The 360° Virtual Reality Company

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Welcome to VPiX VR Bootcamp

Welcome to the VPiX VR Boot Camp.™ We’re glad you’re here and on behalf of everyone at VPiX and our five world wide offices… we’re thankful for your business.

As with traditional Boot Camps, we’ve taken the same approach to getting your skills up to speed, as quickly as possible. Within one weekend, you can master the basic skills to start producing your very own, jaw-dropping VR content with the VPiX Cloud.

VPiX® Colorado: Go ahead and look at the other training sections above, but please start here first. Learning the basics of VPiX is required so you won't get lost or frustrated by skipping this step and jumping ahead.
If this is your first time using a Nikon D7200, please click on the photo below and a list of Nikon D7200 videos will appear in a new window. These tutorials just cover the Nikon D7200 camera controls. When you are comfortable with the basic controls, you can come back here and pick up the VPiX training.
Go ahead and look at the other training sections above, but please start here first. Learning the basics of VPiX is required so you won't get lost or frustrated by skipping this step and jumping ahead.

Camera Set Up & 360° Lens

The first thing we have to do, is put together the Sigma 8mm f/ 3.5 lens and your Fanotec metal ring. This will always stay attached to your Sigma.

Overview of how your VPiX 360 Kit goes together

To attach the camera to the R10 rotator, you simply slide the camera/Sigma and Fanotec mount into the back of the rotator and stop at precisely at the 1.1 mark, then tighten down the bracket. You turn the camera 90 degrees for each shot and you rotate clockwise. The built-in detent stop will let you "feel" the natural click-stops for 0°, 90°, 180° and 270°.

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Putting the Sigma / Rings Together

Get the Sigma lens, your metal Fanotec ring and plastic ring. You need all three of these on a desk and in front of you. Take the black plastic ring, and look inside. There is a tiny UP arrow. This is important: Take the black plastic ring and attach the ring to the lower bottom of the Sigma. You will feel it "snap" into position.

Tip: For Canon Sigma owners, there is a small switch AF / M which means AF=Autofocus and M=Manual. You want to switch this to M for manual. The plastic ring will not cover up this AF/M switch. On Nikon Sigma lenses, you will not see this AF/M switch.

Take a small piece of clear tape and apply this to the plastic ring to hold this. It's normal there is a small gap here. Just tape it. Now, get the metal Fanotec ring.

Open up the ring by turning the cylinder a few revolutions. Give it several turns but do not turn it too many times the bolt comes out. Open it enough so that it can slide over the black plastic ring aleady on the Sigma lens. IMPORTANT: You must slide this metal ring from the BACK of the Sigma - NEVER the front of the lens as it will not fit.

Make sure the foot, or the L-shape of the metal ring faces TOWARD <-- the glass part of the Sigma lens. We do not want to put this on backwards. Once you have the metal Fanotec ring attached, turn the cylinder knob a few times so it is loose not tight on the black plastic ring. We will tighten this down after we attach the Sigma to your DSLR camera body.

Add plastic / metal ring to Sigma 8mm Lens
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Attach Lens to Camera, Leveling Head & Tripod

Tip: Take your Canon or Nikon camera body and now attach the Sigma lens (with the ring attached) to your camera body as shown above (1). If you have the L-shaped part of your Fanotec bracket facing toward the glass part of your Sigma lens, this will be simple to do. Remove the dust cover from your camera, line up the notches and rotate CLOCKWISE (2) until the lens CLICKS into position. Please do not force the lens into the camera and do this step very slowly and carefully so you do not damage the pins and connections.

Crop Sensor or Full Frame Cameras

If you have a crop sensor (APS-C) camera like the Nikon models D90, D300, D7100 or the Canon EOS 60D, 70D, or 7D -- then you will see a "cropped image" on the back of your camera as shown below.
Full frame cameras will show your Sigma 8mm image like this. Unlike the crop sensor camera body, you do not have to turn your camera on it's side. With full frame cameras, you can shoot your VPiX panoramas in the standard / horizontal camera position as shown below.
YouTube Video: How to Put Camera + R10 Together

Watch the above video to learn how to attach your Sigma lens / Camera to your R-1 Precision rotator. Below are the step-by-step directions we need to take:

(1) Attach Sigma 8mm (with metal ring on) to your Canon or Nikon DSLR camera.

