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Author Topic: large scale landscapes  (Read 4206 times)
wofsy
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« on: May 14, 2013, 03:27:48 PM »
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I have been asked to shoot a shot of a lake that is to be blown up to a 20 feet by 10 foot banner. How do I shoot the shot? What post processing can I use e.g. Genuine Fractal?

I own a Canon 5d Mark 2 and have the 24 - 105 zoom lens.
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NancyP
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 03:54:42 PM »
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Find someone who knows about photography requirements for billboards. (That wouldn't be me.) 10 pixels per inch?  Wink
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 04:29:02 PM »
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You can also start with a higher-resolultion file by turning the camera vertically and taking several shots in a panoramic fashion, stitching them later in Photoshop (or another specialized program). You can double or triple that resolution by shooting two or three rows horizontally.

On the other hand, just i simple shot might suffice, depending on the viewing distance from the banner, which may or may not require up-rezing (with Genuine Fractals or other programs).
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Slobodan

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elf
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 11:21:22 PM »
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Get a spherical panorama head and shoot multi-row panorama.  Select the focal length of the lens by how much detail you need.  Longer focal length = more detail = more shots.

If you just want to up-rez a single image, then it's probably best to let the printer do the up-rezzing.
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bill t.
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2013, 12:02:05 AM »
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But try to keep you pano down to a couple hundred megabytes if want a service to print it.  Consider that most billboards are something like 10 pixels per inch or even less.  At that scale and those viewing distances, contrast and simplicity of form count for more than sharpness.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2013, 03:40:05 AM »
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I have been asked to shoot a shot of a lake that is to be blown up to a 20 feet by 10 foot banner.

The main question is: What is the viewing distance for that banner?

The next question is how high of an image quality is required (how detailed, how realistic)? Is the banner the main subject of display, or is it just a backdrop decoration?

Cheers,
Bart

P.S. The viewing distance can be used in a Rule of Thumb estimate that tells whether up-sampling is required. Just add the resulting PPI requirement in the resize dialog, with re-sampling selected.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 02:11:44 PM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2013, 03:33:15 PM »
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If you have pixel level sharpness, your print should look OK at about 6 feet away without any or just some simple resampling--this is a 24mp camera?
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wofsy
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 05:25:34 PM »
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not sure this helps but I just learned that it will be printed on vinyl and the shot can be at 150 DPI b/c
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wofsy
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2013, 05:26:25 PM »
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it is 22 MP
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2013, 06:00:49 PM »
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not sure this helps but I just learned that it will be printed on vinyl and the shot can be at 150 DPI b/c

Hi,

What matters for image quality is the viewing distance. Suppose that the viewing distance is 10 feet, then you'll require (as per my Rule of Thumb link) input at 286.48/10 = 28.6 PPI or better for good quality output.

For a single image, per 20 feet (240 inches) you have 5616 pixels (assuming no cropping), or 5616/240 = 23.4 PPI. That's almost what's needed at that viewing distance to satisfy a person with 20/20 vision with good image quality. When the viewing distance is shorter, visual quality will be lower (but maybe that's okay, it's your call), and when the distance is larger, then quality will be more than enough. So for that target distance you'll get good quality.

However, to avoid further quality loss one should up-sample to the native printer resolution (presumably in the order of 300 PPI, i.e. 300/23.4 = 12.82x magnification), and sharpen at that size. If you don't then the printer driver will up-sample for you, but usually at a lower quality. That requires a good resampling software, such as e.g. a Lambda printer offers, or you have to do it yourself with e.g. Photozoom Pro from Benvista.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 06:10:08 PM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
wofsy
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2013, 08:32:49 AM »
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the closest people will get is about six feet.

Are multiple images spliced difficult to do?
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2013, 09:49:36 AM »
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the closest people will get is about six feet.

Hi,

That would mean good 20/20 vision quality at 6 feet, equals 286.48/6 = 47.75 PPI output will suffice, more is better but not absolutely required for image quality (see attachment). To achieve that, you would need to supply an image of 8235x5490 pixels. That would suggest that a single row pano stitch of say 3 portrait orientation tiles with 18% overlap would be preferable as input, because a single 5616x3744 pixel file would give somewhat lower detail quality (may still be adequate but with reduced detail nevertheless).

It also means that the printer driver will be required to apply additional magnification to get to 20 feet wide at 300 PPI (if that is the actual native resolution of the printer), with the possibility to sharpen at that output size after up-sampling. It also means that any sharpening artifacts of the source image would become clearly visible, so optimal capture sharpening without creating halos should be applied at Raw conversion time.

Now, 20x10 feet at 300 PPI equals 54,000x36,000 pixels (1.9 Giga-pixel, ~5.8 Gigabytes), which possibly exceeds the file format size that your lab can handle (e.g. PSB format would be required for a single file). They may be well equipped to do the up-sampling themselves, which would be great if they use good software. In addition, the print will not be printed as a single image in one piece, and it will be easier to transport when mounted on smaller panels (e.g. 10 feet high, and each at printer width), so it's preferable to have the Lab take care of all that, assuming they know how to maintain high quality throughout the resampling/printing process (which also at some stage involves conversion to their output profile, ideally when still in the 45.2 megapixel stage in 16-bit/channel mode, earlier in the process).

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Are multiple images spliced difficult to do?

That depends on how the Lab will do the separate sections/panels, printing with or without overlap for mounting and cutting. I'd leave that to them to figure out. They presumably have more experience than you.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 10:07:48 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
k bennett
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 10:01:18 AM »
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Are multiple images spliced difficult to do?

