Monday, 27 January 2014

Hugin Panorama App Tutorial

Create panoramas stitching photos together with Hugin

My lovely wee NEX-6 camera has the ability to provide me with panorama photographs created within the camera. It works, but I don't find it particularly easy to make it work. Sometimes it gives me the message that I am moving too fast with the camera and that even happens when I'm moving my camera very slow indeed. I sometimes think that's the wind has to be blowing in the right direction for me to be able to get the panoramic photo application working right on the camera. So I wanted to find a different way to do this, but not using Photoshop and I found a Mac application called Hugin. This application works quite well indeed for stitching together a number of photos into one single photo.

As simple as one, two, three

Hugin Panorama app 3

Hugin is quite a complex application in that it gives you lots of different options that you can choose from when you want to create a panorama photo. Having said that, it is possible to use this application in simple mode and then it is a case of steps one, two and three. Step one is to bring the photos into the application, step two is to align those photos by clicking on a button and step three is to create the panorama image. If you are not sure about any of the other possible configurations and changes that you can make within the application, you only have two press those three buttons and you will get a good panorama image. Assuming of course you took some good shots in the first place.

Seven different types of panorama to choose from

There are about seven different panorama types that you can choose from and in this tutorial I show you how to use either the rectilinear or the cylindrical panorama types. In the final images there is not a huge difference between the two. With the cylindrical panorama I found that the middle part of the image seemed to be a little bit closer in terms of the depth of the photo.

You can choose from three different file types when you output to the finished panorama you have the TIFF image, the JPEG image or a PNG image. If you use the TIFF image for your panorama it will be quite large, but you will get the best quality. I used the JPEG format and I was happy enough with the outcome. I stitched together eight photos and I am sure that I got a good result from this by having enough of an overlap in between each of the photos. I took all of the photos handheld and as there was some distance from the subject matter I was taking the photograph of it really didn't matter that I wasn't using a tripod. You can use this application even with cheap camera as well as with DSLR cameras or like me with mirrorless cameras like my Sony NEX6.

I finished off the photo post processing by using Intensify Pro plug in with Aperture on my Mac.

Which panorama making software do you prefer?

Leave a comment down below and I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

The direction is mirrorless for cameras

 I love my NEX-6

While a lot of people might think that the direction for cameras is more in terms of there being an imaging device in every mobile phone you have to take into account the size of the centre and the quality of their age is always going to be better with a larger sensor. Proper cameras, from the Micro 4/3 cameras to the APS-C Sensor type cameras and onto the full frame professional imaging devices gather much more information and therefore the quality was going to be better. So while would like to have the latest Sony a 7 full frame top of the range mirrorless I have had to go for the mid-range NEX-6. I have to say that I'm absolutely delighted with this lovely little camera and the fact that it is small was one of my main choices for choosing to say goodbye to the DSLR Canon 600 D. The NEX-6 is small enough and light enough that I can pretty much always have it with me, either in the inside pocket of my jacket or in the bag that I carry and I even have a nice little clip that I can hook the camera onto the straps of my rucksack so it is even more available to use.

Better camera better software

The NEX-6 has much better software than does the Canon 600 D and I think that overall is a much better camera. The only thing that I find is missing on the NEX-6 is the input jack for a microphone. I am not too worried about that because I have the Giant Squid lapel microphone that I connect to the old iPhone so that I can record the audio externally. It is very easy in Final Cut Pro X to synchronise the audio and video from two different sources and to have good quality audio for my videos.

There are some people that complain about the fact that the video recorded on the Sony NEX-6 is of the AVC HD variety, but although there is one extra step in being able to get them video into Final Cut Pro X I find that it works well enough for me. The fact that the video benefits from the constant auto focus means that I can set the camera up and go in stand in front of it and be fairly sure that the main subject of the video, me will be perfectly in focus as I record. The NEX-6 also has the ability to prioritise focusing on faces, as I said the software in the NEX-6 is much better and much more advanced.

Extra applications to run on the NEX-6 camera

There are one or two applications, some that are free and some that you have to buy that you can use to extend the functionality of the NEX-6 camera. The one I have found very useful so far is the remote control application that works with the Wi-Fi and external applications that you run on your mobile device. I use this combination of technology to connect to my Nexus 7 and I find it very useful being able to see exactly how the composition of the video shot or photo is going to work out before I shoot it. I can change a number of the settings using this remote control application, such as the aperture or shutter speed as well as the ISO setting and I can also use the zoom. It would be nice if this application also allowed me to start the video, maybe that is a feature that will come in a future version.

Timelapse photography

I bought the Sony time-lapse application which was £7.99 and this gives me the tools that I can use to shoot a number of still photos and have them combined into a video. The video is formatted as an AVI file and I have found that I can import that directly into Final Cut Pro, I thought I would have to convert it first. There are plenty of settings that can be change within the standard presets which are called themes in the timelapse application and there is also a custom theme which can be altered even more.