Sunday, March 9, 2008

Introduction to Panoramas on

A great resource for multimedia journalists is, the site of the multi-talented Zach Wise. He is a multimedia producer at the Las Vegas Sun who I met at the 2007 NPPA Multimedia Immersion in Portland, OR. He's also a great teacher.
As part of his multimedia work, he shoots 3-shot panoramas with a Sigma 8mm and a Canon 5D. This is a great setup for photojournalists because it's fast, enabling the capture of dynamic scenes. There's sufficient overlap between frames to allow for subject movement in those areas.
Zach has put together a very cool demo that shows the overlap between frames. What happens in those areas between frames is crucial to the success of our panoramas.
The website features a link to Zach's panoramas (including one from last week's NASCAR race) and the staff's multimedia on its home page. I'm very envious.

PTGui for Beginners from John Houghton

John Houghton has written several excellent tutorials on his site. His PTGui for Beginners is as good a tutorial as I have found for using PTGui in its Basic mode. It's written for Windows users, but if you're using a Mac, the information about PTGui is nearly identical.

If you've been trying PTGui and are getting frustrated, grab a set of pano images (John provides the set of images used in the tutorial), set aside a couple of hours and go through this tutorial - slowly.

A couple things:
The trial version of PTGui will work just fine for this tutorial.
At first, I would recommend ignoring the part about Smartblend, as the blender built into PTGui will work just fine.
Under the header "Viewing the Stitched Panorama", Mac users can also use Cubic Converter, as well as Pano2VR to convert the equirectangular image into a QTVR file.