Archive for the ‘ SOFTWARE REVIEWS ’ Category

Inspiring Panorama’s – Shooting panoramas with a drone


The great thing about shooting pano’s with the Inspire 1 is that due to it’s ability to lock position using GPS it pretty much works like a tripod in the sky allowing you to rotate through horizontal pans at various pitches without the camera slipping position too much. The Inspire is especially good at this job because it’s props lift out of view enough to get a 30 degree up angle on the camera and still not see the props or the landing gear in the shots.

After some experimentation I settled on shooting 4:3 Raw stills and in order to provide plenty of overlap for stitching them together I shot around 16 images per 360 degree rotation. I found I could cover from 30 degrees up to 90 degrees straight down using four rotations so ended up with around 70 stills per pano location.

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Click here to view the interactive Panorama I created.

In order to stitch the images together I used an application called AutoPano Pro from Kolor Software. AutoPano does an amazing job of taking all the individual images and then combining them together in to one seamless pano file. AutoPano handled the Inspires Raw DNG files perfectly although it is quite a CPU intensive process.

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Once the images have been stitched together there are multiple tools allowing you to tweak various aspects of the pano. I found the only tools I really had to use were the crop tool to remove some black space at the top of the pano and the automatic horizon tool to straighten the horizon. Both tools worked perfectly.

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I wanted to create an interactive pano so I opened the exported file using another application from Kolor called Panotour which magically turns the pano file in to an interactive html experience allowing the pano to be controlled and viewed on both the web and on mobile devices.

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One of the great things about Panotour is that you can also link multiple pano’s together creating a virtual tour for the viewer. In my example I simply linked together two pano’s allowing the viewer to jump between them.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.



Motion tracking in FCPX with CoreMelt TrackX & SliceX

I was recently invited to try out the TrackX and SliceX FCP plugins from CoreMelt. I’ve needed to use motion tracking on a few jobs in the past and have always relied on After Effects for the task. The TrackX and SliceX plugins from CoreMelt offer up the ability to do motion tracking directly with the FCP Interface which is a real positive for me.

I’ve only been experimenting with the plugin for a couple of days now and compared to using After Effects it’s extremely simple to get great results. I’m not going to show any examples of my own usage as yet as I’m still learning the basics but here’s a video showing some of the results that can be achieved.

I’ll be posting more of a tutorial / review in the near future showing how the tools within the plugin are especially useful for me but I’d recommend watching the examples below showing what’s possible with SliceX and TrackX.

To find out more about the plugin visit the CoreMelt website

Singular Software DualEyes Review

DualEyes is a stand alone app from Singular Software that allows you to either replace the audio in your DSLR shots with the audio from an external recorder or cut your H4n wav files up to match the length of your clips.

I’ve found it especially useful when working with Premiere Pro, read the full review to find out more.

Click here for my full review

Playing with Premiere Pro CS5

Over the last few days I’ve been giving the 30 day demo of Adobe’s Premiere Pro CS5 a few workouts and I have to admit to being very impressed. The 30 day demo doesn’t come with many codecs so I could only work in DVCPRO HD sequences but that just made things even more interesting.

In Final Cut Pro if I create a similar sequence and then drag in some DSLR source clips things immediately become unresponsive. The timeline needs rendering and my mac struggles to play the sequence back. Adding any kind of transition or effect makes things a lot worse with rendering required at every stage.

Premiere Pro however handled the native DSLR footage with ease. I did a quick edit, dropped in some cross fades, applied some 3-way colour correction and a bit of blur here and there and not once did I have to render anything in order to watch it play back smoothly. Very impressive!

I must admit to being very tempted to splash out on a license but changing NLE’s is a very tough thing when you’ve gotten used to a specific workflow and I feel very at home with Final Cut. Seeing what Adobe has achieved just heightens my frustration with Apple for their apparent lack of advancement of the Pro apps and I’m definitely not going to keep plodding away in Final Cut for long knowing the competition is so far ahead.

Pluraleyes review

I’ve been trying out Singular Software’s pluraleyes plugin for Final Cut Pro over the last couple of weeks and I’m really impressed. Pluraleyes makes a huge difference if you’re working with DSLR’s or multiple cameras and multiclips in Final Cut.

Click here to read the review and comment.