How to Shoot Spherical HDR Panoramic Photos using the GigaPan Epic Pro

Gearing up for tomorrow’s class, Digital Imagery for the Digital Dome, and the workshop I will teach at the IMERSA Fulldome Summit, I have revised our instructions for shooting a spherical HDR panoramic photo using the GigaPan Epic Pro and thought I would share this with you.

I am using a Canon T31 Rebel with an 18mm – 55mm lens. These direction are specifically  shooting exterior landscapes. Camera settings and Field of View settings in the GigaPan menu may need to be adjusted for other settings.

IAIA students using the Gigapan Epic Pro at Chaco Canyon, Summer 2012.

IAIA students using the Gigapan Epic Pro at Chaco Canyon, Summer 2012.

You should end up with around 56 sets of bracketed photographs. I use Photomatix and PT GUI to process the HDR and stitch the photos. If you use these direction, put your photos on 360 cities and share your link here. I would love to see what you create.

GIGAPAN SET UP

  1. MOUNT Gigapan on tripod
    1. make sure your tripod is sturdy and feet are at least 2’ apart
  2. Level using Gigapan level
  3. Go to OPTIONS MENU
    1. Set MULTI PICTURE to 1
    2. Set BRACKETS to 1
    3. Check BATTERY STATUS
      1. Note: this lies – always have a fully charged backup battery
  4. Go to EXPERT OPTIONS
    1. Set PICTURE OVERLAP to 25%
  5. MOUNT CAMERA on Gigapan
    1. Mounting plate words “ GigaPan Systems” should face the back of the camera
    2. Use the small metal lever on mount to lock mounting plate in place
    3. Use the MOVE CAMERA option under main menu to move mounting plate
    4. Adjust mount FORWARD/BACKWARD to reduce parallax – 18 – 55mm lens -= on slider (
    5. Go to CAMERA SETUP (Under Main Menu)
    6. Setup Field of View (FOV) – 18mm lens ~= 40 degrees +/-5


CAMERA SETUP

  1. CHECK MEMORY CARD SPACE
  2. CHECK BATTERY STATUS
  3. Set FOCUS
    1. set to MANUAL FOCUS
    2. Turn on LIVE VIEW
    3. ZOOM IN with the magnifying glass button
    4. ADJUST FOCUS at highest zoom level
  4. Set MODE to MANUAL (“M”)
  5. SET EXPOSURE until light meter reading is centered on bar
    1. For exterior/landscape shots make sure your F-stop is at 22
  6. SET ISO to 100 (outside sunny setting)
  7. MENU SETTING
    1. SET AUTO EXPOSURE BRACKETING (“AEB”) to 2 stops up/down
    2. SET ASPECT RATIO to 3:2
    3. SELECT FOLDER and create NEW FOLDER
    4. SET SHOOTING QUALITY to RAW
    5. TURN OFF IMAGE REVIEW
  8. CONNECT REMOTE CABLE – ensure it will not catch when Gigapan moves
    1. Note: If the camera begins to shoot when you hook up the cable, disconnect the cable, make sure your Gigapan is on and replug in the cable.
  9. REMOVE Camera’s strap to avoid it getting caught


SHOOTING

  1. SELECT NEW 360° PANORAMA on GIGAPAN MENU
    1. START 90° UP
    2. END 90° DOWN
    3. SKIP “SHOW PANORAMA”
    4. Follow the directions on the GigaPan and sit back while the robotic head does all the work.

Special thanks to Jonathan Strawn from UNM ARTS Lab for the first rendition of these instructions.

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