No, but it takes some care in shooting. You can do this without any special equipment as long as everything in the photo is far away. If there is a foreground element (as there often is in good landscape photography), then it helps immensely to have a special rotator that sets your camera and lens so that they rotate around exactly the same point inside the lens to avoid parallax errors.

Either way the images can be stitched in Photoshop or with a stand alone application like PTGui. PTGui is faster and easier, but costs a few bucks.

If you decide to go this route, it's something you'll want to master ahead of time, of course. 

I've attached two photos, the b+w interior was shot hand held with a 5D Mark II and the 24-105 at 24mm. The exterior was shot with a GH2 and a Nodal Ninja pano device -- note the strong foreground which would be totally screwed up if I tried this hand held.
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wofsy
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 01:03:13 PM »
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Thanks.

Can I ask some details of technique since I have never done this before.

If I di not use a panoramic head, I take an initial shot from a tripod - fine tune the focus manually - then rotate the camera to the left and right and retake with the same focus setting and the same exposure. How do I estimate the degree of overlap.

Also if I wanted two rows what care need to be taken in changing the camera angle?
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NancyP
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2013, 01:28:49 PM »
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wiki.panotools.org has some good information on "what is the no-parallax point (aka "nodal point") and how do you find it?", on hardware (bought or home-made), on software, and on technique.

Overlap: 30% to 50% should do it. Don't skimp and use only 10% or less overlap, it is less laborious to do 3 shots with ample overlap than 2 shots with minimal overlap, both in shooting and in computation.
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bill t.
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2013, 01:35:34 PM »
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Won't crunch numbers.  But the take the shot in nice sunlight with a pretty blue sky maybe dappled with a few distinct clouds.  A muddled looking image with a blown-out, overcast sky is death when printed big, no matter how much resolution it can boast.

20% overlap is fine.  All that matters about overlap is that you have some.

Hey k bennet, awesome shots there!  I'm gonna remember that thing you did with the stairs, very nice indeed.
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elf
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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2013, 04:04:00 AM »
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Thanks.

Can I ask some details of technique since I have never done this before.

If I di not use a panoramic head, I take an initial shot from a tripod - fine tune the focus manually - then rotate the camera to the left and right and retake with the same focus setting and the same exposure. How do I estimate the degree of overlap.

Also if I wanted two rows what care need to be taken in changing the camera angle?

The amount of parallax you get will depend on how far from the entrance pupil you're rotating the camera and how close the foreground is.  Current stitching software can handle quite a bit of parallax error, but it's better to be right on the entrance pupil.

The simplest way to find the entrance pupil (no parallax point, etc.) is to look in the front of the lens and determine the apparent position of the diaphragm.  Focus point and zoom may affect this, so adjust these before measuring.  Once you know the location of the entrance pupil, it's just a matter of rotating the camera around this point both vertically and horizontally. 

For single row panos, you can make an adaptor to offset the camera on the tripod.  A short piece of metal or wood with two holes, one for the tripod head and one for the camera tripod socket.  The holes need to be the same distance apart as the camera tripod socket and the entrance pupil. Precise vertical rotation is harder to do.  There are quite a few homemade spherical panorama heads on the web, and you may find some that are within your skill set to make.   I'd also recommend just shooting the scene handheld to see how well it turns out.  It's really not that hard to rotate around the entrance pupil when you know where it is.  It just takes a little practice.

I like Microsoft ICE for stitching (it's free), but Autopano Pro, PTGui, and PT Assembler are all good.  I don't like Photoshop for stitching, but I haven't tried it on the newest version.

p.s. Turn off auto everything (ISO, White balance, etc.) and shoot manual, although I have had success using fixed aperture and letting the camera select shutter speed.

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wofsy
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2013, 01:28:52 PM »
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Thanks that is helpful information.

I just tried the first test shots - removed parallax by first centering the lens over the heas then shifting it backwards until camera rotation showed no visible parallax. Pretty easy. I lined up two standing lamps one behind the other to show the parallax.

But when stitching in photoshop the top border of the picture was jagged and the bottom curved. Also with one of the option - collage - the overlap seemed blurry.

I was wondering why the jagged top border and how to get rid of the curved bottom. Do I take one more shot to fill in the bottom? Could the jagged edge signal a non level camera?
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k bennett
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« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2013, 01:47:05 PM »
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The final result is not the final result -- it will show a jagged edge top and bottom, and odd angles left and right, especially if the camera is pointed up or down. This stitched image will need to be cropped to achieve the final result. I usually bring the stitched image back into Lightroom as a 16 bit TIFF, and do the cropping and any final keystoning corrections there, then output the final version.

Also, note that this sort of stitching provides an image with some fisheye distortion. (Some panoramic cameras, like the Widelux, do this too.) Straight lines can appear curved, especially the closer they are to the camera. Note the railing and the stairs in the photo I posted above. Not all subjects are good candidates for this sort of stitching, but many look good and some look great.

EDIT: To get back to your original question, I personally think you'll be fine just shooting a nice photo of the lake and providing that file to the printer. I'm always amazed at how good very large blowups look from 5D Mark II files, especially when the viewer is more than a few feet away from the print.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 01:48:53 PM by k bennett » Logged

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wofsy
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2013, 01:58:12 PM »
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I will also just try a single image but this is also a chance to try something new. You have been extremely helpful. BTW: your shots are really nice.

One last worry. When taking rows should you raise the tripod or tilt the camera up and down?
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