PTgui 360 video batch stitching

Here is a short overview how to stitch 360 videos with PTgui Pro. We will add more info about PTgui, as well as other 360 video stitching solutions, as soon as they become public.

Quick instruction how to use the PTgui template:

  1. Apply the template to a meaningful representative frame set of your shoot (tif or jpg) with the Freedom360 (it will not really work with other setups)
  2. The frame set should contain all important elements of your scene, withadded elements to create control points in “flat” areas
  3. Auto-generate control points
  4. Manually generate control points for all relevant image pairs (with the exception of 0/1, 2/3 and 4/5)
  5. Optional: add 2 or 3 vertical control points
  6. Optimize only YPR, and check the panorama editor for problem areas
  7. Generate more control points in those problem areas
  8. Optimize YPR plus FoV
  9. Optimize YPR plus FoV plus individual HV shift for all six tiles (if the shift values get too large, something is wrong, better undo and try something else)
  10. Delete the worst control point pairs, and re-optimize, and check the panorama editor to see if the scene is coming together
  11. Optimize YPR plus individual HV shift, plus VP for the problem tiles
  12. Rinse and repeat steps 4-11 until you are happy with the result
  13. Optimize the  exposure under the “Exposure / HDR” Tab with the Settings button
  14. Alternatively, change or fine-tune the exposure compensation under the image parameters tab manually
  15. Set the proper batch stitching behavior under the Project Settings Tab: check “Perform auto exposure correction” under the align images behavior, and check “Align Images” under the Batch Stitcher Actions, depending on your scene.
  16. Set the proper size under the the Create Panorama Tab, including the format (jpg100 recommended)
  17. Save your new template
  18. Convert all your 6 videos to image sequences (jpg100), following a meaningful naming convention: “[frame number] [camera number].jpg” (assuming that all 6 video streams are in sync)
  19. Use the PTgui Batch Builder use “generate new projects” with the “Multiple panoramas per folder with a fixed (6) number of images (6)” method, and pick the folder that contains all the frames of your six video streams
  20. Save the batch list generated by the batch builder, and drop it into the PTgui batch builder
  21. Wait for the batch stitcher to finish
  22. Load the image sequence of the generated panoramas into your video editing suite to edit and produce the actual 360 video

General ideas about control points in PTgui:

Placing control points helps bringing those parts together. If you have a large difference between your foreground objects and your background objects in the overlap areas, you need to focus your control points on either the foreground or the background objects, since a good stitch can be mutually exclusive, in special cases. Generally, the closer an object, the harder it will be to get a good stitch, to a point where “good enough” is all you can achieve.

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19 replies on “PTgui 360 video batch stitching

  • Gonzalo Baumhaus

    Hi! i’m a newbie on this and i have certains basic doubts about the process.

    1- Do i need only PTGui in order to get a 360 video ?
    2- Does the Hero 3 itself has the option to convert video into image sequences, or i need an specific software to do this?
    3-When you write about “your video editing suite” you mean any video suit or an specific 360 video stitching suite?

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • Joergen Geerds

      Hi Gonzalo,
      1. For this ptgui specific workflow, yes, you do need ptgui pro. I will post a separate workflow document for the new Video-Stitch.com, and you would still need ptgui to work on the template.
      2. The Hero3 records a mp4 movie. you would need a third party application to convert the videos into an image sequence: the old quicktime player allows that, ffmpeg, mpeg streamclip and many other apps allow the conversion from movies to image sequences and back again.
      3. “video editing suite” means any traditional NLE that is capable of handling the large frame size and frame rate: adobe after effects will always work, adobe premiere is pretty good, FCP will probably work, and a couple of others as well. The 360 video is only a 2:1 video, with the left and right side of the video frame matching up to form a complete sphere again.

      Reply
  • proyectosecologicos@gmail.com

    Joergen all is wonderful. So the best software to use is vdeo-stitch.com (I know that you are developing it) ?? Still is required PTGui Pro ?

    Reply
  • Lino Brown

    Joergen,

    I find what you guys are doing VERY innovative. I’m student currently working on my final thesis here at San Francisco State Uni,
    I am understanding the basics of your process, but after reading your long stitching Process.
    I think as a suggestion to us.. It’ll will be EXTREMELY HELPFUL to get a Video Tutorial from you guys.
    From Shooting with the rig to Stitching with the Software for a Sphere Video.
    Again I’m very happy to have found your site and creation.
    Thank you for your time and please please let me know about the Video if that’s a possibility, Before i purchase mine.

