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Creating Animated GIFs and Movies from a Multi-Camera Rig

DSLR Remote Pro Multi-Camera includes a utility called Multi-Camera Animator which can be used to automatically create animated GIFs and MP4 videos from the photos taken using a multi-camera rig. Multi-Camera Animator can adjust for pan, tilt, roll and zoom to stabilize the images from the cameras and compensate for camera alignment errors. It can then monitor the folder where the photos are downloaded from cameras and automatically create animated GIFs. This process is fast enough for events where the finished results need to be avaiable as quickly as possible e.g. processing the photos from a small 5 camera rig takes less than 10 seconds including the time it takes to download the photos from the cameras. The animated GIFs or MP4 videos can be viewed and shared using our Breeze Kiosk software.

Key features:

  • Automatically creates animated GIFs and MP4 videos from photos downloaded using DSLR Remote Pro Multi-Camera
  • Adjusts for pan, tilt, roll and zoom to compensate for camera alignment errors. Includes auto alignment option and manual alignment for fine adjustment
  • Crop the photos to removed unwanted areas
  • An optional overlay can be added to all the photos for branding or separate overlays for each photo for special effects
  • Images can be chroma-keyed to replace a green or blue background with a virtual background and overlay (a different background and overlay for each photo)
  • The center photo can be saved so that it can be printed (e.g. using our Hotfolder Prints software) to provide a hard copy with optional branding
  • The animated GIFs and MP4 videos can display the photos in a loop forwards then backwards for semi-circular rigs or forwards only for full 360 rigs
  • An optional "intro" or "outro" title sequence can be added to the animated GIF
  • The stabilized photos can be saved as PNG images ready for further processing e.g. post processing using Adobe After Effects to create more sophisticated effects
  • An anaglyph stereo image from the middle two cameras can be saved for 3D stereo viewing with red/cyan glasses. This can be automatically printed using our Hotfolder Prints software

Please note: Breeze Kiosk and Hotfolder Prints are separate products which need to be purchased separately.

Here are some examples of animated GIFs created using the Multi-Camera Animator with a 5 camera rig controlled using DSLR Remote Pro Multi-Camera:

"Freeze frame": 5 cameras with flash

"Painting with light": 5 cameras, 3 second exposure and flash

How it works

Step 1: Place a vertical pole in the center of the camera array. Use a spirit level to check that the pole is vertical or fix a plumbline to the pole to provide an accurate vertical reference. Place a marker on the pole at the same height as the cameras and a second marker at the top or bottom to provide a reference for correcting zooming. For auto alignment replace the reference markers with bright LED lights.

Step 2: Use live view in DSLR Remote Pro Multi-Camera to accurately focus and visually align each camera

Step 3: Take a set of test photos to calibrate the set up. If using auto alignment set the exposure so that the background is very dark and the reference LED appear as points of light.

Step 4: Use the calibrate tool in Multi-Camera Animator to adjust the alignment of each camera using the pole or plumbline for reference. The auto alignment option will automatically align the images using the reference LEDs. The alignment can then be fine tuned manually if required.

Step 5: Adjust the crop settings in the calibrate tool in Multi-Camera Animator to remove unwanted portions of the photos

Step 6: Remove the pole and place a marker on the floor so that people know where to stand

Step 7: Set Multi-Camera Animator to "Run" mode and take photos using the camera rig. Multi-Camera Animator will monitor the download folder and automatically create the animated GIFs and MP4 movies. It will also update DSLR Remote Pro Multi-Camera so that the next set of photos are saved in a different folder

Please see the help file for more information on how to use the Multi-Camera Animator.

Positioning the Cameras

The optimal number of cameras and their positioning will depend on your budget, the smoothness of the effect you want to achieve and how the subject is to fill the frame. The examples shown on this page all use 5 cameras mounted approximately 20cm apart (measured from the tripod bushes on the base of each camera) with a subject distance of approximately 2.4m/


Suggested camera positioning for a 7 camera array

Auto alignment example

Sample calibration and test photos from a 5 camera rig for testing the Multi-Camera Animator's auto alignment can be downloaded from here:
Auto align samples.zip

The animated GIF below was created using the photos in the samples ZIP file after aligning the cameras using live view and then using the auto align option in the Multi-Camera Animator:

Animated GIF created after using auto alignment
(5 cameras with flash, 3.2 sec exposure, light painting with LED stick)

The animated GIF below uses exactly the same photos as the first GIF, but the cameras were only aligned using live view: