Cinematography Mailing List - CML

360 Degree Panoramic Shot


I need your advice. The thing we are up to is a 360 shot with at least seven cameras, so we can have a panoramic shot evolve out of the 360 pan. I do not really know how to explain this, but it is a 360 pan with a 360 panoramic shot that will eventually end up at the bottom of the picture. We were first thinking about using 6 or 7 Arri SR 3's for this. This is going to be just light enough to be operated by an Arrihead. We might switch to Aaton Minimas for weight and dimension reasons. The synchronisation will not be a problem with either of the cameras, but there are a couple of things we are worried about.

What about the lens distortions? What kind of lens would you recommend for his task? What about perspective?

Since there are going to be a lot of moving people in the frame, how can the pictures of the different cameras be matched without having strange "doubling" effects either in the fore- or the background...did I forget something? Or is it all not that big of a deal?

I would be glad to read your ideas, my head is spinning already...

Thanks, Matthias

Presumably the main, or upper pan is all from one camera panning 360 degrees, and the full 360 degree panorama is a lock off made from your remaining 6 cameras? If so, there is software available to remove lens distortion in order to join your 6 plates together digitally. The main problem will be with moving objects crossing from one plate to the next. Imagine panning the six cameras locked to each other, but unable to be nodal pans, the parrallax would be uncomfortable at the edge of frame. Moving objects will cause the same problems in locked off plates. Some choreography of movement will conceal some artifacts, but I imagine there will be need for a lot of time on a workstation. --

Tom Wood Moving Picture Company Visual Effects Supervisor (0)

>Since there are going to be a lot of moving people in the frame, how can the pictures >of the different cameras be matched without having strange "doubling" effects either >in the fore- or the background...did I forget something

The issue of parallax shift from one camera to the next is significant. Jim Dickson has built a circlevision camera rig that points cameras up into mirrors so that they are effectively all nodal. His rig would be the easiest way I can think of to get "in camera" plates that will stitch together. It has been used for several films. It is set up for 35mm cameras, but I don't see why it could not be used with 16mm cameras with the addition of some spacer blocks. It is pretty big but it can be panned on a large head (I happen to have such a head:-)) I have no idea what it costs to rent etc etc. If you do not have the cameras situated so that they are panning about their lens nodal points, if you have people in the foreground, you are going to have all sorts of jumping from plate to plate as the rig pans (or the people move) and,. of course, the further they are from the camera the less they will jump, so that the relative positions of them will change with respect to each other and with respect to the deep background. Full disclosure: I have worked on and off with Jim for years but I am not in any way involved in his present rigs, though he is a friend.

Mark Weingartner LA based

You should contact Max Penner who owns the 360 degree cameras built by Disney. They use 9 synchronized Mitchell Standards.

The website is

He is really one of the most knowledgeable people who does this type of work. BTW, he also does 3D Video. Pretty amazing stuff.

Mark Woods, Director of Photography

Stills That Move, Pasadena, CA

I actually saw a unit at a car show once that fit onto a video camera. It positioned the camera to look straight up and into a 360* mirror that took in an image from 90*. That is to say that you had a 360* panoramic view from a single image, not several stitched together. Not really sure how distorted the image was, or how optically clean, or for that matter if it could fit a film camera, but it looked pretty cool.

Raoul Germain Car Show Lover Los Angeles



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