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8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?

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8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« on: 25 / April / 2009, 15:08:49 »
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Hi all,

after having read quite a bit of the "Creative Uses of CHDK" forum and done a few searches I like to ask for your input:

I need to build a camera array to take 360 degree panorama pictures. Kind of google streetview-like.
To be mounted ontop a car.
Now the trick is to take all the pictures needed for the panorama AT ONCE.
And every vew seconds.

At the moment idea of the setup looks like this:

Camera array:
8x Canon cameras, no optical zoom. Each to cover at least 55 degrees to allow for a bit of overlapping.
8x sd cards or whatever the cameras need to store pictures.
1x netbook  and 1 or 2 USB-hubs.
8x USB cables to connect the cameras.
1x power supply as needed.

Server:
Download all the pictures (hundreds per camera) from all 8 cameras and then stitch them together to lots of panoramas using hugin.

Question:
What camera do you recommend?
Please keep in mind:

- Must be a production camera that will be available for a few extra years.
- Optical zoom is unnecessary.
- resolution isn't really important. 4 MB would totally do.
 
Workflow:
- take hundreds of sets of 8 pictures at the very same moment (triggered  by USB).
- download all pictures by USB every few hours.

Software:
Can the Linux software available right now trigger 8 cameras at once?

And finally:
What have I forgotten to ask?
Your ideas please?

Thanks.
« Last Edit: 19 / July / 2009, 13:33:15 by janmartin »
DIY-streetview.org - Do It Yourself streetview!

Re: 8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« Reply #1 on: 25 / April / 2009, 15:32:21 »
I need to build a camera array to take 360 degree panorama pictures
Now the trick is to take all the pictures needed for the panorama AT ONCE.

Is to within 1/5000 sec OK ?

I recommend you ask this question on the Yahoo StereoDataMaker Group

Members there have used 7, 8 and even 30 camera arrays !

Peter Murphy is especially expert on this subject including macro panoramas.


David

Re: 8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« Reply #2 on: 25 / April / 2009, 16:14:08 »
Hi David,

totally OK.
A lot lesser accuracy would still do.

More input please?

Thanks,

Jan
DIY-streetview.org - Do It Yourself streetview!

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Offline fudgey

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Re: 8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« Reply #3 on: 26 / April / 2009, 06:05:20 »
New cameras have ridiculously high resolutions compared to your requirements. With high resolution comes tiny pixels and high noise. New cameras don't support Canon's USB remote SDK either, meaning you only have PTP for file transfer and CHDK's USB supply voltage detection for remote shutter functionality. New cameras don't wake up from USB voltage (but you can keep power buttons depressed and toggle external power or alternatively override this in hardware by taking the cameras apart). There's no way to know how long a camera is going to be on the market, so you should probably just buy as many as you think you'll need while they're still available.

USB can be used as a remote trigger thanks to CHDK and as Microfunguy says it can be made to sync very accurately for almost all models supported by CHDK. But that's by switching USB supply voltage on/off, it does NOT work via USB serial communications controlled by PC software. I don't know of any PC that could toggle their USB supply voltage without custom hardware.

But sounds like you'd be fine with shooting for a while and then transferring all images later by using a manual switch inside the car to swap the connection between synced remote and PTP transfer, maybe powering the cameras on and off in between. Some smart scripting may be required to detect which mode is required, but it all should be possible.


Re: 8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« Reply #4 on: 27 / April / 2009, 16:19:44 »
I don't know of any PC that could toggle their USB supply voltage without custom hardware.

What about serial I/O control lines ?

Not sure if they are RS232 or TTL level.

Re: 8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« Reply #5 on: 27 / April / 2009, 17:17:00 »
I don't know of any PC that could toggle their USB supply voltage without custom hardware.

What about serial I/O control lines ?

Not sure if they are RS232 or TTL level.


You may want to consider a parallel port. That would allow you to control 8+ outputs at 5V TTL level. It is also easy to write to parallel port register as well.

Custom wiring to be done to distibute the D0-D7 signal to the 8 USB power supply port.

Serial port provide +/- 12V level.

The only draw back is that you have to use older models of laptop which still have parallel ports.
« Last Edit: 27 / April / 2009, 17:24:51 by toinech »

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Offline fudgey

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Re: 8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« Reply #6 on: 28 / April / 2009, 17:22:58 »
What about serial I/O control lines ?

Not sure if they are RS232 or TTL level.

Them nowadays pretty much obsolete LPT and COM ports can of course be used (and RS-232 -ish COM ports can be made with USB converters) among other things (like audio outputs) to create a trigger. But my point was that the camera can only be connected to one USB cable, which must be a real USB during PTP transmission. For this application unplugging them and reconnecting to another cable is not desireable. So some custom electronics is required. Not that it really is all that complicated if you know your way around a bit.

Re: 8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« Reply #7 on: 04 / May / 2009, 20:26:42 »
If you wanted to get really fancy you could always use those EyeFi SD cards that have a wifi connection built in, this would negate the need to use the usb for anything besides the automagic shutter stuff. (AFAIK you can use them in 'ad-hoc' mode with your netbook/laptop -- if not still you could get a mini-router for cheap)

http://www.eye.fi/
English doesn't borrow from other languages -- it knocks them down in dark alleys and rifles through their pockets for loose gramar.


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Offline grg

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Re: 8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« Reply #8 on: 09 / May / 2009, 10:33:36 »
8x Canon cameras, no optical zoom. Each to cover at least 55 degrees to allow for a bit of overlapping.
8 pictures for a whole 360 degree row isn't much overlap, also consider that the cameras can't be mounted in "one spot", so you will get parallax errors. Having the cameras staticly mounted is probably an advantage for stitching, but if you haven't I'd try with one camera on a static setup if stitching works ok. And your image will be very narrow, you only have 37 degrees vertically, on a moving car it wont be horizontally aligned all the time ... have you considered using 2 cams and fisheyes? I think one of the 2 nikon P&S fisheye converters (fc-8 or 9 or something) can be mounted on (some) powershots.

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Offline yair

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Re: 8 camera array for 360 degree panorama possible?
« Reply #9 on: 02 / July / 2009, 07:34:19 »
did you consider using one of those spherical lenses, and then correct the distortion.
http://images.google.co.il/images?q=360+lens

 

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