    -Lino

    Reply
  • albert

    This is a fantastic idea. Can the video be projected into a planetarium dome? i have access to a 6m planetarium dome and want to try building the Yves Lhoumeau fisheye projection system. What would be needed here is a dome master type picture, i.e. a circular image inside a square frame .
    I have seen your posts on the Ultimaker forum and came to this website by this way. Is the mount system for the gopro cameras done on the ultimaker printer?

    Albert

    Reply
    • Joergen Geerds

      Dear Albert, feel free to reach out to Matthew Mascheri at http://www.dome3D.com. His company is specializing in full-dome productions and setups.
      The initial designs and pre-production models were printed with the Ultimaker, but the actual production version we are shipping for months now is printed with commercial SLS printers.

      Reply
  • Chris Smallfield

    Just to be 100% clear. One could follow your instructions and

    1) Make a refined template in PTGUI
    2) Batch process the whole image sequence with that template
    3) Import that image sequence into a video editor have a LatLong 360 Pano video

    I ask because I own PTGui already and would like to avoid the extra purchase of video stitcher since my project is small.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Joergen Geerds

      Dear Chris, you are correct, this method was used by everybody in the 360 video community until the middle of 2012. Keep in mind that it is also a long and tedious process, where each frame can take between 8-20 seconds to process, depending on your system. VideoStitch and Autopano Video (Pro) can process 1-30+ frames per second, in addition to offering leveling and color/exposure correction over time.

      Reply
      • J.P. van Popta

        Still, videostitch and Kolorpano software are very expensive… (and you still need a ‘stitch’ program). I found the Autopano Video (trial) not very accurate, and a hassle to ‘change’ settings. Videostitch was even worse. Besides, the problem with videostitch is, that it ‘just runs’, put the video’s in it, and run… if it fails, you have virtual no idea why and how to fix it. PT Gui takes more time, but works flaweless (setup 5 GoPro HD2’s)

        I have a question still…. since the setup of GoPro’s is always the same… it should be possible to make template once for the controlpoints right? Meaning, if you ‘build’ a ‘easy’ setup for the first calibration, with lot’s of easy lines and clear ‘points’, you could use that template always… or am I missing something? I ask, because stitching of for example skies and so on, is very difficult…
        Ow, and can somebody tell me how to ‘setup’ PTGui with GoPro’s? It asks for ‘lens’ based on exif, but… offcourse cannot find that.
        I like this HD3 setup, but I find it a bit to expensive to invest (again) in 6 GoPro’s… I already see that there are way less expensive solutions, not perfect, but doing the stitching live… so it’s shoot and go… (http://bublcam.com/ and Geonaut)
        I did some studio ‘tests’ which worked fine, but takes a shitload of work to finish the end video…. (example: http://www.jepe.nl/360video/SA_Letterhome/index.html – found that I placed the GoPro’s a bit to low hehe.. )

        Reply
        • Lance

          I am curious to hear the answer to this. I did the same thing; setup and easy to align template and applied it to different footage. It didn’t work. I am using the 5 GoPros w/the 5X adapter.

          Reply
    • Uli Futschik

      Hey Juan, the GoPro camera model you linked to is a very basic model that comes with very limited settings. It can not be used in the Freedom360 mount because it only offers 16:9 aspect ratios. It also doesn’t offer any control over exposure etc. If you are looking for a more affordable 360º video setup I would recommend the Elmo360 http://freedom360.us/shop/elmo360/ The cameras offer a wide range of manual control and with a wider lens you only need 4 instead of 6.

      Reply
  • Tlumin

    Using the Explorer mount with six GoPro 4 Blacks set to 1440/60 wide, there are no auto control points in PTGui Pro. Image pairs have very little, or no, overlapping image data to manually set control points. I’ve tried extracting stills in VideoStitch several times at different frames in timeline, and all have the same result.

    In PTGui I have the lens set to 16mm and 1X.

    What’s going on here? How come there’s no image overlap?

    Reply
    • Joergen Geerds

      Please make sure you use full-frame fisheye as starting lens parameter. PTGui can only generate control points in areas with enough elements. Flat white wall are impossible for control point generation. 1440-60 wide is the perfect setting. Please keep in mind that you can’t stitch material from the Explorer taken under water, there will be no overlap. You would need to use the Kolor Abyss for under water 360 filming.

      Reply

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