and you take a picture - I'll just turn the camera on here and take a shot - and then you rotate.

 

[John snaps a shot]

 

Now, if I was paying attention I'd take a look at it.

You rotate a little bit.

You could have it in live view, or you could look through the viewfinder.

Rotate it.

I like to turn the grid lines on in my live view display and I rotate it just enough, less one grid line.

So, I've got a whole grid line. of overlap - about 25% works well.

So then you just bring it here again, let it subside.

Take the next shot.

 

[John takes another shot]

 

And then take the next shot.

 

[Another photo]

 

You keep going. You can do the whole circle.

You can do multiple rows.

It'll just assemble like butter.

 

So, that's the trick. Make yourself a little plumb-bob up and have fun!

You can use anything. You can take it to your iPhone and do it.

Of course, all those other cameras have got those built-in panoramic modes.

There are a few other little tricks to do it: You might want to have it in manual exposure; you might want to lock your white balance; you might want to lock your focus; you might want to shoot a raw file.

But, really, at the end of the day, if you can take the pictures it's going to work.

 

The modern software is just so good at putting all this stuff together.

 

So that is a classic little trick.

And I've done this tons of times!

When I travel I honestly, I don't like dragging a tripod around with me.

It's really nice to be able to shoot panoramas and be able to build these full spheres, for my virtual worlds, without having all the heavy gear.

 

So, you know, it's quite easy.

The other thing which is nice to remember, and I should have said this a little earlier, when you're shooting simple hand-held panoramas, you know it's just that simple landscape... you go tick, tick, tick.

Nice little trick is hold the camera vertically, or in portrait mode, because simple panorama is just one row.

Well, why not buy yourself a little extra vertical field of view?

Because when your lens is held this way, this is the short axis, this is the long axis.

But we're doing a panorama, we get it as wide or as long as we want.

So, why not just hold it vertically?

Saves us doing two rows.

You could do two rows.

You could do three - I've done like four rows hand-held - it gets a little complex and there's a chance you might miss a frame.

So, the old standard, nice one row, keep it level, it'll stitch like butter in Photoshop or Lightroom.

Really easy.

Back in the old days you needed special software, but now Photoshop or Lightroom pretty well do most of the stuff you need.

 

So, maybe you want to get a little bit more complex?

Maybe you want to shoot longer exposures?

This is where the panoramic head comes into play.

 

[Slide changes to one titled, Shooting with a Panohead, with 4 bullet points]

 

So, let's talk about the ring-style panoramic head.

Which is this one here.

 

[John picks up a small lens and attaches it to the camera on the tripod]

 

I'll just bring this up in front here.

They call it a ring style because the panoramic head mounts to the lens.

So, you see this little guy here? There's a ring which is capturing this fish eye lens.

Now, this is the Canon 8 to 15 mm fish eye zoom - very nice lens, highly recommended, been using it for years, bought it at Michael's I might add.

So, let's pop our camera on here.

And, I'll just make sure this is lined up so it's vertical here.

 

[John adjusts the camera on the tripod, with the fish eye lens attached]

 

So, I'll just turn this on and I'll get it into live view mode here.

So, we're at 8 mm here.

Make sure we don't fall it off.

 

And you can see we are seeing all the way up to the roof, and we're seeing all the way down to the ground here.

Not a very good exposure or anything, but with this 8 mm fish eye on a standard affordable, Canon entry-level camera - any of the ones, even the 200D or D200, I can't remember the model numbers - all you need is four shots. So, you just shoot at 90 degree intervals.

You just rotate this guy around.

I don't have my click stop set at exactly 90. I'll just do that.

There's a little plunger here on the ring-style panoramic head to set your settings.

I'll set it for 90 degrees.

And everybody can come up here and have a little look at this after I'm done - have a little touch and feel.

Let me just get that screwed in here.

So, basically, there's 90 degrees, rotate it again and it clicks, 90 degrees, rotate again, it clicks, clicks.

And there you go.

Four shots at 8 mm on an affordable camera, is everything you need for the complete sphere to be captured.

 

Now here's the one little let-down: Photoshop and Lightroom don't stitch fish eye lenses very well. It's not going to work.

You will need some stitching software.

There's a free solution called Hugin, and then there's some paid solutions.

