360 degree panoramas with the iPhone

About a month ago (I was at the DevLink conference), I heard about an iPhone app called 360 Panorama that takes panoramic pictures. The way it does it is quite intuitive once you realize that it takes a series of pictures and then stitches them together in software to produce a single JPG.

In essence, to use it you get a grid-like field of view that you fill with photos. In good light, you can let the program do its thing as you slowly sweep your field of view, holding the phone upright; there’s no need to continue clicking the button. It’s almost like panning a video camera.

During our recent vacation to England (the Peak District, to be exact), we went to Bolsover Castle. Here’s a 180° panorama, taken from the ramparts outside the “Little Castle”, west over to the Peak District:

180degree panorama from Bolsover Castle

(Click to enlarge all photos.)

Not too bad, methinks. I was a little rushed though: there was a sudden rain shower and I wanted to get under cover.

Here’s another 180° panorama showing the entrance courtyard minutes later after the shower (note the nicely glistening cobbles…):

180degree panorama of the Little Castle courtyard at Bolsover Castle

Here I had more time to add a couple more sweeps to the panorama, top and bottom, to fill the grid further.

Finally – at least for that that trip – I took a true 360° panorama outside in the outer courtyard:

Bolsover outer courtyard panorama

If you view the panoramas on the phone in the app, you can view them in “real-time”. You hold up the phone exactly the way you’d taken the photos and you can mimic the panning around you originally did. So you can turn your body round and the app shows you the view in that direction. It’s kind of fun.

Overall I’m pretty impressed with the stitching together feature. It does a really good job in my view: it’s hard to notice the joins in the panoramas I’ve shown here. although there are some obvious join defects. I think I’ll be adding this to my standard photography setup when we go visit places like Bolsover Castle. Yes, the individual detailed photos are great, but the panorama doesn’t half give you a sense of the scale of a place.

Album cover for RefreakedNow playing:
dZihan & Kamien - Slowhand Hussein Remix By Hefner
(from Refreaked)

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