I have been using the Nodal Ninja pano head together with Hugin for quite a while now, but I found that I get really bogged down when I make panoramas on the larger side.. let's say the sizes I am considering are about 6-shots by 4-rows: large, but not exactly gigapixel-size. Additionally, I frequently use exposure bracketing so that is also. Since I typically have about 10 panoramic shots (each with about 20-30 photographs to stitch), I would prefer not to have to manually select control points.
Nodal Ninja allows me to more-or-less reliably set certain parameters: using the RD16 rotator gives me the ability to say that every photo is rotated by 15 degrees, plus/minus small error. While this is not huge, it at least suggests initial positions for photos.
Hugin has quite a few useful things: it can process photographs arranged in stacks, for example, helping out with exposure bracketing. It also offers multiple methods for generating control points, but my experience thus far was always that those points end up being in ridiculous places: in the middle of a featureless wall, for example. Manually I would select points to lie in corners of windows or other places where two high-contrast edges intersect. Additionally, I have never been able to use the fact that I have a good guess at the initial positioning of images, because the only way of entering this data is manually though a very difficult interface.
My questions are:
Is there any way to easily specify the initial photograph placement? Can this be subsequently used for improving automatic control point placement?
Which of the many methods available in Hugin should one use to generate control points? What custom parameters should be used?
Should any specific protocol be followed when stitching?