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Old February 6th, 2009, 09:44 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,973

Well, today has been pouring cats and dogs and the remedies I did to the roof have held! When it rains, there's an orchestra of all the possible noises of water pounding, gurgling, dripping, splashing and cascading but it's staying outside.

So I've been indoors. This gave me an opportunity read up on the Gigapan and get it working.

I did mention that the Gigapan Epic has adjustments for the platform for the camera to be shifted fore and aft and the camera held in place by the 1/4 inch bolt in the horizontal slot allows it to be adjusted left to right. What I didn't recognize at first was the apparent omission of a way of elevating or lowering the camera so that the xy and z axis all go through the same imaginary point.

Underneath the Gigapan Epic is the foot to be mounted on to one's tripod. It has a rubber friction matt so that the robot can be locked down easily. Ignore the intriguing markings suggesting a portion of a sphere! One would think it's something to do with the extent of the robots spherical movement, but it's not for that. It's a redundant copy of the actual height adjustment guide on the left side of the mounting tray, (looking from the control panel). This adjustment is explained below.

Photo Asher Kelman Gigapan Epic Base for Mounting to Tripod with some means of leveling
may be used with reference to

The initial impression was that it's just "artistic" and was on something they started with. However, that Leonardo Da Vinci sketch is actually the essential guide for adjusting the height of The Gigapan robot. (It does not refer to rotation, just height. The Epic can deliver a full 360 degrees panorama and I'll be trying that later on).

Here's how this diagram is used to set the height adjustment for each camera to center the lens vertically:

There is an additional vertical adjustment, and this is just for for the button lever activator and that's works fine to take account of the actual height of any digicam. One adjusts it close to the shutter button and then when the Gigapan robot send the trigger pulse, the button of the camera gets pressed down. However, the way it's done one does not get the Canon green autofocus confirming rectangle confirming focus. So it is used in Manual focus.

Kolor, the makers of Autopano Pro advises to use AF and not MF. That is great except for sky, so setting the camera to f5.6 or f8 and then manualy focusing on the most important structure is a reasonable compromise here with the Gigapan Epic and the Canon G10.

We should lock the light exposure. Again APP says it will blend no matter what and recommends using auto exposure so that the recesses of dark places are revealed and also bright areas are not blown. I'll follow Gigapan''s advice and lock the exposure.

To set up the Gigapan one does two things:
  1. Identify the horizon and then place that in the top and then the bottom of the screen by using the up down arrows (see diagram above) and then each time pressing "OK" This then gives on the little screen the angle subtended by the lens.

  2. Then we use the arrows to register the top left hand corner and the lower right hand corner and again press "O.K." for each. This then gives us the number of rows and columns
After a check list of :"Is the lens extended?", "Is balance correct?", etc, etc the robot moves to all the positions and takes the pictures.

At any point, one can press the "X" button for the robot to pause. That will allow a truck or group of tourists to go past. My ideas is that one can use this to allow one's models to go to the next assigned spot in the set!

One can, if one wishes then resume or even back up to repeat any number of the already taken shots. So this feature is very useful.

Here's the first of 4 videos prepared at Carnegie Mellon University to introduce you to the workings of this humble but capable little robot. Video

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Last edited by Asher Kelman; February 18th, 2009 at 12:28 PM.
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