The one I like to use is called PTGui.

 

So that's the ring-style panoramic head - very easy. There are literally tens of thousands of photographers running around the world using these style panoramic heads, shooting Google Street View, because Google opened up their platform for anyone to publish and that's what they wanted you to use.

 

Now, there is the... let's go back to our slides here.

The fully adjustable panoramic head.

So, let's get that guy out here.

So, here's one of them.

Now, we'll just move over.

Now, this one is a bit more complex and it's what you use to shoot multiple row panoramas.

So, let's very quickly get this camera off here. We'll put our lens back on.

So, if all you want to shoot is simple spheres, and make little planets like that - that's all you need; one of these ring-style heads. They're very nice.

 

[John removes the camera from the tripod and replaces the standard lens]

 

So, I'll just put this down here.

So, to use the fully adjustable panoramic head, we're mounting the camera to it.

So, I'll just get it in here. This thing uses all Arca Swiss plates.

And as you see, I've got the camera somewhat mounted on the back, because, as I was telling you, it's the front of the lens that is the no parallax point.

Now, I've just eyeballed it in here.

You kind of want to get it to millimeter accuracy to get your best panoramic stitches - specifically if you're shooting indoors.

A millimeter error on either of these axes will be noticeable on an indoor panorama of a room; outdoor landscapes you'd never notice.

You could be out by several centimeters and you'd never know.

 

But that's how this works!

So, you have an axis here, so you can do multiple rows.

 

[John demonstrates the vertical axis]

 

Just adjust your overlap so you get enough for stitching.

 

And you've got, on the rotator down here, a whole slew of settings so that you can have...

Well, there's like probably, sixteen different click stops so that you can adjust your overlap.

 

[John demonstrates the horizontal axis]

 

And you just feel it; it's very easy to use.

So, that's the full adjustable panoramic head.

And, lastly, let me just get this out of the way.

There are robotic pano heads.

 

So, let me just show you a quick little slide of what some of these robotic pano heads look like.

So, let's make that full screen here.

 

[Screen shows an image of a multitude of different mounted systems showing the robotic panoramic heads, with the words, Gigapixel Panoramas? Choose your weapon, in the center]

 

People like the robotic pano heads to make gigapixel resolution panoramas.

There are a lot of advantages to them: They work automatically - you just sort of set it, program it, and let it shoot.

Peter Michael, our managing director here at Michael's Camera, has one of the GigaPan brand robotic pano heads, which is... where is it in the picture here?

It's kind of like this one here.

 

And he's been using it. I don't know if he used it on this panoramic that we have behind us on the wall here or not.

I personally, like the high resolution fully adjustable one, like I just showed you, because I find it very important to choose the time when I take each frame. Because there might be moving things happening in the scene.

If it's a robotic head, it kind of, just takes frames whenever you want and you might have cars passing across boundaries; people in the image sixteen times because they're walking and the panoramic head is just tracking them.

But, there are a lot of reasons to use them and if you need to shoot a thousand pictures to build a mosaic, you might want the robotic head.

 

I've done some thousand frame panoramas by hand.

I can do about a thousand frames in an hour, shooting these things.

 

So, those are the sorts of panoramic heads.

 

So, now, let's get back to our slides.

 

So, how do we assemble a panorama?

 

[Slides is titled, How to Assemble a Panorama, with 4 bullet points]

 

Well, right off the bat, if a camera, or our phone that we're shooting our little sweep panoramas doesn't do it, we're going to need software.

As I said earlier, Photoshop and Lightroom have some tools built-in these days, including Photoshop Elements.

By the way, if you noticed the photo news today, Photoshop Elements new version was just announced, so that's your, soft of, Photoshop on the cheap.

I think the price was $80 US, or something for the license.

So, that's quite exciting. Lots of new features in that.

Basically, Photoshop Elements has got almost everything the enthusiast photographer needs, without all the expense, or the subscription model of Photoshop Creative Cloud.

 

So, let me just do a quick... unfortunately, I don't have any of the software running on this little presentation laptop, but I took a couple of screen grabs before I came in today.

And I just want to show you a simple panoramic project.

 

So, here we have...

This is a really simple series of photos.

All it is, is me taking pictures out of the car window while I was in Canada on a trip to see my family a few years ago.

