Aerial Stereoscopic 360 Video And Images For True Live-Action Virtual Reality (Part 3 of 3)

To round out this three-part post, I will describe some of the workflow that went into creating the video below:

You can also view this on if you have an Oculus Rift or similar stereo VR headgear, here:

Now, to be clear, I expected that there would be no parallax along the 90 degree yaw angle, and that there would be eye-rips due to the gimbaled camera being in the way of the back view; I used the gimbal camera for FPV monitoring while I flew. No global shutter nor synchronized shutter, either… The main purpose of this test flight was to checkout weight and balance and ensure safe flight, and to test out GemVR’s image enhancement and matching functions.

That being said, some interesting things were learned in producing the video above.

First, juggling multiple camera systems (and a drone) that all want to communicate on 2.4 Ghz is a challenge. I had to tune the channel management on the DJI Inspire to get everything to play nice together. Next is the fact that this camera system (360Fly) and the other’s I’ve used (Ricoh Theta, for example) have their signals drowned out by the DJI (plus their range is rather limited, too) so your only choice is to put the cameras into recording mode manually before the flight.

This in turn makes synchronizing the footage from the two cameras challenging — in retrospect, I should have used a Clapboard. Additionally since the two cameras are not on a single, synced global shutter, there are some eyerips during fast motion. For that purpose I just used Premiere to eyeball it and match as best as I could. Also, the B-roll in the beginning of the video had to be re-projected into equirectangular space — for that I used Kolor AutoPano Video.

The images for the two camera views were color-corrected and matched by GemVR’s magic software, which was the real purpose of the test…

No image stabilisation was performed with the above video, but Kolor’s AutoPano Video would probably do a good job of that, especially since it is stereo-3D-aware.

Now that we’ve proven out a safe flight operation and pattern with witness camera(s), the next step will be to use 4 360 cameras such as the Ricoh Theta S to achieve full parallax along every direction of the yaw, with a rig like below:


The key here is that the stereo parallax will come from disparity measurement, since all the cameras are at 90-degree offsets, but because there are beyond 180-degree cameras, there should be enough overlap to create stereo 3D as long as there aren’t a lot of objects nearby to cause large disocclusions. This is basically what quite a few others are doing, such as Facebook with their Surround 3D camera rig, but this is perhaps a little more ambitious since it’s a much lighter weight rig (able to be flown on a DJI Inspire, for example).

Also, for an example of a “simple” monoscopic 360 witness camera on the DJI Inspire, you can see a pretty cool waterfall shoot here:

This seemed to be a pretty effective weapon, aside from the FPV gimbal being “in the way” — but the 4K footage from the camera on the gimbal was actually the payload of this particular flight, the 360Fly was just along for the ride as a witness camera.

I’ll post again on this subject when we have an update about the 4-camera Ricoh rig. We’re also working with a couple of new innovative VR camera companies, which could turn out to be very useful for aerial VR 360 shooting. Stay tuned!


~ by opticalflow on October 17, 2016.

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