5.0 Methodology

Taking the photographs

In the examples shown, a standard 35mm camera with a 35mm lens was used. A more sophisticated camera will produce better results, but a simple camera, even a single-use camera, will suffice. Individual prints showing each portion of the landscape were taken one of two ways. It is possible simply to turn around on the spot, but using a tripod helps create a more level strip of photographs. Using this method, a full 360° panorama could be created with around nine standard 4 by 6 inch photographs. One of the main drawbacks of using a 35mm lens is that it creates slight distortions which stops the panorama fitting together perfectly. One way around this problem is to use a 50mm lens, which creates less distortion but uses more photographs (around 12 for a whole panorama).

Although beyond the resources of this particular project, the photographs could also be taken by cameras which pan automatically, or by a digital camera. Fish-eye lenses are another, expensive, alternative.

Problems with exposure

One of the main problems encountered when recreating the panoramas was that the exposure changed in each photograph. This meant that the whole panorama looked disjointed. In particular, the sky could vary from a deep blue to white to dark grey in one panorama. This problem was primarily created in the first place by using an automatic exposure on the camera. To avoid this effect, choose a camera with a manual exposure option, and select an exposure which best fits the whole panorama.

Using SpinPanorama

SpinPanorama is a very simple and straightforward programme to use, the details of which are outlined in the text. However, because the process involves stitching together a number of quite large images, it is preferable to use a fast computer. A minimum of 32MB RAM is recommended to run this software. There are also a few areas of the images produced by SpinPanorama that will need 'touching up'. For this a programme like Paintshop Pro is perfectly adequate.


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Last updated: Tue Aug 8 2000