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Author Topic: Gigapan system and shooting flat art  (Read 8649 times)
Roscolo
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« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2010, 10:36:44 AM »
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Quote from: JonathanBenoit
I am wondering if you are using hot lights or fluorescents. I hope not, but it wouldnt surprise me if you are using hazardous lighting. What are you using for lighting?

Scanning backs are a good option, but they don't have the same level of detail that the mutilshot backs have. Especially when coupled with proper software like Phocus or CaptureShop. They are also slowly dieing off. I cant see myself investing in a scanning back when no one will be making them in a year.

Another option is to use your current camera and purchase a sliding table made by Velmex. You can even get it motorized. The table will slide while keeping the material flat allowing you to capture sections of the art while keeping the art parallel to the sensor plane. You can then properly stitch the material in PS.

You should have equipment insurance along with general liability. Mine is about $600 a year through APA insurance. Gives you peace of mind on your equipment and this way you don't need a deposit when renting a digital back or any other rentals.

Nothing you are contributing is on the topic of the thread. Hot lights are not hazardous. Certainly no more hazardous than strobes or any other high electrical output device. I still use my strobes for portrait jobs and occasional other uses, but considering color corrections are done digitally now, I left behind parts of the workflow I never liked (strobes), along with clip tests.

I have insurance. Sorry, but I and every other pro who rents from the only rental house in this region absolutely has to put down a DEPOSIT when renting a $300 or a $30,000 piece of equipment. Neither your equipment insurance nor your liability insurance is going to compensate the rental house if you leave the country and decide to never return with their equipment.

Thanks for the advice on equipment, business, lighting, insurance, etc., and for the sales pitches. Got it. Check the topic of the thread, please. Repeating that the gigapan system is not the best way to shoot art is something I think we all know. In the examples I've shown, apparently it can and has been used to achieve imperfect results, but certainly results that appear to exceed my needs. I've got some lines of communication out now to try to estimate how much time and labor was expended to achieve those results. Could be I could use the gigapan bot to make the exposures, but perhaps a better stitching workflow is what is needed. Hopefully I can get someone from gigapan to shoot a series of exposures of a painting and run it through their stitching software and then send me the unretouched, unfinished raw result. I think that would give me enough info. to make a decision.
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Roscolo
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« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2010, 10:41:47 AM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
Speaking about stitching, you might want to consider these options as well:

http://www.dr-clauss.de/VRStationHD_EN.htm

IMHO much better than gigapan, but also more expensive obviously. Still reasonnable for pro use I believe. Autopano pro support their XML files which should ensure very accurate stitching even when there is too little texture in some parts of a piece.

They have also lower spec version, still way more robust than the gigapan:

http://www.dr-clauss.de/VRStationST_EN.htm

Regards,
Bernard

Thank you, Bernard. I looked at some of this maybe a year or 18 months ago when I first became aware of the gigapan and started doing a little research. Have you used this system? Do you have any idea of the price range of this system?



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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2010, 10:57:40 AM »
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Quote from: Roscolo
Do you have any idea of the price range of this system?

You can download their pricelist here.

Much more expensive than the Gigapan setup, but also much higher quality. The main concern I have about the Gigapan, is the durability of the gearing/motors, and the time to dampen vibrations between exposures.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 11:01:32 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
Roscolo
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« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2010, 11:16:00 AM »
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Quote from: BartvanderWolf
You can download their pricelist here.

Much more expensive than the Gigapan setup, but also much higher quality. The main concern I have about the Gigapan, is the durability of the gearing/motors, and the time to dampen vibrations between exposures.

Thanks. Do you own or have you used the Clauss system? Pricey, still significantly less than a scanning back. I just don't know enough about the gigapan, and they are slow to respond. I've only seen some demo videos and the gigapan does go about its business very fast. Maybe too fast. Seems you should be able to adjust the time between exposures and that would eliminate vibration. Of course, for the price of one Clauss one could go through a few gigapan bots.


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JonathanBenoit
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« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2010, 11:17:40 AM »
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Quote from: Roscolo
Nothing you are contributing is on the topic of the thread. Hot lights are not hazardous. Certainly no more hazardous than strobes or any other high electrical output device. I still use my strobes for portrait jobs and occasional other uses, but considering color corrections are done digitally now, I left behind parts of the workflow I never liked (strobes), along with clip tests.

