Create Your Own Panning Stereoviews!

Create Your Own Panning Stereoviews!

To celebrate two years of The Stereoscopy Blog we’re going to have a play with StereoPhoto Maker and make a panning stereoview video; these work really well on wide landscape stereoviews and are ideal for use on smartphones and social media. I’m writing it step-by-step and as there are so many steps involved you may want to bring a picnic/sleeping blanket for this one!

The apps I’m using are StereoPhoto Maker Pro (SPM Pro) using Windows, which can be downloaded for free from this website, however you can use the standard StereoPhoto Maker. Please note if you’re using a Mac then Windows emulation software can be used, I use mine with WineBottler, but WineBottler doesn’t work with Catalina, sorry. Once I’ve processed it with SPM I then use Photoshop CC to render the video from the jpegs (see below). SPM is supposed to support ffmpeg.exe by downloading it and putting the ffmpeg in the SPM app folder and you render the video directly from it…. however, I haven’t managed to get this to work either yet. My Windows laptop is ancient though! You could also download the ffmpeg.exe for free and run it separately, I just prefer Photoshop CC and want to squeeze every penny out of my subscription. Please note that if you need to see the images in this post a bit bigger, please click on them.

First I made an aligned stereoview in a wide format, making sure it was in the ‘stereo window‘ using SPM; if you need any help with this please see this tutorial. If it’s already saved as a stereo image go to File – open the aligned stereoview in SPM:

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Go to ‘File – Slide Show List – Make/Edit a Slide Show List’:

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It is best to have the stereoview you want to work on in its own folder (if it’s not already) so click on the little New Folder icon at the top and create a folder and drop the wide and aligned stereoview into it:

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Click on the stereoview thumbnail and near the bottom of the options box, where it says ‘Slide Show List File’, write the name of a .txt document, whatever you want to call it, just make sure it ends in .txt. You can see I used serious amounts of imagination and called mine Stonehengeedit1.txt:

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Click on ‘Add All Files’ at the bottom and this will create your text document. Don’t leave this screen just yet though! Click on ‘Manual Edit’ to the right of your .txt file name and you’ll see a .txt document with a single line of text (mine opens in Notepad):

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Now you’re going to copy and paste this same line of text for each frame of movie you want. To make mine run smoothly with less jitters I make 1200 frames but obviously you can use less if you have little time because processing 1200 frames of a movie takes quite a bit of time and storage! Masuji Suto often uses 600 frames for example <3:

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Now you have your 1200 (or less) lines of text you must save it, so click on File and Save:

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Now quit out of the ‘Make Slide Show List’ screen by clicking on the cross or cancel.

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In SPM Pro click on ‘File – Slide Show List – Open Slide Show List’ (on standard SPM: ‘File – Open Slide Show List’):

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Click on your .txt file which you’ve made and press Open (I use mine in side-by-side, but this is where you can make it anaglyph if you want to using the ‘Stereo View Method’):

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Now you want to choose where you want your first frame to begin and I’m going to start the animation at the far left so click on ‘Edit – Crop – Free Cropping Option’:

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I want mine in the square format (you’ll see why later) so in the ‘Free Cropping Option’ screen I make sure the ‘keep Aspect-ratio’ box is ticked and the ‘Aspect-ratio X : Y’ is set to 1:1:

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Click OK and you’ll see the cropping tool lines have appeared, start by clicking the left mouse button where you want the top left corner to be and then keep the button held down:

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Then, keeping the mouse button held down, drag the square to where you want the bottom right corner to be:

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Release the mouse button and click inside the square to complete the crop:

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Now you have your first frame you need to record it in your text document. Again, go to ‘File – Slide Show List – Write Crop Info.’ This will have written the crop and alignment for the first frame:

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I’m going to animate the panning so it goes from left to right and back again so it’s a continuous loop – so we want the very right frame to be in the middle of the sequence of 1200 frames. To do this click on ‘View – Paging – Jump to Selected page…’:

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Type 600 and click OK if you’re using 1200 frames, or wherever the middle of your sequence is:

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And now we’re going to crop it on the far right for this middle frame (are you still awake? If so, sending you bonus points!). Once again go to ‘Edit – Crop – Free Cropping Option…’:

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The cropping tool lines have appeared again (so exciting!), start by clicking the left mouse button where you want the top right corner to be and then keep the button held down:

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Then keeping the mouse button held down drag the square to where you want the bottom left corner to be:

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Release the mouse button and click inside the square to complete the crop:

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We want to record this in the text document so, as before go to ‘File – Slide Show List – Write Crop Info.’ This will have written the crop and alignment for frame 600.

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Now we want to complete the panning loop by making the last frame the same as the first, back to the text document we go! Click on ‘File – Slide Show List – Make/Edit a Slide Show List..’:

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Near the bottom, to the right of your slide show list file click on ‘Manual Edit’:

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You’ll see the first line of text has extra cropping and alignment info so copy it and paste it as the last line of text (number 1200 on mine):

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And make sure you save it again ‘File – Save’:

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Now, wake up, there is a cool part now but it takes a while! We’re going to make the image frames for the movie. Click on ‘File – Multi Conversion from list….’:

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Click on your text document and it will list it in the ‘File Name box’. The settings I use for panning are: making sure nothing is selected in the ‘Output File Setting’ box options, select ‘Auto Crop after adjustment’ and Sharpen by 20 (that one is just my preference). I want to make my finished video so that it shows both cross- and parallel-view formats (here to please everyone!), so in the drop down list ‘Output File Type’ I select ‘Universal Freeview LR/RL’ which is towards the bottom. You can of course choose whichever format you prefer:

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Make an output folder especially for the image files it’s about to create by clicking on ‘Output Folder’ and either browse for an empty folder or write an extra \(folder name):

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Now click on ‘Convert Files’ and SPM will ask you if you reaaalllly want to, click Yes and get ready to…wait….:

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You can watch the progress as it creates a jpeg for each of your frames and as I want 1200, now is a very good time to make a cup of tea….(actually you could probably make a three course meal in this time):

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When it’s finished it will tell you ‘Result: Successful’, marvel at your rendering talent and then click on Exit:

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You can now have a look in the folder where you told SPM Pro to send all the images to and you’ll see an image for each frame. You can check through them to see that it’s worked:

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Now this is where I use Photoshop, but please use ffmpeg if it’s better for you. In Photoshop go to ‘File – Open’ and select the first jpeg image of your sequence and it’s really important that you make sure ‘Image Sequence’ in this screen is ticked:

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The next pop up to appear will ask you the frame rate, because I have 1200 I’m using 60 frames per second to make it run nice and smoothly:

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And now finally, after what feels like eternity you can see the fruits of your labour! Press play to see the magic happen!

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To save it as an mp4, which you can use in Instagram feed posts for example, click on ‘File – Export – Render Video’:

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Give your video a file name, make sure the file extension is .mp4. Sometimes Photoshop grumbles here if the file size is going to be enormous so you make need to reduce the size if necessary (just keep it to the same ratio as your video). I’m sticking with my 60 frames per second but you can change that too in this screen:

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And now is the time for your next cup of tea whilst it exports your video when you click on ‘Render’ (it shouldn’t take too long this time!):

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And if you’re still awake you definitely deserve a biscuit with your tea! And you can munch its sweet goodness whilst you watch the video we just made:

I hope you find this guide useful, this is how I make my panning stereo videos, but there are others way and other apps you can use. I will write one at some point especially for Macs, making them without SPM. I now hope to see more panning stereo videos appearing online, your homework tonight is to make your own and I will be giving marks, feedback and tell you how my methods are far superior (only joking, let’s leave that to the know-it-alls).

A big thank you again to Masuji Suto for creating the amazing SPM apps and making them freely available.

As always, remember to have fun!

Copyright © The Stereoscopy Blog. All rights reserved.

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