You can use Reconstruct to generate 3D reality models (Point Clouds) of the indoor spaces of your projects from videos captured by 360 cameras. This unique feature enables our customers to avoid the cost, time, and effort needed to conduct laser scanning. Here is a quick comparison between Reconstruct's indoor point clouds and laser scanning to help you decide which works best for your specific needs.
Overall we recommend using Insta360 One R camera for capturing your indoor spaces. This camera provides the best quality for the point clouds and images. Here is a comparison of available 360 cameras for your reference.
360 Camera Stabilizers
Capturing videos while walking results in blurred images due to camera shake. Some of the available 360 cameras have internal image stabilization. However, even with internal image stabilization, it is highly recommended to use stabilizers (gimbals) to eliminate blurred video frames completely. Stabilizers can significantly improve the quality of the indoor point clouds. For this type of capture, it is recommended to use stabilizers that are designed for 360 cameras. Learn more about stabilizer here.
Once you purchase the right camera and stabilizer combination, your next step is to finalize your capture set up. Regardless of the type of 360 camera used for capture, users should follow the instructions below to ensure good capture quality:
One time setup steps
- Calibrate the in-camera gyroscope (some cameras do not have a gyroscope, just skip this step if you have one of those)
- Here is a link for a tutorial to calibrate the gyroscope of Insta360 One X/R:
- Set the video resolution to highest (for insta 360 it is 5.7k, for Garmin Virb it is 5.2k, and for Ricoh Theta it is 4k)
- Set the frame rate between 24-30 fps (Do not exceed 30 frames per second as this will not improve the capture quality but will result in larger video files and longer processing time)
- Every time you remove the battery from your camera, you should connect it to your smartphone or tablet to make sure that it has the correct date
- While the camera is recording, the indicator light will be flashing. Keep an eye out for that flashing light so you can notice if the camera stops recording for any reason (e.g. out of battery)
- Make sure that the camera is set to "Video" and that video mode is set to "Standard". Please DO NOT use "Bullet Time" mode.
Camera Mounting Methods
There are several ways to use 360 cameras in construction sites to take videos. They can be attached to selfie sticks, mono-pods, hardhats, or even handheld. Generally you want to always do the following:
- Keep the camera above your head: This is important to avoid obscuring large portions of the video with your body or hardhat.
- Maintain camera direction: We don't want the camera to rotate left and right. If you have a stabilizer, you can set it to cancel any rotation you do and it can keep the camera looking in the same direction regardless of any turn you make to the left or right. On the other hand, if you do not have a stabilizer, it is highly recommended to slow down whenever you are turning left or right.
Using selfie sticks
The camera can be mounted on a selfie stick to provide the ability to move it higher or further away from the person conducting the capture. This makes it easier to keep the camera above your head. In the case of higher-than-usual spaces, the selfie stick helps move the camera towards the center of the height.
Mounting the camera on a hardhat
360 cameras can also be mounted directly on a hardhat, using a standard go pro mount in addition to an adapter, as shown in the picture below. This could be more convenient than using a selfie stick, but it has it's own requirements. For example, you need to keep your head steady at all times. Any sudden head movements or shakes will cause blurry videos. If you want to look left of right, try to do it slowly to avoid causing any blurry frames in your video.
For small and short duration captures, users can also hold the camera directly with their hands. It is highly recommended to hold the camera above your head during the capture. This might cause arm fatigue very quickly.
If you are planning to capture an area with low light, it is highly recommended to add a light source to your camera setup. LED light sources provide adequate lighting and can last for a long time. Here is an example of an LED light that can be attached to a hard hat: https://www.illumagear.com/store/halos/halo.
Planning Capture Path
Your capture path should cover all the areas you want to include in the point cloud with a lot of overlap. Each video should complete a full loop (meaning that you should end the video at the same point where you started it. We recommend that you keep the video duration under 10 minutes. You can cover up to 15,000 SF area in 10 minutes. If your floor plans are larger than 15,000 SF, then you should consider splitting the capture into multiple videos. Here is a quick list of things to keep in mind:
- Try to ensure adequate lighting in all areas being captured
- Walk slowly and steadily (120 feet per minute)
- Linger at the start and end of the capture path, any dark areas, and around corners
- Walk along the perimeter of the space (3 feet from the wall)
- Spend more time in large spaces (Either by walking in a lawn mower or spiral pattern)
- Walk around obstacles
- Build redundancy into your path, for example walking in a loop such that you pass through most rooms twice
- Close the loop by ending the video at the same starting point if possible
Here is an example of a good capture path (in green) and a bad capture path (in yellow):