An Inexpensive Video Panorama System

bcmeikle@shaw.ca     Week 1,  , Week 2 , Week3 , Week4 , Week5 , Week6


Week  1:

           For some time now I've been making video panoramas .

            but how to capture them has remained a mystery.

            Here's a great page that shows a ton of panoramic video systems.

             However when we talk about the QTVR community, we want fairly inexpensive, and it has to work on a
macintosh computer....

tinycam.jpg

           Today I started working on this So far they're just duct taped onto a book but there are 6 wide angle video cameras (firewire) :

              A picture of the 6 camera rig

       The cameras are fire-i board cameras with a wide angle lens. They cost $129 so
6 of them costs $774...

       The first problem I ran into was getting the cameras to all work at once. Most of the first day was spent
wrestling with 2 6 port hubs I bought. It turns out that plan 'a' wouldn't work. As soon as I connected a second hub all heck broke loose. Some firewire didn't work, and it even knocked out my USB! (the keyboard went dead)

         So at dinner, I thought that it was nice to have the cameras but it would be a long road to getting a panoramic  video out of them.

          After dinner I tried daisy chaining them. I took the output firewire from camera 1 and put it in camera 2 and it worked great!

          All the camera lights did go off at the end of that session. There wasn't enough power for 6 cameras coming across the firewire I guessed, so I put a 12 volt power supply in to the first camera in the daisychain.

          The first app I downloaded to test was called Live Channel Pro. It allowed me to play all 6 videos at once.

          Then I downloaded Ben Birds' Security Spy software. It was there that I got my first view of my goal: 6 cameras displaying in realtime in a single window!

                                                           6 images in a single window


    So, if 6 realtime vids can display in a single window, can I put them together side to side, in a rough stitch and write them to the drive?

    After that it would just be a question of using helmut's tool PanoTools to do the final stitch with an applescript?
in post production.


Day 3:
Feb 15, 2004:

            I'm pretty happy with how it's going. I was able to get my little application (based on apple sample code)
to work today. The sample code showed how to do a video sequence grab for a single camera, but I was unsure of
how it would go with 6 cameras.
          So I have 6 windows open as I type, each with a different view of the room. Now all I have to do
is figure out how to get all the windows into one (like above but stretched out) and save that to disk. I want max
resolution and the drive has to be able to not fail.

6 camera views from MyApp
       

Day 4:

        I got all the videos drawing into the same window and I'm working on saving to disk...

all videos in a single window




Day 6:

Spent a few days rewriting the code with jon summers from vrtools


Today I built Hat1, which is way too spread out but may work for my first panos...
I'll use evocam to catch some video if I can.

Hat one


Hat two




Feb 14,2003

         I'm impressed that just 7 days after I started I can show this rather primitive proof of concept

and this badly stitched panning video of 4 frames(press spacebar to stop/go. Use the arrow keys to step through it) :




         Now to learn Helmut Dersch's great open source stitching app called 'PanoTools' and figure out a way to automate the process...


Click here to go onto week 2.