Dienstag, 27. November 2007

PanoRig Chapter 2 - Disassembling the camera

This is the first major challenge. There is no remote control or jack to plug in a remote control like in the good old times where could plugin a wire to trigger the shutter. A mechanical workaround like the inflatable-bulb-press-the-button is not an option because to unreliable. We need 10 cameras to fire at the same time (and all of them, not only 9). Todays consumer cameras are a small piece of plastic with lots of tiny electronics inside. There are not made to allow the owner to fiddle around with. Do you have a medium format camera ? You can access most of the interior easily. Since the manufacturer giving warranty on their camera, it is in their interest to be able to open and fix the camera when a customer sends it in for repair.

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any damages, injuries or mental or financial losses you might have or experience during the course of this exercise ! This is happening without direct or indirect support of BenQ.

Step 1: Open the box ;-)
Step 2: Get Ready
Only small screwdriver required.
Step 3: Remove all screws
Break the warranty seal, YES! I am sure the BenQ love this step because it voids the warranty.
Please take note where you remove the screws, there are different screws at the bottom.
Step 4: Open the body
Slowly tilt the backside to the upper part of the camera (with the buttons). Please do this carefully, try to get some feeling for the sensitive and plasticy body !
Step 5: Look around
Check out what you find after opening the stomach of the patient. Please take note of the very sensitive flat wire connecting back of the camera (screen) and the electronics. Do NOT attempt to remove it without special tools.

To be continued..

PanoRig Chapter 1 - Concept and Plan

1) Create a remote control for the camera. Since there is no build-in version, so we need to open the camera case and add some wires for external access. I will attach a jack to the body,
to add flexibility for setup and transport, also to allow to use the cameras individually.
2) Create a base plate with 10 tripod-heads, this gives some manual way for fintetuning the individual camera positions.
3) Create an external piece of electronic, a multiple trigger, that fires the 10 cameras at the same time. Optional use a remote control kit to trigger from a distance.
4) Use the camera with 10 memory cards, download and batch-rename the pictures to allow automatic stitching in PTGUI.

Sonntag, 18. November 2007

BenQ DC C740i times 10

Embarking on the next digital panoramic mission ! How you shot a 360 panorama of a crowded place without running into the problem of ghosts, half people/cars in the final picture because of shooting in segments, turning the camera and stitching the panorama afterwards ? You could use a Roundshot, but its film based or a digital panorama camera (Spherocam, Panoscan,..), but these cameras are too slow and not capable to scan moving objects correctly (due to the vertical scanner concept) even ignoring the hefty price tag.
Inspired by Chris Ramirez Event-Cam using 10 cameras on a rig and shooting 360 degree simultaneously I will build my own version of this. I hope Kaidan dont have a patent on assembling 10 cameras on a rig. But here the link to the original "camera".

Pre-Requirements (technical)
a) Manual Mode for aperture and shutter speed
b) Manual mode for color temperature
c) Remote Control

Pre-Requirements (my budget)
a) For this project spend less than 1500 U$.
(please fell free to mount 10 Canon 1Ds III with L 14mm together)

a) Mount the cameras on a plate on a tripod.
b) Trigger all at the same time remotely.
c) The parallax error that we create because the cameras are not virtually in the same spot (nodal point), but mounted in a small circle with the lens pointing outwards.

I am not sure how long this project will take, but I will publish all the steps as the projects progresses in their own chapters.

The Camera
I finally found the C740i recently launched by BenQ. This Korean brand is maybe not famous for cameras, but they sell this camera at a price spiced with features that you dont find (yet) in that low-budget range of consumer cameras.
Some of the key-features:
+ Manual mode (beside the usual full automatic "average joe" mode)
+ Manual color temperature setting (via sunny, cloudy,custom white balance)
+ 7 MP CCD sensor (1/2,5") creating max JPEG 3072 x 2304
+ Pentax lens starting somewhere around 38mm (in 35mm camera language)
+ Price (on Sales in Singapore: 169 S$, around 116 U$)
- 38mm is not really wideangle like the 28mm in the original project but it reduces the parallax problem.
- No remote control.

To be continued..

Sonntag, 11. November 2007

Gigapan Woy Woy Bay

A lovely place near Sydney. A dream to stay with my family in a small house by the sea, a boat. (Fullscreen link)

Samstag, 10. November 2007

Gigapan Adelaide

A large panorama from the trip to South Australia earlier this year. Some activities in the harbor.

Freitag, 9. November 2007

GIGAPAN gigantic panoramic views

I uploaded a couple of pans to the page, I like the concept ! Now they allow to embed the images at other locations. Lets have a try !

Lamma Island, Hong Kong (30.000 x 3.800px - 114MPix) - (GigaPan link)

Mittwoch, 7. November 2007

Daily Dose of V705

The V705 is convenient to bring along, about the size of a mobile phone. I carry her around for a couple of days and even bought a spare energy pack. I need to admit it is impossible to do proper panorama aiming with bright light, I cant see a thing on that screen. Some PS added as ingredient here.

Sonntag, 4. November 2007

New projects

Finally I finished my presentation (and the preparation!), so I can return to the drawing board and work out new (and crazy) projects !
Do you the strange feeling when removing the warranty seal from a camera ? I bought 10 (in words: ten) cameras (the same type of course) and now embarking on a new panoramic project. I keep you posted in the next days and release more informations about. Keep tuned.
(Exhibition/Fair on Friday, nothing to buy, just look and touch)