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Batch Processing

The 360Precision Absolute is the only precision head currently available that allows the photographer to set-up an almost  automated production workflow . When using traditional panoramic heads the most time consuming part of the production workflow was the stitching of the individual images into the final panoramic image.

The 360Precision Absolute was designed with the single goal of  removing the photographer from the stitching process . This then allows you to spend more time on the creative process,  winning new clients  or relaxing in the sun. Not only does batch processing allow for an automated workflow but it enables you to stitch scenes that were previously not possible or extremely time consuming.

For example:

1. Interior house scenes with large blank walls
2. Landscape panoramas with vast areas of blue skies or moving clouds.
3. Scenes with lots of movement between images.


1. What is Batch Stitching ?
Put simply batch stitching is the automated creation of final panoramic images from a master template file. The template file tells the stitching application where each photo is to be positioned within the scene and also applies any parameters needed to remove the distortion from the source photos.

Once you've created your own master template file you can then apply the template to any set of photos taken with the same camera, lens and 360Precision Absolute head. This  completely removes the need to manually stitch your photos  or run any type of automated alignment software.

Creating a master template file involves the following steps;
  • Choosing the location
  • Equipment set-up
  • Shooting the scene
  • Shooting 2-3 additional test scenes
  • Building the master template in your chosen software, PTMac of PTGui for example
  • Applying the master template to your test scenes
  • Adjusting the master template if needed.

All in all this process should take around 2-3 hours. A full calibration guide can be downloaded here.




2. Typical Workflow
Creating high quality panoramic images can be a time consuming process. So how and where exactly in a typical photographers workflow can the 360Precision Absolute save time ? Before we get to that lets take a look at the process involved in creating five full 360º spherical panoramas using a typical non batch workflow.
  1. Open PTMac/PTGui
  2. Import our seven photos
  3. Set our standard lens parameters and field of view
  4. Set the initial positions (yaw,pitch and roll) of our seven photos. Setting the initial starting positions helps with the optimisation process.
  5. Run Auto Match (PTMac) or Auto Align (PTGui)
  6. Lets begin the optimisation process. With both PTMac and PTGui I find this to be an iterative process. You continually need to optimise, remove the bad control points, re-optimise and so on until you're only left with control points accurate enough to create a satisfactory stitch. For an output size of 6,000 x 3,000 pixels you really want to keep the control point distances under 2 pixels. If you can get all control points under 1 pixel your resulting panorama should be near on perfect. This optimisation process on average takes around 10 steps.
  7. Double check the image parameters and output a preview panorama to make sure to verify your settings. For a large percentage of panoramas the auto control point methods will simply not work due to various factors. If this is the case you will need to manually set the control points between each image pair, this can be a very time consuming and boring process.
  8. Output your final panoramic image.
  9. Repeat steps 2 - 8 for each of the four remaining image sets.
  10. After more than 75 minutes you should have your finished 360º full spherical panoramas. You're now ready to create your virtual tours.
Typical non-batch process workflow
Total time:  75 minutes
Number of steps:  82


3. Batch Stitching Workflow
Now let's take a look at a typical 360Precision Absolute workflow. As you will see, using a batch processing workflow even with five simple panoramas can  save you a considerable amount of time. 
  1. Open PTBatch
  2. Drag your pre-calibrated template to the projects window
  3. Drag the four folders of images to the image files sets window
  4. Set your output parameters
  5. Run PTBatch
  6. Five minutes later your five stitched 360º spherical panoramas will be finished and ready for the next step.

Now the beauty of this work flow is it doesn't matter if you want to process 1 or 100 panoramas, your time setting it up will be exactly the same.

 
Total time
(Generic head)
Number of steps
(Generic head)
Total time
(360Precision head)
Number of steps
(360Precision head)
75 minutes 82
5 minutes 5
 

4. Time and Money saved
Below is a graph that outlines the typical steps taken to create a panoramic image. It also shows a breakdown of the time needed using a 360Precision head. As you can clearly see  using a calibrated workflow can save you a considerable amount of time and hence money. 
Generic Panoramic Head


360Precision Absolute
360Precision Absolute Batch Stitching
  1. Tripod, camera and panoramic head set-up
  2. Shooting the scene
  3. Stitching the photos into a panorama
  4. Rendering the final panorama
  5. Photoshop retouching
  6. Converting the final panoramic image into the final movie file

OK, let's take a look at the amount of  time and money you can save  on a typical job and then over the lifetime of a typical 360Precision Absolute set-up.

The first graph compares the total time including your time at the computer and also the processing time creating the files.
360Precision Absolute Batch Stitching

The next graph compares the total time spent by the photographer at the computer, this graph does not include the computing time. As you can clearly see there's so little time needed to set-up batch stitching that the time doesn't even register on the graph.

The number of panoramas is broken down to the number of panoramas a typical photographer might shoot for a real estate client over a 12 month period. The number of panoramas are broken down as 5 per house, 10 per day, 50 per week, 200 per month and 2400 per year. This is a very simplistic model but emphasises the  massive time and money savings involved  in streamlining your workflow.
360Precision Absolute Batch Stitching
Lets take a look at the actual numbers so we can really compare.
Number of
Panoramas
Generic head
(minutes)
360Precision
(minutes)
Time Saved
(minutes)
5 50 1 49
10 100 3 97
50 500 10 490
200 2000 40 1960
2400 24000 480 23,420
 

Now onto the most important reason for  investing in a 360Precision Absolute , how much money can a 360Precision Absolute head save your business ? I think you'll be amazed. These figures are based on a manual stitching time of 10 minutes per panorama and an hourly rate of £10.
360Precision Absolute Batch Stitching
 Lets compare the actual numbers.
Number of Panoramas
Generic
(Cost in £)
360Precision
(Cost in £)
Total Saved
(Cost in £)
5 £8.40 £0.16 £8.24/house
10 £16.80 £0.32 £16.80/day
50 £84.00 £1.60 £82.40/week
200 £336.00 £7.20 £328.80/month
 

Based on the above figures it would take the average photographer  48 days to recuperate the cost of the 360Precision Absolute . Remember though that these figures are based on a production rate of £10/hour.
 


Absolute Details

Overview
Design Features
Batch Processing
Photo Gallery
Price List
Parts List/Glossary

Compatibility

Canon
Nikon/Fuji/Kodak
Sony/Pentax/Olympus
Medium/Large Format
Other

Set-up

Assembling Absolute
Changing Camera Arms
Changing Detents
Changing Elbows
Adjusting Detent Plunger

Can I Upgrade ?

Changing Cameras
Changing Lenses

Adjuste Details

Adjuste Details

  360Precision Ltd
Holly Cottage, Barton Lodge
Steeple Aston, Oxford OX25 5QH
United Kingdom



 


Click here to learn more about the 360Precision Carbone Panoramic Tripod Head Click here to learn more about the 360Precision Adjuste MK2 panoramic tripod head Click here to learn more about the awesome, lightweight 360Precision Atome panoramic rotator