360 Playground

Having previously done 360 shots with the Google Photo Sphere app, I know about the hassle involved setting up your environment. Hiding your double/triple/… shadows, telling hundreds of people to stop moving for five minutes and so on is far from being convenient. For landscape shots it’s great, mostly because clouds don’t move that quickly and the final resolution is quite high. However, I decided to get a compact, single shot 360 camera (Ricoh Theta S) to capture dynamic moments and hilltop viewpoints alike. It’s simplest mode requires you to only press a button once, automatically adapting ISO, shutter and white balance. On most occasions (like evenly distributed daylight), that works well. Yet, for most indoor and almost all night shots, fiddling with manual settings is a must.

Infinity mirror in half a second? Easy one, happened while brushing my teeth:

There’s no need to observe your phone screen or to align mirrors precisely. Don’t get lost in that maze!

There’s an HDR feature as well and I challenged that on a moving cruise ship close to Tallin. Tonemapping works, the water is a bit messy though:

The tripod was shaking due to strong wind and my hands were freezing, trying to operate the touch screen.

Using a solid surface as a tripod and automatic mode yields sharp enough edges under difficult lighting conditions (bear in mind that the 360 viewer adds additional JPEG compression):

That’s it for now, stay tuned for other experiments.

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