- Publication Details
- IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo 2002
- Aug August 26, 2002
The FlyAbout system uses spatially indexed panoramic video to create an interactive, photographic “virtual reality” system.
By recording both FlyCam panoramic video and location data along interesting paths, the video can be accessed by spatial location using a map or “driving” interface.
Panoramic video is captured by a moving a 360° camera along continuous paths (see below for details), and replayed to give users the experience of moving along those trajectories, and the ability to view any interesting object or direction. Spatially indexed video gives the ability to travel along paths or roads with a map-like interface. At intersections, users can chose which path to follow as well as which direction to look, allowing interaction not available with conventional video. Combining the spatial index with a spatial database of maps or objects allows users to navigate to specific locations or interactively inspect particular objects.
Here are two videos that show FlyAbout navigation. The first video shows interactively navigating a courtyard at Stanford University campus. Dragging the arrow changes your view direction, while dragging the red dot moves your view location. The second video shows a larger-scale FlyAbout system where you can virtually “drive” around Lake Tahoe. The red location dot moves with your viewpoint. Notice that you can even “drive backwards” by reversing your viewpoint and the play direction!
We have automated the FlyAbout video production system to a large extent. Panoramic video is recorded by moving a six-camera FlyCam along interesting paths. Filming panoramic video can be challenging, as it is difficult for the operator to avoid being in the picture! For our “walking tour” productions, the operator crouches underneath a tripod dolly. We have also constructed a roof-mounted camera system that lets the operator drive the camera around in a car (a much more comfortable solution). Each of the six cameras is recorded by a handheld DV camcorder used as a video tape recorder (VTR). These are battery-powered and quite small which makes for a reasonably portable recording solution. SMPTE time code is synchronously recorded on one audio track of each of the six VTRs for later synchronization. Concurrently, time-stamped GPS location data is recorded synchronously on a laptop computer.
This is our roof-mounted panoramic camera system:
And this is our camera system, including video and GPS capture hardware. Fairly portable, if you don’t mind the spaghetti. Note the six-camera FlyCam at far left.
Once captured, the six video files are individually transferred to a PC via a firewire interface. The component images are corrected for lens distortion and color matching using patent-pending algorithms. The pictures below show the raw video (from an earlier 4-camera system).
These images are unwarped into a cylindrical projection, corrected for camera tilt, offset, and brightness, and stitched into a sequence of composite panoramic images like that shown below. This is done in a batch process, but works at several times real time. The result is a motion JPEG of continuous cylindrical panoramas at the video frame rate of 30 per second.
- Publication Details
- Proc. ACM Multimedia 2001, Ottawa,CA, Oct. 2001.
- Sep September 30, 2001