Setting up a 360 camera on your wing mirror using a gorilla pod and setting it to automatically take a photo every few seconds seems like the best way to catch some interesting self portraits while you ride. It’s a set up and forget system so you can just enjoy the ride. Afterwards you download what the camera caught and then frame the photos as you wish (the 360 picture lets you move the point of view around until you’ve framed something interesting). I’ve been trying to replicate the tiny planet view that the Ricoh Theta could do in its software on the Samsung Gear360. GoPro makes a little planet capable app that they give away for free, so I’ve been using that. Here is an example of a time lapse video tiny-planeted in the GoPro software:
The photos are screen grabs of time lapse scenes on the Samsung 360gear. They’ve all been worked over in Photoshop to give them a more abstract look. I’ve included the original photo to show variations:
Here’s the original photo.
Here is a posterized, simplified version.
Here it is with an oil paint filter and a lot of post processing.
Here is a tiny-world ‘wrapped’ image taken with the 360 degree camera. Below are some variations on it…
Below are some other 360 grabs – they’ll give you an idea of how you can select certain angles and moments and then crop a photo out of them pretty easily.
One of the few things the Samsung does well is make time lapse video fairly straightforward (I miss my Ricoh Theta). The software Samsung bundles with the gear360 only works with Samsung phones (which I don’t have). The desktop software won’t render 4k video at all (it ends up so blocked and pixelated from artifacts as to be almost useless). And when you’re first importing video it takes ages for the software to open a video for the first time. By comparison the Ricoh renders video almost instantly, has never had artifact problems when it renders and has never crashed on me (the Samsung software has crashed multiple times). If you’re patient and are ok with crappy results, go for the Samsung. Meanwhile, here’s what I could get out of the damned thing:
My 360 degree on-motorcycle photography experiment continues. The process has evolved over time from handheld, manually shot photos to automatic, bike mounted shots. I’ve tried half a dozen different cameras and mounts on locations all over the bike, most recently on the tail rack.
I’ve always wanted to be able to catch the front of the bike while in motion. Mounted to the windscreen the Ricoh Theta doesn’t quite reach. This time I purchased a 1/4 inch threaded rod and cut it to size (about a foot long) and used it to extend the camera out front of the bike. Double fastening the camera at one end and the tripod at the other with extra nuts meant I had no trouble with the rig moving.
The results speak for themselves…
Early shots are using the extension rig mounted on the upper windshield. It clears the camera from the fairing and gives clear shots of the whole machine and rider while in motion. The rig is stable and holds the camera for steady shots. It never budged on a variety of roads at various speeds.
From the windshield I moved the camera rig to the right rearview mirror. There was a bit of flex in the windshield with the rig attached, but none from the mirror. The shots were once again very stable and steady at a variety of speeds on a variety of different road conditions. This one is at about 80km.hr on a country back road. This angle still shows the front of the bike, but gives more of a 3/4 view of the back of the machine.
The distance further off the fairing means a wider view of corners. Even with energetic riding on the twisty bits the rig was problem free.
Further along I angled the rig up higher for a more top down view. The tripod ball joint that lets you easily angle it. If kept tight you can do this on the fly with ease.
One of the benefits of this on-bike camera rig is that it gives a good sense of speed and captures the intimacy of riding because the camera is doing everything the bike and rider are. Here I’m up to triple digits on a highway.
For the last angle I put the camera as far up and out to the side as I could angle it off the rearview mirror. This catches the whole side of the bike and rider well, as well as offering a good sight lines up and down the road.
That worked. All images are screen captures in the Ricoh imaging software cleaned up in Adobe Lightroom.
Barely above freezing, but the sky is clear and winter blue. The camera is a Ricoh Theta S on a Gorilla Pod wrapped around the rear view mirror, until it wasn’t. Without a hint of a problem it suddenly let go at 80km/hr as we rode down a country road. The tripod and camera slid down the pavement for 50 odd metres before coming to a stop. We turned around and went back to find the camera case popped open and electronics hanging out, I figured it was dead.
Once home I put the guts back in and snapped it shut again and it powered right up. All the photos on it were fine, only the plastic piece at the top shattered. It’s now covered in tape and looks like the tough little camera that it is. If you’re looking for a hardy 360 camera, the Ricoh Theta has survived thousands of miles on a motorcycle taking all sorts of photos and videos, and now it has hit the road at high speed, and it still keeps on ticking.
I’d kinda hoped that this nixed the Theta S so I could upgrade to the new Theta V. At this rate I’m going to have to drop this thing into the sun to kill it! #onetough360camera
I had the camera set to take a photo ever 10 seconds. I hoped that it happened to be taking one as it came off the mirror, but no luck. In the meantime, here are a selection of stills and 360 movable images from the Ricoh on the ride:
October 24th, 2014 there was a partial solar eclipse at sunset up our way. I was on the rear deck with the Olympus PEN EPL3 watching it go down. All shots with the long 300mm zoom lens.
Typical shot data looks like this: f/22 1/4000150 mm ISO1000 for the lower light shots and similar settings with wider aperture for the brighter shots – I’d rather everything stay sharp with as big an F stop as I can manage. No filter, believe it or not.