Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Way Useful Lens Database

Thanks to Nhat V Meyer of the San Jose Mercury News for posting (via the NewspaperVideo Yahoo group) a link to VRWave.com. It looks like the site is under construction, but it's already worthy due to its excellent list of lenses (Canon, Nikon, etc.) and their specifications for panoramic use.

Not only do we use fisheyes for panoramas, we can also use conventional lenses (both prime and zoom). And, we don't have to shoot full 360x180 panoramas - partial cylindrical panoramas can work quite well for story telling especially if you need a really wide view. If you remember the Widelux or Horizon panoramic film cameras, these panoramas will remind you of that"bananarama" effect. Here's an example I shot earlier this year where I needed to have both the building we were reporting on and the skyline. Another advantage of cylindrical panos is they're easier to publish in print - you don't have the extreme distortion at the top and bottom of the images as in equirectangular projections.

The database includes Field of View parameters for these lenses, and (this is the best part) it tells you how to set up a multi-row panorama. The key info is: pitch in degrees for each row, number of rows, and number of images per row. This is key information if you're going to stitch a multi-row, high-resolution panorama for posting to gigapan.org (see an earlier post for details). PTGui handles these multi-row panoramas quite nicely.


nhatgnat said...

Hey thanks for the mention - I wish I had found your site four/five months ago when I was struggling to figure these things out, lots of great info on here! Hey I interned in Greensboro back in '96 we probably crossed paths then huh?

Gary O'Brien said...

I was deep in a photo systems job in '96... slaving away over purchase orders, databases and workflows. I'm glad to be back in content generation!