Using the Multi-Camera Animator to create animated GIFs and MP4 movies
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 available 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.
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 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 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.
GIF created using auto alignment
Created after aligning the cameras using live view and then using the auto align option in the Multi-Camera Animator.
GIF without auto alignment
Exactly the same photos as the first GIF, but the cameras were only aligned using live view.
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 dinosaur example above uses 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