(2) Open up the jaws on the R-1 rotator clamp and insert your Sigma lens/Camera.

(3) Slide the camera forward / backward so are at the 1.1 setting on the R-1 rotator.

(4) Tighten the jaw on the R-1 precision rotator.

(5) Make sure your camera is tilting toward ceiling @ 7.5°

(6) Face North, put tripod in front of you with camera

(7) Adjust the rotator to ZERO ( 0° ) on the rotator.

(8) Turn camera ON. Check your camera settings and take 4 shots ( 0°, 90°, 180°, 270° )

(9) Pick up tripod/camera, move to your next location and repeat step 8.

Your First Panorama. How to Shoot.

Tip: Your camera needs to be 1/2 the distance from the floor and ceiling. If you are working with standard 11-foot ceilings indoors, your camera should be about 5 to 5.5 feet from the floor.

Position the camera so you are shooting ZERO Degrees ( 0° ) and you start your first shot here. Then rotate CLOCK-WISE ninety degrees to the ( 90° ) position and take your next shot. Rotate to 180° and shoot your 3rd shot. Then rotate your camera to the 270° position and take your 4th (last) shot. Your camera needs to be in the highest resolution setting possible, and you need to set your camera to JPEG FINE.

NOTE: We will be changing these settings and technique when you move to HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography when we teach you bracketing. This will be covered after you master the basics.

Now Go Shoot Some VPiX Tours!
Practice, pratice, practice! Go shoot some VPiX tours and be sure to to shoot both indoor and outdoor panoramas. Light will change and you need to compensate your camera accordingly by adjusting your camera's shutter speed and sometimes your ISO can be faster by setting this to a higher number like 400 or 600. Remember, never change from F /8.0 and only calibrate the leveling head for shot (1.) Never recalibrate the photo level for shot 2, 3 or 4. Doing that may cause big problems in stitching.
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Camera Settings for Nikon

( A ) Turn this dial to M for Manual

( B ) and ( C ) Turn the dial ( B ) in front of the camera until you see F 8.0 on the ( C ) display.

D7100 / D7200

Understanding ISO and Shutter Speed

(A) ISO: 400, Shutter Speed: 2 Seconds. F / 8.0 -- Um... we can do better!
The ISO range is good. 200 - 400 is a good range for the D7100 for most conditions. F-Stop is set to 8, and this is good. However the amount of time the shutter was left open was bad, as anyone can see this shot is clearly OVER-exposed.
(B) ISO: 400, Shutter Speed: .5 Seconds. F / 8.0 -- Oh yeah. This is good.
Much better. The light on the ceiling fan is still a bit too harsh, but the rest of the room looks good. Until we get you into the VPiX Rockstar (Level 3 training) this is the kind of photo you want to aim for. Not too bright, not too dark.
(C) ISO: 400, Shutter Speed: 1/8 Second. F / 8.0 -- Tricky, but open up mid-tones.
The ceiling fan is perfect, however the mid-tones are a bit squashed. So in this instance we might want to try one exposure for .75 seconds or 1 second using the same ISO 400 setting. If we were to stitch this panorama above using these settings, we would have to open up the midtones and we'd use Photoshop's filter: Shadow / Highlights and use the default range.
(D) ISO: 400, Shutter Speed: 1/30 Second. F / 8.0 -- Yuk! Nope. This won't even stitch!
And this is what happens when your shutter speed is too fast. This means not enough light exposed the scene for a long enough time. The perfect shot would have been a shutter speed somewhere between 1/2 (Photo B) and 1/8th of a second (Photo C).
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