Photosphere’ing Made Easy and Cheap

photosphere

Android phones have a cool function called Photo Sphere — unfortunately, unless you’re very steady and can manipulate the phone around its camera’s axis… the results aren’t that amazing. Unless you make a cheap 360 degree panorama head for your tripod that is!

[Oliver Krohn] designed this super simple adapter which you can mount on any tripod. It’s a U-shaped bent piece of aluminum, a bottle cap with a 1/4-20 nut, a thick piece of wire, and a cellphone case. The wire is bent with a notch to sit just below the camera’s lens on the cellphone — it is also placed directly above the tripods panning axis. This puts the nodal point in the perfect place, which allows for a great photo sphere every time.

To see how it works (and the amazing results!) stick around for the following video.

Looking to record video in 360 degrees? You’re going to need a second camera…

22 thoughts on “Photosphere’ing Made Easy and Cheap

    1. Exactly! Bot, on the other hand, I am not going to make photospheres every day. Another issue is the quality of the smartphone’s pictures. So, if I would start a project to build something similar to the GigaPan, I would only do it for DSLR.

      For GoPro and other smaller cameras there are downloadable models available on thingiverse.com .

      Another great idea would be to use just two servos and a raspberry pi plus camera.

    2. About six years ago, I interviewed at a company that was doing exactly that. Their prototype was impressive, but I don’t think they ever made it to market.

      1. I don’t know which company you are talking of, but there is the GigaPan on the market, which is a panorama robot for DSLR. But who would spend several hundred dollars into a robot for making only a few professional photospheres? ;) Only a handful professionals.

  1. I like the idea. The tripod in the image is a fun issue to get around.
    When I do it I give myself points of reference (e.g. “shoulder height, lined up with this tree, about a foot away”) to keep the phones position relatively steady, then make sure I’m out of frame for each shot.

  2. Last days I saw a french business man in a TV show (something like American Inventors) that found a way to make a 360° picture with the Iphone just by placing it on the edge and by using the buzzer. It’s called “Cycloramic”. You can find it on Youtube.

    1. That was Shark Tank, if I’m not mistaken. It was fascinating, all the investors thought it was on a “trick” rotating table but it was strictly using the iPhone’s vibrator and some math to make it spin on its vertical center.

  3. Ok Ok I don’t get it – what’s it doing? Just moving around in some semi-random manner – what am I missing?

    1. You’re probably missing the dots in the screen? Those are the visual cues telling you where to point the camera to complete the mosaic.

    1. Yes, of course, but you will need an already stitched panorama, because the linked site only adds metadata. You can use any camera, if you have a nodal point adapter suitable for that camera. After making the pictures in certain degrees and with a minimum overlap, you can stitch them in Hugin (free software). And after that you can upload them to the google photo sphere site to add the correct metadata. And finally then you can upload them to google maps.

      1. Heh! Well, you should feel proud; you’re one of the early adopters of Photo Sphere and you’ve taken some cool panos. I especially liked the botanical gardens one (and I’ve enjoyed visiting Duesseldorf myself in the past!). Looking forward to seeing more of your panos or even constellations :-)

        1. Early adaptor? :D No, not really. I already did it a year ago, but I know someone who is doing panoramas for more than a decade. Well, not photospheres, but that’s just another form of presentation. ;)
          The special thing about the botanical garden panorama is that the pictures were made from a (very expensive) drone. A friend made them and I stitched the panorama in Hugin later.

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