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5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

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5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

Postby PhotoShip One » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:47 pm

We have been shooting 360 spherical panoramas for about 4 years now. Until today I have done them with a 700 class electric RC helicopter, a DSLR with 10.5mm fisheye lens and a custom designed camera mount ( our VR360 mount). The DSLR would pan and shoot a series of 6 images for a full 360.

The method mentioned above weighed about 13lb all up ready to fly. A bit heavy for certain missions where safety is of major concern. A 13lb rc helicopter can do tremendous damage to persons and property upon impact.

Also the DLSR method took about 3-4 seconds to capture. An rc helicopter can move quite a but in 4 seconds, even at the hands of a very good pilot. A movement of even 3 feet could create some bad parallax errors when it came time to stitch the images.

The need for a lightweight aerial panorama system which could capture all the images in less than one second was obvious but I put the idea off until a few weeks ago.

I had a few GoPro HD cameras laying around and had been impressed with their still photo quality considering the small size of the camera. I wondered if it woudl be possible to mount multiple GoPro cameras in a radial array to capture all the images simultaneously.

I decided on 5 cameras in an upside down pentagon pyramid array. This would provide the proper overlap between images. I modified the cameras to be triggered within about 1 second of each other and wired power from the copter to each one to eliminate the need for a battery in each camera. I created a power/trigger PCB distribution board with a voltage regulator to bring the copter 16v down to 5v. five photorelays optically isolate the camera trigger signals. Works great.

Having flown several test flights I can say it certainly works and works WELL!

Some samples below: (click & drag your mouse once opened to "look around")

http://photoshipone.com/forum/SunDevilStadium.mov

http://www.photoshipone.com/Steele_Indi ... l_Park.mov

http://photoshipone.com/Superstition_Springs_1.mov

http://photoshipone.com/Desert_1.mov

We've also been shooting video with all five cameras and been successful in capturing full 360 video. Will post samples of that when we are allowed by the video software stitching developer.
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SunDevilStadium_s.jpg (85.48 KiB) Viewed 3253 times
steele_indian_school_park.jpg
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Re: 5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

Postby cerfman17 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:45 pm

PhotoShip One wrote:[...]I created a power/trigger PCB distribution board with a voltage regulator to bring the copter 16v down to 5v. five photorelays optically isolate the camera trigger signals[...]
can you have more details about that ... ? :mrgreen: :roll:

especialy for the trigger system :D
thank
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Re: 5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

Postby timnevan » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:46 am

That is so freaking cool!!!!
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Re: 5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

Postby Saleen880549 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:01 am

I seen your stuff on RCgroups forum and posted a thread about you in here already.

http://goprouser.freeforums.org/wow-check-out-this-360-view-5-gopros-t2411.html


:)

Brian
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Re: 5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

Postby PhotoShip One » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:59 am

I seen your stuff on RCgroups forum and posted a thread about you in here already.

I hadn't seen that. Thanks!

as there much delay between cameras when triggered or did that not matter much for stills?


Depends on lighting. If the scene is low light the delay between cameras gets larger. If it's bright and sunny they usually fire within 1 second of each other.

can you have more details about that ... ? :mrgreen: :roll:

especialy for the trigger system :D
thank


Each camera is opened up and wires are soldered to the trigger switch PCB pads. All of those wires run as pairs to five photorelays on the distribution board we made. The photorelays are activated by a +5v signal. We originally paralled all the camera trigger wires together and shorted them to trigger but found some wierd interactions between cameras with that method, thus the need to isolate each cameras trigger wires from the other cameras. An array of photorelays does the job nicely.

I will post a photo of the circuit board this weekend.
Last edited by PhotoShip One on Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

Postby Saleen880549 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:03 am

PhotoShip One wrote:
I seen your stuff on RCgroups forum and posted a thread about you in here already.

I hadn't seen that. Thanks!



Well, it was good for you to start a thread and post some info on your stuff.

I just ordered a X720 quad and have a 1.3 Ghz AV tx/rx set up picked out and going to get into some air filming in FPV soon. it is so neat to do this for way less then costs of a real heli.

Brian
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Re: 5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

Postby PhotoShip One » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:06 am

We are going to become a dealer for the X720. We will have our evaluation X720 delivered next week. We are anxious to see if it will haul the 5 GoPro array. If it does we may consider selling the camera mounting system for the X720.
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Re: 5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

Postby Saleen880549 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:19 am

PhotoShip One wrote:We are going to become a dealer for the X720. We will have our evaluation X720 delivered next week. We are anxious to see if it will haul the 5 GoPro array. If it does we may consider selling the camera mounting system for the X720.



Cool! Will be good to read any input on tweaking the X720 from you. I have flown the tiny helis but mostly new to this.. had R/C gas nitro cars before.

I have 3 different camera's I plan to use on this quad ( GoPro HD and 2 others ) - suppose to carry 3.1 pounds but I will be around a pound of equip most of the time.

the camera mount is not out yet.... I might rig one up to start but if the mount comes out in a few weeks.. might get it.

I have a Zoom H1 audio recorder ( with windscreen ) want to try rig up to hang a few feet below the quad to record hobby car racing and not the quad sound.

Brian
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Re: 5 GoPro Array - One click aerial panoramas & 360 video

Postby PorcupinePower » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:55 pm

Cameras and panoramas aside, nice quad!
What radio are you using on that thing?
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