Instructables
Picture of No-Stitch Panorama Picture
Hugely wide panorama picture kept fascinating me since I was a kid. Photo stitching software seem to have done a lot of progress these days. However, I was intimidated by the process of shooting the pictures (slightly overlapping, horizontally aligned) and doing the manual stitching adjustments, etc. and never made the step(1).

An alternate method, based on capturing a rotating vertical scanline, and then letting some software do all the job, has been in my head since about two years.

Having received a whole set of Fischertechnik (2) components helped me decide to experiment it, just for the sake of verifying the idea.

Then, although the whole is still a work in progress, the results are so good that I wanted to share them with you. It has room for many improvements to increase resolution and usability, but it basically works pretty well.

Read on, make one, and show your results!

(1) In short, I have much more interest in spending time engineering something (that can later be effortlessly reused), rather than tediously executing manual work.
(2) Fischertechnik is to mechanic what breadboard is to electronic --Well it's more than just that, but you get the idea.




Step 1: The Idea

Picture of The Idea
b-capture.png
0-movie.png
1-frames.png
2-hstrips.png
3-vstrips.png
4-pano.png
The principle
A movie consists of a succession of pictures shot rapidly (30 per second). We will only consider the vertical central line (1 pixel thick), that we'll call the scanline. When slowly rotating the camera, each frame will be like the last one, but very slightly shifted. So the scanline will sweep the whole scene.

Being in the center of the frame, the scanline will have no lateral barrel distortion. The scanline will also be very well horizontally aligned (relative to the rotation axis).

In order to collect more vertical pixels (i.e. to have a taller scanline, hence a higher vertical resolution), the camera is rotated by 90°. This rotation will have to be taken into account during the post-processing.

In summary, there are two phases:
  1. Capture: The first part consists of shooting the movie in slow and continuous rotation. It only needs a camera able to shoot video clips, and a motorized rotating mount.
  2. Post-processing: The second part needs a computer program. It consists of extracting the central column of pixels (corresponding to the scanline) from each movie frame, and stitching them together to form the panorama image.

Enough theory, now let's test this principle

So if you want to experiment too, you must be (for now) familiar with computer command-line tools:
  • the installation of command-line tools,
  • the operation of command-line tools,
  • the edition of script files, to tweak some parameters.
I will only provide instructions for experienced such users, and not how to get acquainted to the command line.
Tested on Linux (Ububtu) and Mac OSX so far.

But, upon popular request, I may write a user-friendly program that anybody can user.
 
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timweaver173 years ago
this is excellent! just wondering if you have any sort of formula that could be used to calculate various variables, like everything listed in bullet 6 on step 8...
laxap (author)  timweaver173 years ago
What I do to calibrate the vertical ratio (see pic 2 in step 9) is manage to have a spherical object in the scene, then adjust the ratio to get the same diameter in all directions. This ratio will be valid for a certain zoom, resolution, and rotation speed.

This empirical ratio could tune a quite simple formula... I'll keep you updated.
vince0863 years ago
I love panoramas since I discovered the function on my camera.
It takes 3 pictures, after each one the side of the last one is shown so that you can line them up. It gives very good results (with some funny errors sometimes).
The problem with this is that people and objects need to keep perfectly still for it to work.
I would love to have a program that does what you described!
Light_Lab3 years ago
Nice pictures but I am a bit confused; in the heading you say "No-Stitch..." yet in the description you say ".....and stitching them together to form the panorama image".
I really can't see how this is different to how "Panorama Maker" makes panoramas out of video files except you are using a motorized rotating mount. I guess the mount could do a better job than hand held, but at 25 to 60 frames a second there is already a lot of image redundancy. Most video-panoramas I have made work quite well with the camera waving about all over the place.
ogorir3 years ago
something that might be worthwhile looking into with this setup is a newer DSLR that shoots 1080P 60fps. you can lock your exposure and focus so you don't get the banding and could rotate the camera faster, not to mention 1080 px image height.
You enspired me. The most I have done was stitch photos with picture publisher software, but as you mentioned the two photos your trying to stitch don't always match up just right. I did have a method of side stepping two ft and then photographing what ever was in front of me again or turning and loosing half a photograph with each shot. I will look through my photos using your technique. Hope I earn a patch. Take a look at my sock maker when you have a minute.
laxap (author)  NaturalCrafter3 years ago
Are you intending to do a movie-to-picture panorama (as described in this ible)?  Tell me if you need help with converting the movie.

To get a patch, post either a panorama made this way, or your mount (or a work in progress).

Windows Live Photo Editor also has a really nice panorama feature. Just browse to the photos you want to stich and it does pretty much all the rest.
maybe a rotation table from an old microwave oven might work for turntable.
and I recently bought a HD mini DV camera RD52 SHE 2 MP camera mini SD card with 2GB card 640 X 480 pixels 30 framesper second resolution 1024 X 960 DPI video plays in media player no conversion required. camera cost less the fourty dollars on hobby parts web site hope this helps (Rapid)
HMBeck3 years ago
You have an extremely nice looking house and property. It looks amazing!
MaJonesy3 years ago
I love the concept and the outcome, but I feel you might of over complicated shooting Panorama's. I know there are millions of ways to shoot them, with good and bad results.

The method I use to shoot my panorama's is very simple and can get really good results with minimal effort. Just use any camera, place it on a tripod take as many shots as you can (I usually end up taking about a hundred or more)... Then upload all your shots to your computer and use a free program called "Microsoft ICE" (Image Composite Editor)... The program will automatically stitch it all together, after this you can crop the image to any size you want and export it to many different formats..

Program Overview Page: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ICE/
rimar20003 years ago
Excellent!