I have insurance. Sorry, but I and every other pro who rents from the only rental house in this region absolutely has to put down a DEPOSIT when renting a $300 or a $30,000 piece of equipment. Neither your equipment insurance nor your liability insurance is going to compensate the rental house if you leave the country and decide to never return with their equipment.

Thanks for the advice on equipment, business, lighting, insurance, etc., and for the sales pitches. Got it. Check the topic of the thread, please. Repeating that the gigapan system is not the best way to shoot art is something I think we all know. In the examples I've shown, apparently it can and has been used to achieve imperfect results, but certainly results that appear to exceed my needs. I've got some lines of communication out now to try to estimate how much time and labor was expended to achieve those results. Could be I could use the gigapan bot to make the exposures, but perhaps a better stitching workflow is what is needed. Hopefully I can get someone from gigapan to shoot a series of exposures of a painting and run it through their stitching software and then send me the unretouched, unfinished raw result. I think that would give me enough info. to make a decision.

Hotlights do not fall within museum guidelines because of the heat they produce. Everything is temperature controlled at a museum but your hotlights... Interesting.
Being in the northeast, there are many rental houses to choose from, all of which do not require a deposit with certificate of insurance. Equipment insurance is different than rental insurance. Rental houses up here only require a certificate of insurance with them being named as the loss payee. If you leave the country and never return, their loss is paid by the insurance company.

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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2010, 12:24:35 PM »
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Quote from: Roscolo
Thanks. Do you own or have you used the Clauss system?

No, I haven't used it, but I've read some favorable reports about their stuff. I use a non-motorized multi-row RRS setup for all my stitching work. Not cheap either, but you get what you pay for. The RRS stuff is a real system, were all the individual parts can be combined for different purposes.

Cheers,
Bart
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Roscolo
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« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2010, 01:00:16 PM »
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Quote from: JonathanBenoit
Hotlights do not fall within museum guidelines because of the heat they produce. Everything is temperature controlled at a museum but your hotlights... Interesting.

I've photographed at several major museums, including the Birmingham Museum, High Museum, Georgia Museum, and many more regional art centers, all using...hotlights. I'm using a maximum of 4,500 watts of hotlights, usually about half that for most jobs. Add up all the lights throughout the museum galleries illuminating the artwork day in and day out and you get much, much more, hundreds of thousands more watts of...hotlights. Not that my 4,500 watts makes any significant change in the temperature of the museum, but, whatever change in temperature is made, the thermostat rises, HVAC system activates and the temperature is still controlled. Kind of like if a tour group of 300 people all come into the museum at once or when they turn the lights on in the galleries in the morning: temperature goes up, HVAC brings it back down. Maybe the museums should change out all the lighting for strobe lights, though. Folks could view flashes of art and have a little disco ball all at once.
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JonathanBenoit
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« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2010, 01:33:39 PM »
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Quote from: Roscolo
I've photographed at several major museums, including the Birmingham Museum, High Museum, Georgia Museum, and many more regional art centers, all using...hotlights. I'm using a maximum of 4,500 watts of hotlights, usually about half that for most jobs. Add up all the lights throughout the museum galleries illuminating the artwork day in and day out and you get much, much more, hundreds of thousands more watts of...hotlights. Not that my 4,500 watts makes any significant change in the temperature of the museum, but, whatever change in temperature is made, the thermostat rises, HVAC system activates and the temperature is still controlled. Kind of like if a tour group of 300 people all come into the museum at once or when they turn the lights on in the galleries in the morning: temperature goes up, HVAC brings it back down. Maybe the museums should change out all the lighting for strobe lights, though. Folks could view flashes of art and have a little disco ball all at once.

yea, but your lights are within a few feet of the material. The temperature of the room is regulated, but you know how much hotter it is under and next to those lights. I'm sure the material will survive, but it's another step back from doing it 100%. I've used hotlights and its almost worth spending the extra money so you don't have to sweat. Continuous lighting that wont make you(or the material) sweat. http://www.northlightproducts.com/html/copy_lights.html
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 01:34:59 PM by JonathanBenoit » Logged

Roscolo
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« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2010, 01:35:51 PM »
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Quote from: BartvanderWolf
The main concern I have about the Gigapan, is the durability of the gearing/motors, and the time to dampen vibrations between exposures.

