Building an automated camera rig for panoramic photos


MAKE: shows us how to create an electronic camera rig for taking high-resolution panoramic photos.


There’s nothing quite like a panoramic photo to capture some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes. Unfortunately, not every camera can take them on their own, let alone at all. Just think about how difficult it is to master one on your iPhone! That’s why one Maker has come up with a motorized solution to the problem. In a recent tutorial for MAKE: Magazine, Jason Poel Smith decided to build an automated pan-tilt rig that would enable him to snap high-res panorama pictures using any cheap point-and-shoot camera.

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The remote-controlled rig itself is comprised of three aluminum plates, three servo motors, an Arduino, four AA batteries, and the camera, of course. The servo motors are connected to the microcontroller, and are tasked with controlling the pan, tilt and shutter. The Arduino handles the positioning of the camera, which enables it to automatically turn and take pictures at set intervals. Meanwhile, the metal frames hold all the parts together and allow you to mount everything onto a tripod.

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“The rig should move to the starting position. Then it will take a picture and turn slightly to the side. Once the camera has completed a full horizontal pan, the tilt servo will raise the camera slightly and the system will again take pictures panning across the area,” Smith writes.

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Once the process is complete, the Maker says that you should have a grid of pictures that cover a wide area. These photos can then be stitched together in Photoshop, or another free program, to create a single high-resolution panoramic image.

Interested in one of your own? Check out the automatic photo rig’s step-by-step guide on MAKE: here.

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