 

[Screen shows a series of photos of a green field with a fence running through it, and some hay bales]

 

So, you see I've held the camera vertically and I'm just sweeping from left to right.

You can do right to left, but I tend to go left to right. I don't know why.

Maybe because that's the direction English speaking people read.

 

So, there are the pictures. It's just a farmer's field.

We've got some big circular hay bales out there drying in the field.

And I want to assemble that.

So, I've brought, oh and I've even got my hand in the mirror there, you can see in the side window. So, we'll probably want to crop that out later.

 

So, what I've done, I've opened all six frames in Photoshop.

 

[Screen shows all six images laid out in a grid]

 

And I've gone and I've run the Photoshop Photomerge command, and I've just said, use auto, use all open files. I think I said correct for...

Blend images together, vignetting correction.

All the defaults are fine.

And you just do this and lo and behold, there it is.

It spits it out.

 

[Screen shows a blended image of the farm field with the fence and hay bales]

 

And because it's hand-held, you know you move your hands a little wee bit, you know, your sky is a little high on the one side and a little low on the other side.

If we just go back to that slide.

It's even used content-aware fill to add some extra grass and some extra sky, where I had no content.

And, now, I could then re-crop into this and I could possible clone out that mirror, it's just grass over there, but there you go.

That was no panoramic head use; that was just me hanging out the car window taking a picture of a farmer's field I kind of liked.

 

Photoshop and Lightroom assemble that like butter. Not a problem at all.

 

So, back to our slides here.

 

[Screen returns to the, How to Assemble a Panorama slide]

 

How are we doing on time?

Oh, we're really running a bit late. I'm going to have to go quick.

 

There are specialised applications for when things get tricky.

Tricky is making little planets and spherical panoramas.

You're going to need software to do that.

The free application, Hugin, can do it. It's a little hard to use.

I like to use PTGui. It's $150 Australian or something. Great program. Been using it for fifteen years.

There's another program called Kolor Autopano. It's also quite popular.

I just find that the results I get with PTGui are a bit better.

 

Let's quickly go through our commercial uses.

 

[Slide is titled Commercial uses of Panoramas]

 

[Slide is titled, Panoramic Tours, with 5 bullet points]

 

Obviously, Panoramic Tours. Virtual tours.

If you've ever used Google Streetview, you're using a virtual tour. You're moving around the streets in a virtual environment with those cameras that have been on the top of the Google cars for years.

 

Google has created more panoramas than everyone else combined, thanks to Streetview.

 

There's now Streetview mobile - you can talk to your Ricoh Theta to it and publish directly to the Google platform.

If anybody wants to hang around a little afterwards I will, I am happy to show you the Streetview app.

I know that some people have to leave because it is lunch time.

I apologise for running a little bit late.

 

Then of course, there are custom virtual tours that are produced with software such as Kolor's Panotour Pro, and Garden Gnome Software.

Those are the two main companies.

I use the Kolor app.

Kolor was recently purchased by GoPro because it's such a big market and they had video stitching software.

So, video is where a lot of the money is going.

 

So, let's just quickly show you a virtual tour that has been put together in the Panotour Pro app.

So, let's click over to Safari.

I want to go over to here.

And, let's make this full screen.

And here we are, a panorama.

I'm sort of killing two birds with one stone because we're running late.

So, this is a panorama that's been shot from a drone. Which, of course, gets really exciting.

 

[Screen shows a panoramic view taken above a beachfront city]

 

And, we're running it in a virtual tour here, from Panotour Pro.

We can go up and down, look at the sky; we can look straight down.

We can zoom in and we can zoom out.

And, of course, we can even have a bit of fun here and we can look at this in Little Planet view.

 

[Image changes to a small spherical version of the image]

 

And if you've looked at what I've been doing over here with my print on the side - I'll zoom in a little bit.

Oh, zoom in... there we go, zoom in.

And you see that it's all interactive.

So, you can go around and you can look inside things.

 

This is an actual commercial job that I did for a bicycle store that is for sale.

So, not only did the client want to have his bike store photo - oh, hold on a sec, sorry - he wanted the interior of the bike store.

So, here's a standard panorama of the interior of the bike store shot with that fish eye lens.

He wanted to show where the store was located, in Port Melbourne, to prospective buyers.

