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Suppose I drive a car along a street and capturing a video with a camera, turned a side.

enter image description here

Suppose I traveled all the long street. And now I want to compose very wide still image of all captured buildings, like in the picture above.

How to do that?

There are photo stitching software, but this would usually require to take multiple pictures with slightly overlapping edges, which is hard to achieve in my setup.

Is it possible to have software, which I could feed with a video and receive described image?

  • The problem I see with the setup is the resolution and the motion blur you will have. But the part of the multiple pictures with overlaping edges is not a problem. That is what a video is. You can drop lets say 29/30 frames and you have a photo taken each second. My first step would be doing an video stabilization. – Rafael Jun 7 '15 at 13:01
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    You'd capture stills from the video at specific spots.. then stitch the stills together. Am I missing something? – Scott Jun 7 '15 at 17:38
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Let me answer your question from the start: No I don't think there's any existing software which you feed video video and receive a composed shot. But that's not a big deal, because: Doing this yourself isn't this hard. But, I would advise against it, because it's a bad idea and not very practical (and there's a better way). Extracting a clear still-shot from a video can be pretty tough. Try pausing any video you have on the computer. You probably have pixel areas that are "stuck" from the previous frame. Maybe, almost surely, a part of the video will be blurry. Because video looks good when it's playing, not when it's paused. So here's what you do instead:

You're going to need a DSLR camera, something to steady your camera while you shoot, and a car and a buddy to drive you around.

Take your DSLR and set it to manual mode. When setting your shutter, the faster the better. You'll probably want everything to be as clear as possible so it's essential that your shot is captured very fast. Fast shutter also means less light coming in so be sure to use a pretty wide lens and set your ISO accordingly. Of course, be sure to do this on a nice, sunny day to get the most out of the sunlight. Having a steady shot will be pretty important, but I wouldn't recommend resting the camera on the door because your camera will feel tiny vibrations and every bump the car takes and your shots may be blurry/uneven. Instead, set a small tripod or a big bag on yourself and rest the camera on it.

Then, it's just a matter of driving around at a relatively slow and steady speed and taking shots regulargly, making sure you overlap them sightly. Take more shots than you need, to be on the safe side. You'd much rather have to manually delete certain pictures that aren't necessary than to be missing a section of the street. To assemble the shots, apps like Photoshop can stitch the images with relative ease. Hopefully if you shoot steady enough, you will only have to manually crop/zoom a few images for your entire image.

  • Just to add a tip, you will generally want to overlap photographs by a 1/3 or 1/4 to get the best results. – AndrewH Jun 8 '15 at 19:47
  • Yes AndrewH, that sounds about right. I've only had photo-merge work badly a handful of times because I had "too much" overlap and it didn't understand which picture started where. This is easily fixed by opening one of the pictures and cropping out the "excess" overlap. – Benjamin Smith Jun 9 '15 at 14:34
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This is something that just requires a bit of work to get the final image you'd like. Honestly, I feel taking several sequential photos (ideally with a DSLR camera) and stitch them together with a photo editing software (Photoshop) would be the best route. The other poster mentioned some great ideas about using a car. If you'd prefer more control, instead of a car, use a tripod to take a few shots every 10 feet or so. This potentially allows you to be on the other side of the street to get greater depth of field — barring no trees or tall vehicles are in the way and you can go at your own pace.

There is merit to using carts or cars - film makers use cameras on tracks and vehicles. You can setup your camera/tripod on a wagon or cart and have a friend pull it. If you want to go solo, you can buy a tripod dolly for $30-40 on Amazon. The wheeled options have the added benefit of it being speedier than walking and repositioning the legs each time, but it's more likely your camera would be facing the exact same direction.

Software (not recommended)

The closest software I know of that resembles what you're asking is Photosynth by Microsoft — and really, at this time, this is more of gimmicky than anything with real artistic value.

You take many sequential photos and upload them to this service and it automatically stitches them together, but you can't view them all at the same time. It's more of an interactive view of many sequential photos in which you can embed on a website (like Google Street View but for panoramas).

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AutoStitch is a free program that can do this automatically.

You can extract the images from the video using ffmpeg -i input_video.mp4 -r 2 frames%03d.jpg and then run autostitch on the images in that folder.

I'd recommend going into the settings and choosing "height" as the option to set the size by or you might get a super small image.

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