A walk in the woods – 360 Photographs App Experiments

Context

After looking at mobile technology in class I decided to try out 360 photographs. I have never taken one before, but always thought they were an interesting idea. So before setting off with my phone, I looked at a few examples.

360 Examples

I found these interesting images for some 360 inspiration:

This image is from inside of Dr Who’s Tardis:

http://www.willpearson.co.uk/doctor-who-inside-the-tardis-in-360-degrees/

Obviously not many people get to go in the Tardis so it was cool to look at the details that make up this famous interior.

This is from inside the Sedlec Ossuary (bone church) in Kutna Hora

http://ivrpa.org/panorama/bone-church-sedlec-ossuary/

I have been here and it is an awe-inspiring place. It does make you think of the virtual reality aspect of these images, you can look around like you are actually there, which means do you need to go anywhere if you can experience it in 360?

Tech

I had a look a the rated apps on Google play and downloaded 3 different apps to test:

  • Google Cardboard Camera
  • Panorama 360
  • Google Street View
  • Photo Sphere camera option on my Google Nexus phone

Testing

I walked through my local woods as they are quiet (just a few dog walkers) with lots of nice scenes to capture. I was mainly looking at which apps would be best for getting a good 360 photo. I tried three different areas and took photographs using each app to compare the results:

Nexus Camera Photo Sphere:

These are the exported flat images:

pano_20161013_155616

I tried to do a full sphere here looking down from my feet right up to above my head. This is the best image with the Photo Sphere, although there is a bit of squashing at the very top.

pano_20161013_154831

I tried to go increase the height of the capture here – I don’t like how the sky has distorted but the bench looks inviting.

13-10-2016-02-28-37

This was a plain 360 spin image – it has a black vertical stitch line down the right side which stands out and ruins the flow.

360 Panorama:

These are the exported flat images:

13-10-2016-02-25-39

This came put pretty much the same, but the stitch line is more subtle. I don’t think it has captured the light and detail of the scene as much as the Photosphere photograph

est

Again I think the picture is fine, but not much depth or colour

Google Cardboard Camera:

This is a picture of the 360 image on the cardboard viewer app (obviously not through the lenses) it is just a picture of my phone screen to illustrate roughly what it looks like.

14632551_10154546459287071_283976967_o

It is a good experience to look around with the cardboard viewer,but I found the blurred strip at the top and bottom annoying, taking me out of looking at the photo. I think if you could move your phone at angles, rather than having to keep it upright it would look much better for you to move around the whole picture.

Street View:

Here is one of the interactive links to the images I posted on street view:

https://www.google.com/maps/contrib/102619412584849697553/photos/@53.5263356,-2.2968948,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m3!8m2!3m1!1e1

This has captured the scene well, although you will see my feet somewhere near the bottom. I was standing on a rock in the stream so it was hard to move out of the way! This area did not have any 360 photos so is on the google world map now…..

This is a good option, but there is no way of getting your images out of Street View,  so unless you want each picture it isn’t a good option.

Summary

Overall I would say that I preferred the Photo Sphere camera option as it seemed to take the best photographs and allowed you to either keep them stored on your phone or to share. The spheres did not have any stitching lines present either.

The other apps were aimed at take it on your phone and put it straight onto social media, which is good for sharing images, but the app access to the camera produced slightly inferior photographs.

As a photographer I would like the option to do this as more than a bit of fun and try with better equipment! Next blog post maybe….However, these apps and mobile features are fine for pocket based snaps, social media and trying a bit of 360.

 

 

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