Youtube 360 and Google Maps Photospheres lets you enjoy 360 views of places and experiences.
Being a Google Business View photographer and filmmaker I saw the potential to merge this two skills and create a full 8K 360 workflow. Christopher Clarke allowed me to create an experiment with this technology to see if my workflow idea would hold true.
First off to create an 8K video we need something that shoots 8K right? Maybe Red’s 8K Dragon when its available? http://www.engadget.com/2015/04/13/red-8k-weapon-camera/ An 8K 16:9 image is 4320P which is roughly 32 megapixels 7680 pixels wide by 4320 pixels tall
We are getting into photography territory here 16 megapixels 32 megapixel cameras.
Well I have a Panasonic GH4 which shoots a number of 4K formats 4096 x 2160 8 megagpixels We can turn this camera on its side to get the same vertical resolution of 8K. and if I shoot 4 sections (actually 6) and stitch them together I have my 32 megapixel image to work with.
I shot in true 24P Cine Mode because I knew I would have to export individual frames for panoramic stitching and didn’t want to deal with 23.98 or 23.976 where I may loose frames here and there throughout the entire workflow.
I also shot in anamorphic mode 4:3 so the stitching software (PTGui) would have more overlap to help with alignment of the images.
The lens I used is a Sigma f3.5 8mm. I made my first major mistake in shooting this video by having the lens full open at f3.5 for indoor shooting, the lens is very soft at f3.5 and doesn’t perform well at that aperture. f5.6 and f8 is the optimal f stop for this lens to be in sharp focus.
The shoot in itself was very straight forward. There were 4 angles to cover turning the camera 90 degrees around the central axis point of the lens to minimize the parallax effect. I shot the ceiling and floor as well to complete the 360 world. Many 360 videos have a disk (Nodal point) on the floor that they cover with some awful branding or whatever. I removed the rig and shot the floor to avoid this.
Once in the editing suite we sync up all 4 videos in Premiere CC each on there own video track and export each clip as an image sequence, I prefer TIFF as it’s a lossless format but the compressed jpg format would work as well and easier is on resources.
These image sequences are brought into PtGui along with the floor and ceiling sequences and stitched together forming an image with a 2:1 ratio for 360 viewing. This TIFF file is rather large over 9K in fact 9000 x 4500 pixels we can bring it down to YouTube’s 360 8K 7680 x 3840.
For a 2-minute music video there where 2914 individual frames to stitch which took about 16 hours of rendering. Next time I will render at 7680 x 3840 and not the original 9000 x 4500 this would easily cut the rendering time down by a third.