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  • in reply to: Help and advice #27962

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    Re: infrequent posts here, most people prefer to use Facebook. When this site was created there wasn’t much there. Now there is.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

    in reply to: Help and advice #27960

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    Regarding manual vs autofocus, I set my lens to manual and have the focus taped to just short of infinity. At f8/f10 that gives me everything in focus from 1-2 feet to infinity. (Testing for the exact hyperfocal point is part of my lens alignment process.)

    Why not use autofocus? You don’t want the focus to change while rotating. That will cause problems.

    BTW, I would never trust any lens and pano head combination to be properly aligned without testing. Every photographer I have worked with who hasn’t done a proper alignment process has been out of alignment causing untold hours fixing things when processing. It may not matter if everything is far away or the scene is simple but if you have a more complex mixture of near and far elements you are begging for trouble if you skip the alignment process. At worst you will just confirm that the alignment was correct all along.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

    in reply to: Help and advice #27955

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    Hi Ron – a couple of things seem to be going on here. If by “calibrate the lens” you mean NPP aligning, you should do that at the aperture you most likely would shoot at. I find f8 or f10 are the best overall. NPP (and other lex characteristics) shift with aperture. F22 will cause all kinds of calibration problems. If you have a question about the sharpness of the lens in use I would send an example image to Sigma shot at your working aperture. It doesn’t sound like you did that. If not, give that a shot. If the image the lens produces at the working aperture is still soft, you will have a much stronger case for having Sigma do something.

    That said, I think you will get overall better results from a little longer fisheye lens. The final resolution will be higher. Consider the 12mm lenses from Rokinon or Samyang, which are designed for full-frame. The Nikon 10.5 really isn’t although lots of people use it on full-frame cameras. Read reviews and test for yourself before buying if possible.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

    in reply to: Help and advice #27940

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    I work with a couple of photographers using a Sigma 8mm on a full-frame Nikon DSLR. The results are quite useable, although for my personal work I like something better. I use an 8-15mm fisheye zoom at 12mm. That gives me the maximum coverage while allowing four-around panos with the greatest resolution. This is my fourth or fifth fisheye lens, each more expensive than the last, each delivering better results than the last. For me, the results are well worth the cost.

    Back to your issue. Open an image at 100%. Does it seem reasonably sharp? If not, have you applied any sharpening in processing? In Lightroom, I generally have sharpening set at 60 with a bit of unsharp masking. If the image is noticeably less sharp than images from other lenses you may have a bad lens. You may want to get a better or different lens. If possible, go to a camera store and test a few. Many people love the Nikor 10.5mm fisheye. On a full-frame camera, you will have to shave off the lens shade. That freaks some people out but I’ve done it — carefully — and it worked fine.

    I hope that helps a little.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

    in reply to: 2022 Elections | Know Your Candidates #27623

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    1) Background: I am a past board member (two terms) where I led the patent troll battle. See my candidate statement for more details about that.

    I’ve been involved with VR photography for more than 20 years, starting as an exploration but making up the lion’s share of my work for the last decade or so. I especially enjoy pushing VR experience boundaries, developing new capabilities which involves a fair amount of custom programming. See Tour de Force 360VR for examples of my work.

    Commercial advertising still photography makes up the majority of my career dating back to the ’70s where, while in high school, I was a staff photographer for a small daily newspaper. National magazine and corporate work began while in college and grew to a studio with several employees doing national magazine, corporate and advertising work by the late 80s. I’ve won numerous regional, national and international awards for my photography. See examples and read more of my still photo background at Scott Witte Photography.

    I served as a board member for the Midwest chapter of Advertising Photographers of American (APA) for decades filling all board positions including president for several terms. I also served on the national board of APA. Upshot: I have a fair amount of board experience.

    2) How did I discover immersive media?: It must have been the late 90s that I first encounter VR imagery — QuickTime VR. I was fascinated and began experimenting. A primary objective of my still photography was to share an experience with those who viewed my images. VR lets them step into the scene themselves for a greatly enhanced experience.

    The introduction of Flash Panorama Player allowed me to take full control of the VR experience presentation to the point where I was ready to make it part of my commercial offerings.

    3) What are my BoD goals?: First and foremost I want to help restore the civility and professionalism that IVRPA knew when I was last on the board and continued until a few years ago. The community rift must be healed. I consider people on both sides of that rift to be my friends. I want to help bring us all back together. I have no illusion that that will be easy.

    A big part of accomplishing that healing is to return transparency to the board. That means up-to-date minutes and all financial reports, and a clearing of the backlog that is roughly a year old. Some have called it a coverup. But it may simply be having nobody spending the time to complete and post those reports. Moving forward, transparency is critical and I will lend my hand to make it happen.

    IVRPA must move into the future exploring ways to make it more relevant and useful to members. Small thing, but even our name is outdated. It’s an XR, not just VR profession we engage in. We should be a cutting edge educational resource, something beyond what is available on YouTube. I don’t have all the answers but we, as a community working together, can develop that vision.

    Where does IVRPA fit into the current offering of industry associations? I believe it is to serve the VR/XR creatives, not a narrow industry group like medical or training, and not the BIG business of XR such as the VRARA serves. Obviously we won’t ignore any of those areas and more but our focus should be on those who create regardless of where they stand in their career or what narrow interest they may work in.

    BTW, what I am hearing about the Moab conference is quite exciting on the education front. And speaking from experience, that region is chock full of unbelievable VR/XR subject matter. If you can make it you will not be disappointed. IMO.

    So yeah. I am asking for your vote so I can more directly help IVRPA move forward. I will be in it for the members and our profession, not just to add “IVRPA board member” to my credentials.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

    in reply to: IVRPA Project to fight the 6,754, 400 Patent #24875

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    Apologies for not seeing this earlier. Kinda busy with other things. I gave a fairly lengthy reply on the Facebook forum, but let me summarize and extend here.

