I am happy to announce today that after months of research and processing I have finally created four new Quicktime 360 degree VR timelapses, two of which include transitional work (twilight to night and night to morning twilight).
This was quite a Journey… From my first circular 360 x 180 fisheye timelapses to their 360 VR Timelapse versions, a couple of months ago and a 360 degree national park cinema project in between – see below
My technical approach for this project is based and inspired by the pioneering work of my quite famous TWAN Collegaue Stéphane Guisard, who on July 1st, 2010 did the worlds first astronomic landscape timelapse VR. Which was basically exactly three years ago.
I remember his post from that day: “… I am happy to show you what is apparently the first “Virtual Reality Night Time Lapse Movie” …. something like 900 full sky panorama images put together in an interactive 360°x180° flash Time Lapse…. The file to load is heavy (around 70Mb) and might require minutes to load depending on your connection speed … but I think it is worth it !”. Stéphane’s Original film can be seen here!
Now I am glad to add four new timelapse VR’s to Stéphane’s work!
Which comes a bit by coincidence.
I had recently produced special 360 degree astronomic timelapse content (including transitions) for Science Vision’s revolutionary 360 degree national park venue film at the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern 360 degree cinema, in Austria. It’s a world’s first - a wonderful 54 x 4 m projection!!.
So while working on the footage, I remembered Stéphane’s idea again.
I took my first 360 degree timelapses created for the National Park project, added new ones with and without transitions (my speciality). Some worked, some not, the learning curve was steep, and the processing a challenge at every step.
I must say that my timelapse processing workflow now has reached a level of applications and techniques involved that it is just crazy (not talking about adding some HTML and XML programming with KRPano to get the Timlapse VR).
What threw me back for about two months in project time is, that I could not get the flash VR’s to run with Pano2VR no matter how hard I tried. In the end I had reached a point where the timelapses it exported started, but the projection was totally wrong. I was looking at a cube face VR that was just using 3 sides with my VR movie. Not good. Stéphane and me scratched our heads.
According to it’s developer this is because Pano2VR can not work with the classic equirectangular projection on flash based timelapse (but why can it export a still of that same projection into the VR below?? – see Classic VR). Which is to my current knowledge not the only bug the (Mac version of the) software has on exporting flash VR’s (I experienced all sorts of weird things with that).
When I finally tried KRPano and saw that it miracoulosly worked with my projection I saw light on the end of the tunnel. Now after a week of coding craziness I am stoked to see my first Timelapse VRs floating on the large 27″ screen. Amazing, and great to share!!
BUT, UH OH, WHAT IS A “VR”?
The cool thing with Timelapse VR and the reason to do all this is, that we combine a classic VR with timelapse content, which in return gives viewers freedom of movement in the timelapse movie.
For a brief description of VR go here. Basically it is a interactive panorama in a given browser window, that you can turn around with your mouse. It has been available since Apple introduced Quicktime.
There are basically two kinds of VR’s: full spherical 360 x 360 degree VR’s where you can look up to the sky above you and down to your (virtual) feet, and 360 x 180 degree VRs. With those you can see the sky and to the side, but not to the floor.
Watching a VR is easy, but requires Adobe Flash installed on your PC.
So now, before you dive into my Timelapse VR’s please just make yourself familiar with a classic one and it’s interface. This classic VR is just a still frame out of the “Roque VR” below.
FIRST TRY A CLASSIC VR
Now, as you are familiar with a classic VR enter a Timelapse VR. Whoa!!!
NOW TRY A TIMELAPSE VR
The difference here: Less resolution than with a single image VR – which is a compromise due to bandwith restrictions. But you now can toggle between play/pause at the timelapse VRs to watch a scene’s frame from all sides.
*Please note: these are work in progress – beta. I am currently learning and working on the video player interface and other details. Furthermore all VR’s have been optimized to my best knowledge for loading speed. Finally please allow each Timelapse a couple of seconds to load (depending on your web connection it can even be a minute) – once the music starts, you are good to go.
Attention: If the timelapse does not start even after a longer time, please reload in your browser, this can help.
Beautiful Timelapse VR from the first 360 degree testrun on the 2450 m high Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma, Canary Islands.
No transition there, but you can see “Gegenschein“, which is like zodiacal light being caused by sunlight backscattered in interplanetary dust clouds. Rarely do I see Gegenschein in light polluted Europe.
LA PALMA XL Version
Hello nerds, this is a 70 MB version with good quality, but may require 1 to 10 minutes to load depending on your web connection, so be patient.
As Stéphane would say: It’s worth it.
If I have time this month I will add more XL versions.
A funky timelapse VR from a quite short, but windy summer night that includes a transition from twilight to the night and the moon setting. Short summer night means: NO SLEEP. If you watch closely you can see some of the nearer / larger trees move from the wind.
After the moon sets, the milky way becomes very visible for some seconds (in reality it was from ca 00.30 am to 02.30 am), fades away and the morning sets in. All transitioned using the great LRTimelapse tool from my dude Gunther Wegner.
Note: Even the ISS speeds trough, but you might not catch it as it is just 4 or 5 frames happening. You can also see tons of satellite flashes. If the timelapse does not start even after a longer time, please reload in your browser, this can help.
A recent night at Serfaus, Tyrol, where we were caught by clouds for the most part of the night, which however made for great movement in the VR. The ISS is zooming trough this timelapse too, but you might not catch it as it is just 4 or 5 frames happening.
Note the strong light pollution in all directions mainly coming from Landeck and South Italy.
The Timelapse stops during the night, since at around 2:00 a.m. we finally had to leave our camp as everyone had to work next day. No transition but a moonset and good memories to a fun night and a hangover morning.
Premium timelapse from the National Park 360 film. Cleaned for Airplanes and Satellite flares (1300 frames), the whole film which lurks around my RAID is based on more than 3500 D800 RAW images and was a challenge to process.
See Making-of-Images in the Gallery below.
Timelapse VR is now a part of my work, with an incredible workflow. Say: Crazy processing.
I am definitely in for the new MacPro - worlds fastest waste bin, although I have to say the fastest iMac model currently on the market (and on my desk, glowing red at night, processing) is having a good time with 32 MP Nikon D800 RAW files. If only Lightroom would be multi-processing (or did I miss something?).
Lightroom is super slow. Lightroom exports and gallery preview actualizations are currently the bottleneck in my workflow.
The next challenges for me are overcoming my limited knowhow of KRPano XML programming, which is fun. As well as optimizing the content itself for web and local use. The Timelapse VR’s look gorgeous in Highres but that makes for 100 MB+ files.
Furthermore I’d like to add as much new features to the KRPano video-player as possible. If you know of a KRPano XML snippet to display a preview of a video before it is loaded or have other great code available for KRPano, please shout.
All the best,
PS: I guess next thing is 3D Timelapse VR – holy crap!
Making-of Gallery of some of the NP 360 footage…