Because, hey, maybe you want to buy a business that's in Port Melbourne where there are a lot of high-end apartment buildings where people buy carbon fibre bikes.

So, that's how that worked.

 

Let me go back...

And there were two aerial panos.

One was shot from the beach - that little arrow there is a little graphical overlay I threw into it to show where the store was located.

And there was another panorama, taken from a park off the shopping district.

Again, you need to fly over unpopulated areas with your drone.

 

But, here's a drone.

 

[John holds a large white drone with a camera underneath]

 

Drone's got a camera.

Drone sits in the air and it, sort of, and it's almost locked there in the air thanks to GPS, rotate the drone, tilt the camera up and down, shoot enough frames, you got yourself a panorama.

 

It's great fun; I'm addicted to it.

Just absolutely love shooting panoramas from my drone.

 

And, because the drone doesn't have a fish eye lens, got to shoot a few more images, but, you get a high resolution result.

I currently fly the Phantom 4 Pro. It's got a 20 MB sensor and a 24 mm effective focal length - gives me a resulting panorama size, 252 megapixels.

So, that's quite cool.

 

Yes, there we go, so panoramic tours.

 

So, virtual tourism.

 

[Slide is titled, Virtual Tourism, with 4 bullet points]

 

Wow, I mean, people want to see what other places look like.

We've been doing our virtual tourism through Google Streetview for years.

But, of course, now, we can take video in these locations and we can watch them in our VR headsets.

So, we have these electronic displays.

Here, this one is a cheap one; you just put a cellphone in here and you put it on your eyes and you can see the world, and you can shoot video with the Theta and interact with it, with the headset.

Really exciting stuff!

So, the whole world of virtual tourism, it's, you know, it's going crazy!

 

There are people who shoot huge high-resolution gigapans from city towers and the like. It's very popular in Europe.

All sorts of them, all trying to break gigapixel record sizes.

Done pictures way bigger than I've ever shot.

 

And, of course, as I just said, modern GPS located drones have enabled affordable, high-resolution panoramic photography from the air.

 

The DGI company recently acquired Hasselblad. So they're now making big drones that carry 100 megapixel medium format cameras.

There's no need to fly conventional aircraft to shoot aerial photos.

 

Imagine the panos they'd be able to shoot with 100 megapixel medium format camera on a drone?

I can't wait to get one!

 

Environmental training.

 

[Slide is titled, Environmental Training, with 3 bullet points]

 

People are using 360 degree stills and video to show people training material in hazardous environments, without taking them to those hazardous environments.

Qantas has been producing a whole bunch of training material that a colleague of mine has been shooting for baggage handlers.

So, they're just using it in induction.

They can show all of the potential threat assessments, without, you know, having a threat at all.

 

So, really, it's really interesting.

 

There are all sorts of transportation applications for this.

You know, we can show the virtual scene around a moving vehicle, for simulators.

And, of course, they use panoramas in virtual worlds for video games.

 

Social tagging.

 

[Slide is titled, Social Tagging, with 3 bullet points]

 

It's not as popular now as it was a couple of years ago, but there were a lot of companies that were shooting these huge stadium panoramas, very high resolution, and they were getting like a beverage company to sponsor it and you could zoom in and find your face in the crowd, identify it, and tag it on Facebook, and the whole thing would go viral.

So, a few of these things have been done in Australia.

They did a lot of cricket matches; they've done some AFL games; there have been a few concerts.

There were some real famous ones done on the U2 tour a few years ago.

So, it was quite popular.

I did a test case on one of these a few years ago at a concert in the Yara valley at a winery.

Good fun.

It might have gone out of fashion now. I'm not seeing it as much as I was two or three years ago.

 

Lastly, panoramic printing.

 

[Slide is titled, Panorama Printing, Going Large, with 4 bullet points]

 

Well, I love printing. One of the things we say here at Michael's, it's not real until you get it on paper.

We want to see your stuff printed' we're happy to help you.

And, there's just this immense amount of pleasure when you see your digital works come to life on your wall.

And, of course, that's why we've got pictures all over the wall here at Michael's, and including panoramas.

This wall behind me is a Barcelona panorama that our managing director, Peter Michael, shot.

