A panoramic video is a wide-angle view of a scene or area. Usually in the span of 360 degree video, a it captures multiple angles of a landscape. A single lens camera or multi-camera system can be used. Panoramic video is a fun new way to enjoy multi-media experiences and there are many ways to utilize it. I will explore some tips on how to make panoramic video as well as how to put it to use. There are several types of layouts but the most used are in spherical projection and cylindrical projection. Lesser known is the “doughnut” projection of the video, which films the scene from above from a single viewpoint.
How to Make It
Shooting panoramic video requires a camera and several overlapping images of a scene, which will then be stitched together using your choice of software. I recommend these portable cameras for the best capture.
- GoPro °
To capture a spherical, panoramic video, arrange several GoPros with a spherical rig, then stitch the takes together.
Small, simple, effective.
- Ricoh Theta
Offers the 360° experience in the grip of your hand with one click.
A few precautionary tips before filming are to make sure all of the cameras are synced (if you are using multiple cameras to film) and make sure your camera(s) are at their highest frame rates. A great online source for learning how to shoot a panoramic video is howtoshoot360.com.
After you shoot, your takes of the video will be stitched together using control points that are similar in each image. Another great resource which explains in detail how to stitch together your videos is PTGui, which is a stitching program itself.
How to Use It
There are a ton of fun yet practical uses for panoramic video. Depending on your mood and needs, be the producer or viewer.
Produce and watch virtual reality films. The Oculus Rift, which comes with a pair of stereoscopic 3D lenses, is perfect for watching panoramic videos up-close and so are many other headsets designed for VR Use.
Panoramic, 360 videos are also useful in giving virtual reality tours. Shoot a beautiful landscape, show a property, or tour the halls of a college. Users will be immersed in the tour with a beautiful panoramic scene.
Computer generated video games also use panoramic scenes along with virtual reality headsets to provide the gamer with a more realistic, exciting gaming experience.