Bart, this doesn't address the durability issue, but one can control the time between exposures on the gigapan. And you can set the motor speed as well. Reading through the manual here: http://gigapansystems.com/epicpro-introduction.html

"Options Menu

Time per Pic - The amount of time that the EPIC Pro will wait until it moves the camera to the next position."

Really wish there was a way to rent one or demo one somewhere!
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Roscolo
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« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2010, 01:51:12 PM »
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Quote from: JonathanBenoit
yea, but your lights are within a few feet of the material. Continuous lighting that wont make you(or the material) sweat. http://www.northlightproducts.com/html/copy_lights.html

OK...two of those will run me another $7,000. And I wouldn't want to lug those boxes and caster stands around. And they look pretty limited. If you're shooting really large paintings you would need 2 more to stack. All my Lowels fit nicely into an easy to carry and roll case, easy to stack, and I can use them for jobs other than documentation of artwork at about 1/10th the cost!

My lights are several feet away from the artwork. Artwork is vertical. Light is not shining directly onto the artwork, but in any event, heat rises. There is no discernible heat falling on the artwork. So, keep your hands and flammables from touching the metal around the bulb or from the area directly above the hot light, (exercise a little common sense) and no problems.

Never seen the material sweat yet, but I admit I've broken a sweat a time or two. I don't have $14,000 lying about to replace my $1,500 worth of Lowels, so looks like I'll have to sweat it out a little longer.



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alain
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« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2010, 03:59:50 PM »
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Hi

Why wouldn't you make a portable "rail" that goes parallel with the artwork and where you're tripod moves on?

Stitching would be easy and such a set up wouldn't be to expensive.


Even just one U-profile where two legs of you' re tripod fit in, which is placed parallel and marked and fixed (read: gaffer tape) on the floor, would be a nice test.
(Just add markings so that you move you're tripod approx. the same distance.)  

Actually even a simple bar where you're tripod legs are placed against would be enough.

If you need vertical distance, you can use the centre column of you're -good- tripod and/or mount the camera in portrait orientation.



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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2010, 04:17:31 PM »
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Quote from: alain
Hi

Why wouldn't you make a portable "rail" that goes parallel with the artwork and where you're tripod moves on?

Stitching would be easy and such a set up wouldn't be to expensive.
Yes... this is what I call the "move-and-stitch" (as opposed to shift-and-stitch or pan-and-stitch).

You could use a laser beam instead of a rail.
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Hasselblad H4, Sinar P3 monorail view camera, Schneider Apo-digitar lenses
alain
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« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2010, 04:26:30 PM »
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Quote from: Dick Roadnight
Yes... this is what I call the "move-and-stitch" (as opposed to shift-and-stitch or pan-and-stitch).

You could use a laser beam instead of a rail.

Hi

A laser beam would be nice to align the "rail", but a fixed rail will, imho, work faster taking the pictures.  It's only needed to measure the two sides of the rail.
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2010, 05:05:25 PM »
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Quote from: alain
Hi

A laser beam would be nice to align the "rail", but a fixed rail will, imho, work faster taking the pictures.  It's only needed to measure the two sides of the rail.
You could use a laser measure to position a rail...

There is a standard laser system for painting straight lines on sports pitches, which could automate the system.

A Velmex system would be very handy... if copying pictures was your specialty... like a pan system but Cartesian.
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Roscolo
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« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2010, 05:22:46 PM »
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Quote from: alain
Hi

Why wouldn't you make a portable "rail" that goes parallel with the artwork and where you're tripod moves on?

Stitching would be easy and such a set up wouldn't be to expensive.

Could work. Some of the paintings I've shot are 6-10 ft. tall x 12-18-24 feet. So, you're gonna need a big rail. Then you have to be able to transport, assemble and disassemble the rail in a museum. Custom fabrication is expensive. I suppose a dolly rail could actually work pretty good, just mount a platform and tripod or stand on. A lot of gear, but worth looking into. Thanks for what may be a workable idea that might fit in the budget.