Over here, where Alwyn is standing at the back, there's a panorama of a city pub.

You can even find a stitching error in it if you want to.

It's around Alwyn's leg.

Take a look!

 

[Laughs]

 

There's a foot that's kind of disconnected over there, I believe.

 

So, the panoramic printing is great.

You can make these crazy Little Planets.

You can shoot such high res pictures that you can go really, really large.

You can wrap a room in a picture, you've got so much detail.

 

And we can do it for you with digital wallpaper here that we print.

 

So, the panorama is your friend when you need more pixels.

The little Theta shoots a 14 megapixel pano, you know, you've seen the results on the prints I just handed around.

Yeah, you go on the wall it'll be a bit pixelated.

But, maybe you want to really wow someone, you get right in, you know, your face, a foot away from a wall print, with hundreds and hundreds of megapixels of detail.

We can take care of you and we can wrap a wall.

 

So, there you go, that's kind of, Going Wide, a little primer.

 

I've covered a lot of things; I ran a little bit late.

I apologise.

But now I'm happy to take some questions and anybody who wants to hang out longer and talk to me, I've got lots of stuff to show up here.

Plenty of things that we didn't show.

I can even demonstrate some software on the computer in the back.

 

I apologise for the technical glitch here, but I hope that my excitement of panoramas wears off on your and shows it's...

It was my little area and I was good at it.

I'm not much of an artist, but I' pretty good at assembling panoramas.

 

Anyway, if anybody has a question, I think we've got a hand-held microphone somewhere around here, because we are broadcasting, we'd like to get the questions.

Oh, Daffyd, with the cap in the back of the room will come to you.

So, if you have a question, feed it to me.

There's a young lady in the back.

 

(Audience member)

Okay, this is a little bit of a random question. You'll probably get more appropriate ones, I'm sure.

But, do you know of the David Copperfield Statue of Liberty illusion, where he made the Statue of Liberty disappear through rotating a platform?

 

(John)

I have no idea how he did that, but I remember seeing that in a television show.

I can't remember what show I watched.

 

(Audience member)

Well, This American Life has a podcast about it. But, my question is, what is the worst thing you've done that just looked hilarious in a pano?

 

(John)

(John)

Oh, my God. I don't think...

 

(Audience member)

Yeah, because I've done some bad ones.

 

(John)

I will definitely put it as a link into this broadcast when it goes up on YouTube, but, I have made mistakes in stitching panoramas many times.

The software is better and better today than it ever was, but, say, four or five years ago, putting together these spheres had been difficult.

And I had a sphere that I shot in front of that really big sculpture on the South Bank side across from Crown Towers - there's a big sculpture that looks like arms out, really, really tall; I don't know what it's called - but anyway, I shot a panorama in front of it and it was shot on a Canon 7D with a 15 mm fish eye in a - excuse me - in an eight column by three row grid configuration. So, a lot of pictures in it.

And in a high dynamic range.

Excuse me, losing my breath here.

And when I went to assemble it, there was some screw up, and I ended up with this assembly that all the pictures had white around it, and I had the little frames where like petals of a flower.

And I have no idea how I did it, I never was able to repeat it and I'm not 100% certain if I saved the project file, but I did render it out, and it looks like a flower.

So it was a happy mistake.

I also did another panorama with a really, really ugly HDR, like so over the top it was like Trey Radcliffe on LSD, and if anybody knows who Trey Radcliffe is, he does some of the ugliest HDR you've ever seen. Makes a lot of money; he's better at it than me I guess, so.

But anyway, overblown HDR, I can't stand it.

 

[Smacks chest]

 

I said it!

 

Anyway, I did it on this panorama and it was in this weird store in Fitzroy that sold Mexican trinkets or something - really weird place called Loca dor... I don't remember what it was called.

Anyway, the thing assembled with errors all over the place and it looked like a Picasso cubist painting.

And, again, I don't know what caused the stitching error, but it was really cool and I kept it, and I published it.

 

[Laughs]

 

So, yeah, mistakes slip in all the time.

And, needless to say, when you're shooting panoramic mosaics you have a very high potential of error, because you cannot control what happens in the scene.

As I was talking about temporal distortion, time based distortion, you want to shoot panoramas with mosaics and there are waves rolling in... you're never going to get the waves to line up.

