“Bad ass” new panoramic app released today (tips for using)

The Next Web did a great job of explaining what Occipital’s new Panoramic 360 app does (for iPhone 4, $.99 today only, already #3 on the app store) but I’ve had a few days with the app, so thought I’d add my two cents.

First, here’s some panoramic photos I’ve done with the Occipitalapp:

Outside, Pier 38
Jason Kincaid, inside Techcrunch’s offices
Inside the Half Moon Bay Ritz
Outside the Half Moon Bay Ritz
Along Highway 1
On the beach in Pacifica

Their blog covers why speed matters and how they are using the app.

Why is this “bad ass”? (That’s what Techcrunch’s Jason Kincaid said yesterday when I showed him the app). I recorded an audio clip to explain why this is so cool.


Basically, it is the easiest to use, and most immediate, of all the ways to make panoramic photos. I’ve used a bunch of others, but they all require you to take about 20 images, while spinning around, then using software to “stitch” together the images. This doesn’t always work very well and, while the new 360 Panoramic app, doesn’t always work perfectly — you can see seams in some of my images where I stopped and started — with the new app you get to see the results instantly and can try again, while with other apps you have to wait a minute or two while the processing works.

This is yet another example of how the mobile phone’s sensors are changing what’s possible and I hope we see more examples like this soon.

Some tips?

It works better in bright spaces, especially outdoors. Why? Because the camera can capture images faster which makes it more likely you’ll get a smooth panoramic capture.
2. Try to spin the camera, or yourself holding the camera, smoothly. If you don’t, sometimes images come out with weird jaggies.
3. Panoramic imaging works best if you spin the camera keeping the lens in the same place. I’m experimenting with putting my iPhone on a monopod to make it easier to smoothly spin the camera. Using a tripod probably will be best, to get smooth captures.

This has a lot of implications for real estate agents, by the way, who can use it indoors to capture rooms. Thanks Occipital for letting me try it early, appreciate that!