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JonathanBenoit
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« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2010, 06:30:34 PM »
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Quote from: Roscolo
Could work. Some of the paintings I've shot are 6-10 ft. tall x 12-18-24 feet. So, you're gonna need a big rail. Then you have to be able to transport, assemble and disassemble the rail in a museum. Custom fabrication is expensive. I suppose a dolly rail could actually work pretty good, just mount a platform and tripod or stand on. A lot of gear, but worth looking into. Thanks for what may be a workable idea that might fit in the budget.

I dont think a velmex solution would be anywhere near affordable for artwork of that size.
You should contact some specialists. Michael Ulsaker at Ulsaker Studio in CT is extremely knowledgeable and builds custom solutions for museums and libraries in the northeast.
Also, there is a guy out of Italy, Roberto Bigano that might be able to give you some ideas.
Dave Mathews(not the singer) at NEDCC is another option.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 06:31:56 PM by JonathanBenoit » Logged

Roscolo
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« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2010, 01:07:37 AM »
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No custom build necessary. I've already checked out some dolly rails - like they use for motion picture cameras. Not bad at all, and I've got several friends who work in the motion picture biz, and this stuff comes up on the used equipment in Atlanta pretty regular, especially when a series wraps. Great suggestion. Might not be the final solution, but even brand new, a 10.5 ft. dolly rail with rolling support is a couple of grand. When this stuff comes up used in the ATL sometimes it is discounted mightily.

Big thanks to alain for planting the seed! Love the LL forums!



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alain
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« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2010, 01:09:44 AM »
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Quote from: Roscolo
Could work. Some of the paintings I've shot are 6-10 ft. tall x 12-18-24 feet. So, you're gonna need a big rail. Then you have to be able to transport, assemble and disassemble the rail in a museum. Custom fabrication is expensive. I suppose a dolly rail could actually work pretty good, just mount a platform and tripod or stand on. A lot of gear, but worth looking into. Thanks for what may be a workable idea that might fit in the budget.

I wouldn't be surprised that a simple "system" that's used in construction is dirt cheap and light to transport, although it could even "disposable" for a bigger shoot (and shipped directly to the museum by the shop).
A simple dolly could move inside one U-profile.  A museum (floor) will be probably a nice straight surface to use something on.
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elf
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« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2010, 02:30:28 AM »
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Quote from: Roscolo
No custom build necessary. I've already checked out some dolly rails - like they use for motion picture cameras. Not bad at all, and I've got several friends who work in the motion picture biz, and this stuff comes up on the used equipment in Atlanta pretty regular, especially when a series wraps. Great suggestion. Might not be the final solution, but even brand new, a 10.5 ft. dolly rail with rolling support is a couple of grand. When this stuff comes up used in the ATL sometimes it is discounted mightily.

Big thanks to alain for planting the seed! Love the LL forums!
Sounds remarkably like what I suggested in the 2nd post in this thread

I'm still of the opinion that the software is going to much more important than the hardware.  I've seen some pretty poor examples of stitching by the Gigapan software with ghosting and misaligned features. You will need to review every blend line in the stitched image for accuracy and the software must allow you to edit the blends.  I'd suggest trying PTAssembler, Microsoft ICE, and Autopano Pro to see which one works best for you.

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JonathanBenoit
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« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2010, 06:16:25 AM »
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Quote from: elf
I'm still of the opinion that the software is going to much more important than the hardware.  I've seen some pretty poor examples of stitching by the Gigapan software with ghosting and misaligned features. You will need to review every blend line in the stitched image for accuracy and the software must allow you to edit the blends.  I'd suggest trying PTAssembler, Microsoft ICE, and Autopano Pro to see which one works best for you.

I feel the opposite. If the hardware/setup is accurate the stitching process will be flawless. It's a stressful business when you need to depend on software for accurate stitching of inaccurate images. But at this material size, I can't think of a realistic solution that would keep up with my ridiculous standards. The dolly rail is probably the best solution. Just need to make sure the sensor plane is parallel to the material at every point on the rail. Might want to invest in a ZigAlign. I'm glad I don't photograph material that large.
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