You're going to have to Photoshop the hell out of that thing later to make the waves look good.

So, you've got to, kind of, time it.

When you shoot panoramas in crowds of people it's so difficult because they're moving all over the place.

It's going to be very hard to deliver one that doesn't have people all over the place, or you're cutting off their legs.

So, I've got this one and I'll bring it up...

Let me see if I can...

I don't know if I can find it here.

 

Problem is, I'm actually doing the seminar from a computer that's not mine.

Mine's running the live broadcast back there.

I can...

I'll just describe it and I'll put a link into the eventual broadcast.

 

It was a Times Square, New York City, panorama.

It's got about 150 images in it.

And it literally took me 40 hours to assemble it.

An obscene amount of effort and it used to be displayed on the wall here at Michael's and I was looking for the print, but I don't know where the print went.

 

Ah, I'm getting the time thing. We're sort of running a bit late.

 

But, anyway, huge amount of effort.

It wouldn't have worked without all that labour, so it's nice.

 

So, shall we call it now or should we take anymore questions? How do you feel?

 

If everybody is happy to stay, I'm happy to answer more questions.

 

Okay. Thank you.

 

(Audience member)

Thank you. My name's Daniel. Thank you, so far, for your insights.

The question I have is, most of the professionals in photography that I listen to, they talk about Photoshop as the preferred software of choice.

I'm nothing more than an enthusiast, or hobbyist when it comes to dabbling in photography, and I find Photoshop a bit technically cumbersome, and also, a little bit on the dear side to buy that software to use just on the odd occasion.

Is there any alternative software that we could use, given today's, most of today's photography is done on a digital platform, making it a lot easier to manipulate and play with the image.

 

(John)

Well, most computers now come with some very basic photo editing software.

So, if you use an Apple computer by chance, just the Photos app has got very basic things.

I mean, the classic thing that people need to do is crop an image, rotate it to fix a skewed horizon, and maybe increase the saturation or the exposure, and those things exist in almost every simple application.

There are quite a few public domain ones.

I'm trying to think. There was one a client suggested to me the other day that's open source.

It was, kind of, like Adobe's Lightroom. So there is an awful lot that's free.

What you are saying we get all the time.

Photoshop is a sledge hammer of an application.

There's so much in it.

So, Photoshop Elements is a lot simpler, and then after that you go down to some of these simple free tools.

I'll put some links to some of these applications into the YouTube video.

So, look for that on the Michael's channel.

But, if you're a Mac user, just try the Photos app.

And, of course, even on your iPhone there are an awful lot of little free applications.

And, I'm sure Android phones would have it; I use Apple stuff.

But, there are so many simple applications; just you just move a few little finger gestures and you can clean it up.

Most people do not need what Photoshop does.

As a matter of fact, I don't use a lot of Photoshop in my work.

Yes, the final fine tuning.

I use mostly Adobe Lightroom, which is called a workflow system, and that does the RAW file conversions.

Photoshop is only for the fine tuning.

I am definitely, by no stretch of the imagination am I a Photoshop expert.

I'm pretty good at stitching though!

 

[Laughs]

 

But anyway, a very good question, and I know a lot of people struggle with Photoshop.

As a matter of fact, Alwyn is about to start his new course in Photoshop Elements.

So, we're going to have that here at Michael's.

Much more friendly program - very affordable.

 

Any other questions?

Okay!

Well, we'll end the broadcast.

I'm happy to hang out a little bit longer.

I'm sorry I've kept you people a little longer than our allotted lunch time.

But if you want to come up and see some of this stuff, we'll turn the lights on.

 

Happy to give you some demonstrations.

You can pick my brain in private.

 

Okay, take care.

Thanks so much for joining us!

 

[Applause]

 

Really appreciate it.

Thanks to our Facebook viewers - hope there were a few; I don't really know!

We'll probably have to answer a few questions on that feed and on the Michael's YouTube channel, this broadcast will be repeated.

Give me a day or two to put it online.

 

Hopefully, it all worked out well.

And we had a great turnout!

 

Hopefully, you got a little bit of the panoramic kick!

 

Get in touch with me, I'm easy to find.

I'm always here, five days a week.

If you've got questions, always happy to help.

 

Take care! We'll see you next time.