Home Forums 360° Panoramic VR Photography "Flying Willy" Panorama Tutorial ?

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    Gabri Boot
    IVRPA Member
    • Forum Posts: 4

    In 2014 Willy Kaemena gave a workshop about “Flying Willy” photography.
    Is it possible to tell more about how Willy did do this and what equipment you need to do this?


    Gabriel Acoca
    Forum Member
    • Forum Posts: 3

    Where can i find a Flying Willy tutorial ?



    Steve Newcombe
    Forum Member
    • Forum Posts: 3

    I have just been asking the same question. Maybe if enough of us ask – Willy will publish – at least to the members?

    How about it Willy? For those of us that did not get to 2012 or 2014?

    Hope you can – :-)


    • Forum Posts: 314
    • ★★★★

    i do not believe we have a video of that workshop, but the basic idea is as follows

    a “flying willy” is a simulated aerial 360° panorama shot from the top of a tall narrow building, by shooting in all directions from near the edge we can make the building we are standing on seem to disappear in the final panorama

    this technique is named for Willy Kaemena who is a master of panoramic photography, the following tips were gleaned from his advice posted in various forums etc

    camera and lens –

    use a fisheye lens capable of shooting a full sphere with 4 images around, you can use any lens of any focal length and shoot more images, but a 180° + fisheye makes life easier here

    location and safety –

    finding a suitable location can be the hard part, we want a a tall narrow tower with a wrap around balcony or other accessible rooftop 360° views in all directions unobstructed by windows etc, the farther away everything else is, the fewer parallax problems we will have when stitching

    wide or oblong buildings or with nearby structures of similar height are not ideal as other buildings that are too nearby will cause parallax stitching issues as they noticeably shift as our cameras position changes for each shot, we are already way off our no parallax (nodal) point here ;)

    ALWAYS make sure your camera and other gear are attached to proper safety lines when working on rooftops etc!

    shooting the images –

    from the top of our tower, shoot at least 4 to 8 or more images looking in all 4 directions and try to get more mid positions as well if you can, best number of images depends on focal length and other factors

    when shooting, keep your camera as level with horizon as you can, get as close to or past the edge of whatever balcony etc you are standing on, ideally we should be able to see straight down to the ground with minimal floor or ledge in your shots, and NEVER hold an unsecured camera near or over the edge of a building, always use proper safety lines!

    stitching the images –

    sorry, this is the hard part, some expertise and practice and experimentation with ptgui or other stiching apps is required to get good results in the end, try different combinations of your images to see which give the best result, you will need to adjust control points manually and play with masks to make everything look right, vertical control points to straighten everything out, perhaps adjust viewpoint correction to level the horizon and such, perhaps some photoshop layers, etc, all of this is dependent on the location and how we shot our images

    you will likely have a small area in the nadir which shows some part of the structure you were standing on, a bit of creativity is photoshop may be required here ;)

    that is basically it, please post any questions below

    here are 2 examples of my own –

    Planet New York :: Empire State Building :: 360° Panorama

    Reykjavik, Iceland :: 360° Panorama



    • Forum Posts: 314
    • ★★★★

    thanks to karyn from garden gnome software, we now have Willy Kaemena‘s NYC 2012 “Flying Willy” presentation in our conference video preview archive

    enjoy ;)


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