    We won, totally and several times on appeal, in getting the patent canceled. But the patent holder apparently has unlimited opportunities to appeal each decision buy rewriting the claims. Those rewrites had to be based on the original description but often they stretched the point. Read the notes of the meetings and it is clear the examiner didn’t really understand the subject or concepts well enough to make fully informed decisions and the patent lawyer made every attempt to obfuscate matters to the point that the claims became impossible to really understand.

    This next part is my opinion: I believe the examiner realized that there was no getting rid of this patent troll so since there were no negative consequences to him he finally relented and OK’d the patent on the narrowest and flimsiest of ground. I expect he figured, “Let the courts sort this out or let them come back with an inter partes challenge but I’m done with this!”

    We could only afford an ex parte challenge ($20,000) where we made our case in writing and that was all we could do but the patent owner can make their case in person and make as many appeals as they want. An Inter partes challenge would have allowed us a seat at the table and I am sure we could have prevailed. We could have easily called bullshit and held everyone accountable. Unfortunately, that would have cost us $300,000 minimum. You see the problem. And why couldn’t we get the big players to help? Because everybody knew the patent could never stand up in court and trying to do so would have cost the patent owner real money. The big players were safe.

    Where does it stand now? In a recent suit, the judge ruled that a patent infringement suit had to be filed and prosecuted in a state where the alleged infringer had a physical presence. The patent’s lawyer could only practice in New York and Deleware, as I recall. So, if you were outside those states the patent owner now incurred actual costs to prosecute. At that point, from what I understand, the patent lawyer no longer considered it worth his while to pursue further claims against supposed infringers. The listed patent owner started sending demand notices himself to anyone he could find, hoping to scare some into paying a license fee. But in the end, there were no teeth behind the threat.

    For what it is worth, our lawyer said we got extraordinary results from our patent challenge. Unfortunately, the other side had a lawyer who was himself a former patent examiner, who knew how to game the system. Since he had a personal stake in the outcome it didn’t cost the patent owner anything to keep fighting the patent examiner. So the examiner finally gave in. (IMHO).

    Unless there have been further developments I am not aware of, I think this issue is effectively resolved with very few exceptions.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com


    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    Quick note: I just found out that in the final version of the patent, (B2), “images per second” no longer appears in the claims or description. The final version was issued after my involvement ended in 2013.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com


    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    Apologies for not chiming in sooner. I’ve had a lot going on.

    I must preface this by saying that I am not a lawyer and nobody should depend on anything I say below. What I say is only my opinion or represents my understanding of the facts, which is several years old.

    First, I couldn’t blame anyone getting a letter like this for simply ignoring it as a seemingly obvious scam. Sure could look like it. I’m not sure when you would need to take it seriously. Certainly, if you receive an official complaint, a legal filing with the court, with actual papers delivered to you, you would have to. Filing such a complaint costs roughly $400, so I don’t know how worthwhile it is to them when dealing with a really small entity like an individual photographer.

    Nonetheless, if they take it that far you could be faced with working something out with them or fighting them in court, which would likely cost hundred’s of thousands of dollars. If you ignore the complaint there will be an automatic judgment against you. Even if you can successfully defend against it, the complainant can simply walk away with no consequences while you are still out all that money (in America, at least). They obviously expect you to cut your losses and make a deal. Some people have called this legal extortion.

    Some Background… and this is super-simplified: IVRPA sponsored a reexamination of the ‘400 patent. We could only afford to do this as an “ex-parte” reexamination, which meant we made our argument, once, “on paper” but had no right to argue in person. That would have cost at least 10 times as much, a minimum of $150,000 at the time. We were amazingly successful. Every single claim of the patent was struck down. But the patent owner has the right to argue their case in person, which they did. All claims remained struck down. Then the patent owner had the right to rewrite the claims to make them patentable, as long as the rewrite was based on the patent description. They did that and it was still struck down. So they did it again and again. Each time the claims became less clear and where drawn in ways that weren’t allowed, IMO. (Again, I am NOT a lawyer so take that for what it is worth.) And there seemed to be no end to how many times they could attempt to rewrite the claims.

    In my opinion, based on reading the transcripts, I suspect the examiner essentially threw up his hands and essentially said, “Fine. I will grant the patent on some very limited grounds. Now go away. We have lots of other projects we need to get to.” They may have been thinking, “Let the courts sort this out. We are done with it.”

    The limited patentability came from the use of “frames per second” although that seemed to get translated into images per second, and on the use of “vectors.” To me, neither are patentable for so many reasons that I won’t go into here. I personally feel certain that if litigated to the end, instead of settling beforehand, the patent would be struck down, either at the patent office or in court. But that would take a good $300,000 or more.

    In the email, TTS states,”…virtual tour using a geometric projection which keeps straight lines straight during up-and-down and left and right changes in the direction of virtual view. This technology is covered by United States Patent Number 6,754,400…” By my understanding, this is not an enforceable part of the patent, but it sounds good and technical. (The method that “keeps lines straight” is simple geometry and TTS is using the exact same method covered by the Quicktime patent, which was part of the original reexamination. Further, it is just math, and math cannot be patented, by my understanding.)

    So what to do? I suppose you could make it enough of a hassle for them that they move on to the next mark. That is something of a dice roll. What confuses me is that Handel, the lawyer representing TTS, who I suspect has a majority financial interest in the patent, is a high-end IP lawyer, who has won patent infringement cases with millions of dollars in settlement. So why is he slumming around trying to shake down a bunch of individual photographers??

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)