July 30, 2017

Low-Cost 360 Stereo Photography and Video Capture

SIGGRAPH 2017

By: Kevin Matzen, Michael Cohen, Bryce Evans, Johannes Kopf, Richard Szeliski

Abstract

A number of consumer-grade spherical cameras have recently appeared, enabling affordable monoscopic VR content creation in the form of full 360◦ × 180◦ spherical panoramic photos and videos. While monoscopic content is certainly engaging, it fails to leverage a main aspect of VR HMDs, namely stereoscopic display. Recent stereoscopic capture rigs involve placing many cameras in a ring and synthesizing an omni-directional stereo panorama enabling a user to look around to explore the scene in stereo. In this work, we describe a method that takes images from two 360◦ spherical cameras and synthesizes an omni-directional stereo panorama with stereo in all directions. Our proposed method has a lower equipment cost than camera-ring alternatives, can be assembled with currently available off-the-shelf equipment, and is relatively small and light-weight compared to the alternatives. We validate our method by generating both stills and videos. We have conducted a user study to better understand what kinds of geometric processing are necessary for a pleasant viewing experience. We also discuss several algorithmic variations, each with their own time and quality trade-offs.