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by evan-pak

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I have an experiment with the specimen 100m long and 3m wide. I would like to capture the the image of entire specimen (from top) for fixed time intervals to analyze the behavior with time using some image analysis techniques.

As I need very good precision and length is 100m, Is there any established method to capture the image of such a long specimens.

  1. I am thinking of having multiple cameras hanging on the top to capture the image.Can we control all the cameras to take picture at the same time and later combine them into one.
  2. Is there any camera device which moves and captures the entire photo by itself allowing some time lag. (some kind of panorama picture with automotion).
  3. Approximately how many cameras require for such a job.
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I like the scale of this question. I guess one answer would be to conduct the experiment next to a skyscraper or tower block, so you can put your camera on a tripod on the top floor and look down :) – laurencemadill Feb 21 '14 at 15:06
I like your imagination. Thanks. – user26249 Feb 24 '14 at 11:31
I guess you probably can't easily relocate an experiment of that size! :) – laurencemadill Feb 24 '14 at 12:02
Yes, you are right. It is very bulky setup.. – user26249 Feb 25 '14 at 6:57
up vote 8 down vote accepted

There's a limited amount of information on what the experiment actually is, so it's hard to give a full answer. If the question is updated with more detail I'll try to revise this answer.

1.I am thinking of having multiple cameras hanging on the top to capture the image. Can we control all the cameras to take picture at the same time and later combine them into one?

Yes, that's not a problem. There are even free applications such as Microsoft Image Composite Editor and Hugin. That said, depending on what your experiment is the Parallax Errors introduced could become a significant problem.

2.Is there any camera device which moves and captures the entire photo by itself allowing some time lag. (some kind of panorama picture with automation).

Yes, they are called Line Scan cameras, typically they're used in industrial control systems and they just take an image of a single line of pixels at a time and the camera moves over the length of the experiment.

You'd probably have to build the rig / mounting to make it cover your experiment.

You can also rig a normal camera, like a DSLR to a rig or dolly which can also be automated.

3.Approximately how many cameras require for such a job.

Anything from one upwards. For a 3D object you may want more cameras to give you perspective or create a stereoscopic image or for a fast moving object you may want more cameras to keep up with the action.

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Thanks for the answer, Line scan cameras seems to be better solution for my requirement. As the experiment in the planning stage, I am not able to provide with a pictures or etc to give more clarity. Basically, I would like to observe the flow phenomenon with time along the 100m length stationary object. – user26249 Feb 24 '14 at 11:28

Canon cameras are uniquely suitable and cost effective for such a task and I'll explain why. I believe Canon released some information regarding their firmware which has resulted in a couple of custom firmware projects for Canon cameras.
Most notable would be the "Canon Hack Development Kit" (CHDK)

It will add some very advanced and unique features to many inexpensive point-and-shoot Canon cameras, giving them advanced functionality that often surpasses that in the best Professional cameras. (This includes the ability to set batch scripting functions, which no other camera has, of which I am aware) Additionally, it also allows you to use the camera's USB port to build an inexpensive device to synchronize any number of cameras together so they are able to synchronize shots.

You could build a rig above the subject, affix an array of relatively inexpensive cameras to it, and synch the cameras to go off at the exact same time using the USB cable synchronization.

If it is not critical that the photos be taken at exactly the same moment, being synchronized with USB cables, you could use CHDK's scripting feature to take a "time lapse" photo, by telling the cameras to start taking photos every set interval starting at a certain time. So you can synchronize all camera's clocks, script it to start at a certain hour, and they will all start taking photos every X minutes/hours at roughly the same time for as long as you have specified. Of course you may want to provide an external power adapter for the cameras for long term usage and for consistent performance across all cameras.

Read up on CHDK in the link provided and it's features and you may be surprised with all you can do, and find additional applications.

Alternatively, you could setup a rig using one camera, in a fixed spot above the subject and take overlapping, multiple photos, and stitch them together as a panorama, then simply do some perspective correction. This would be the most cost-effective solution because it would only involve one camera in a fixed position, throughout the entire process.

In either case, you may need to "stitch" photos together. Hugin is an opensource and free program that is capable of a multitude of image processing techniques. Photo-stitching being one of it's main feature focus. You can find it here and read more in depth about it:

There is more to CHDK and Hugin than can be covered here, but they are both very powerful and if used effectively, I believe will be able to help you accomplish your goal.

Hope this helps!

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