Thursday, October 02, 2008

Photosynth seems promising with video

Earlier, Photosynth disappointed me. Today I tried it using video and I'm more happy with the results.

I chose my 8 mm analog video camera (Sony CCD-TR96) as the source because I thought it would offer most suitable candidates. I searched through quite a bit of video, seeking an especially good candidate so I could test this idea without wondering whether a failure was due to the particular scene. I wanted something without nearby people or water, without obstructions and with a fairly straightforward geometry that is nevertheless more than just one panorama. Eventually I decided to try it using video taken at the mountain fortress of Klis in Croatia.

I captured the entire segment at 8 FPS through the video input of my Intel PC Camera Pro webcam using VirtualDub. Then I cut out some parts which I didn't feel were appropriate for Photosynth (scenes of people, low quality zooms of Split, frames with a date overlay and a few other small bits), cropped noisy edges and saved the result as an image sequence.

I ended up with 555 images. I thought about cutting down that number by decimating the frame rate, but it was all only 16.4 MB so I decided not to. Photosynth warned me that there may be problems if I try to synth more than 300 images, but I ignored the warning because of the overall size. Matching took a long time, sometimes using all four cores, but it wasn't too bad. The rest of the process didn't take long.

The result is quite nice and I don't feel like it was a lot of work. In fact it was fun and it was less work than writing this post. I'll probably do more of these.

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