panorama software,virtual tour software
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2006-02-08
#12

Ok... I waited long enough for Markus to 'Toot his own horn'.  So now I will help him.  EVERYONE CHEER !!!!!

VRmag link for Aerial Pano's

http://vrm.vrway.com/issue24/ZURICH_AIRPORT.html

Dave


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#13

We have seen that one before!

Are we cheering for the inclusion in VRMag?

Regards, Smooth


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#14

Ah  yes. Issue 24 for February - March ???? Arrgg  2005 ??? Oops !

He just showed me this article this morning.  I know he has them on his website.  I thought he took the Zurich images last August/ September 2005.

I thought this VRmag was new 2006.  I had not seen it before. 

Dave  8 February 2006. (at least I got todays date correct)


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2006-02-09
#15

Talked to Markus today.  The date - 2005 is wrong.  Should be 2006.  He sent a note to Vrmag.

Dave


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2006-02-03
#16

Yes, I know! He tells me everytime he talks with me on ICQ. LOL

Regards, Smooth


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2006-02-04
#17
Hi Guys.
 
Sorry I haven't been on the forum in a while. RotoPix.com will be back on the net in a few days.
 
Regarding the helicopter aerials, I built a long, wired extension rod with the fisheye aimed straight down, as was mentioned earlier in this thread. It captured Earth with a 360-degree horizon. The sky was added later, with the stitch on the horizon itself... a natural masking point. I used PhotoShop to color-match and blend the lighting levels at the horizon. The sky shots were captured from the rooftop of a tall building (fisheye aimed straight up) as to capture as much of the horizon uninterrupted by other buildings & trees.
 
We did our first aerial in late '99 and have since produced aerial tours for Departments of Economic Development. The tour in the first post on this thread are extremely good examples, and higher resolution than what I had available at the time, but I believe the same technique was used.
 
I also did some preliminary engineering on a helium-bases tethered platform. But the cubic footage of gas alone made each launch around $250 US. A helium recovery system/tanks would be practical over the long run, but even so, telemetry equipment for ground image monitoring and radio shutter release compound the gross payload weight, which doubles your gas & envelope requirements. Eventually you run into the law of diminishing returns. So a helicopter is still your best bet when the client is paying for rental anyway.
 
Cheers,
Brian Jackson
RotoPix

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2006-02-04
#18

Hey Rotopix,

Nice to hear from you again. Thanks giving us the info on your procedure.

Have you looked at the systems from:
http://www.southernballoonworks.com/blimppage1.html

They have small round ballons as well as larger blimps. You use a rig similiar for use in kite aerial photography but attach it to the ballon instead of the kite. I have looked at examples of panos taken this way. This very intersting because you can capture low level panos at say 100 to 300 feet.

The smallest ballon can lift 2.5 pounds with 70 cu ft of helium. The next largest one can lift  7 pounds with 150 cu ft of helium. That's enough to lift any KAP rig.

I don't know what it would cost to use 70 to 150 cu ft of helium.

I would like do both helicopter and low level aerials. Sometime a helicopter can't do the job due to noise issues. I have already had a client tell me they can't use a helicopter for aerial photography because of the homeowners complaints about noise and so forth. I had to use a fixed wing instead.

I also like the "pole" rigs that attach to your car or have a drive on stand but these are very expensive at around $5000 to $10,000.

General Lee


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2006-02-04
#19
Hi Gen Lee.
 
I've seen that site and am impressed with some of the imagery. The main problem I foresaw in spherical imaging using a helium envelope is the stabilization. With a typical Nikon fisheye lens you have 183 degrees field of view. This means your camera can only sway 1.5 degrees in any direction before a good chunk of your horizon is clipped. For straight photography it's not really an issue, and in fact you can use a 30mw green diode laser (lightweight and visible in daylight) to see where your camera is aimed.
 
I did work out a system using 3 smaller (and cheaper) weather balloons and 3 control lines. The balloons collectively contain 1.5 times the helium required for the payload to add redundancy... if any one of the three envelopes ruptures, the other two provide near-buoyancy so you can "reel-in" the rig with the tethered fishing reels. (Use heavy gage kite string, not fishing line. It's too elastic to control in wind.)
 
The 3 envelopes are arranged in a triangle, separated by thin fiberglass rods about 8 feet in length. To solve the "sway" problem the 3 control lines can be tensioned individually to level the floating triangle. The camera/fisheye is suspended under the center of the triangle with 3 more lines that form a parallelogram arrangement. That way, even of the camera is swaying back & forth in the wind, it will always be pointing straight down... or rather, perpendicular to the plane of the triangle. If it was just hanging from a single line or even a pair of lines, there would be no geometry forcing the lens to remain planar. It's also much lighter and cheaper than employing gyroscopes to solve this... just a little creative engineering.
 
I agree that there are many limitations of helicopter-based imaging. A great market for gas-based imaging is low altitude shots over festivals, concert crowds, cities and expensive subdivisions. Also, heli pilots should never fly where there's not a suitable landing spot within gliding distance (yes, helicopters can glide in autorotation!) So this is a platform I've been very interested in. There's just a lot more to it than meets the eye with respect to monitoring, stabilization and telemetry. There are still liability issues and city permits required, depending on where/how/when you're shooting. Get to be friends with your local Chamber of Commerce. They can help with permits, etc., and may be very interested in showcasing your/their city using this method. There's definitely a market.
 
FYI, helium is a byproduct of underground mining. It's located in pockets near, if I remember correctly, uranium deposits. It's a limited resource, and as such is more expensive outside of the United States since the US possesses the densest quantity. People often criticize Germany for filling the Hindenburg with hydrogen, but I've learned the US and other countries imposed an embargo that included helium. So they used a more efficient gas which unfortunately has a crush on those sexy oxygen molecules. Guess that big blimp made up for that small electron count :-)  Some things never change!
 
On another note, please wish me luck. I'm working on an Object Modeling deal with Logitech for their mice, keyboards and 3D motion controllers. They sent me a demo unit called a SpacePilot that's incredible for 3D CAD work... lets you fly through your model with real time control. Will keep everyone posted. Unfortunately the photography required a table saw to build the rig for... I'll explain later.
 
Cheers,
Brian Jackson
RotoPix

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2006-02-04
#20

He's Alive!

G'day Brian,

Looking forward to seeing your site once again, and those new products.

Regards, Smooth


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2006-02-04
#21

Brian,

Thanks a lot for the info man. Yes the stabilization issue is something I have been wondering about. If there is no wind....no problem but when is there no wind. LOL. I live on the coast. The wind blows every day. KAP is definitly an option but you can't always fly a kite where you need to take pictures. Thanks for the tips.

But a pano from 500 feet like yours would be revolutionary  in my market. I coud do 500 feet. But any lower would cause the noise issues.

The low altitude stuff is where the money is at. I am in a rapidly developing area with many large projects under construction. Projects that are just huge encompassing large communities and so forth.

I keep thinking if I could do this by ground and shoot stuff at 100 to 300 feet it would be just awsome. Site plan photography, time lapse over days, survery, and modeling views from condo units would be just $$$ in the bank. We have lots of entertainment venues and also lots of festivals, boat shows and all that stuff.

Cool deal with Logtech. We sure would like to hear about that rig you built. Mabey some pics.....later on of course after you are not too busy.

I just worked a deal with "Playground" (playground.com) a company owned by "Intrawest". They are a huge resort and real estate company. They ordered a 60 property shoot for virtual tours. I'll be busy too.

Thats one reason I need to find a low level aerial solution. This client could use this kind of work

General Lee