By now you’ve probably seen those interactive 360-degree, panorama photos on Facebook. But did you know you can create aerial panoramas for Facebook using your drone? It’s surprisingly easy.
1. Obtain a Drone
You’re going to need something to take those aerial photos. I suggest a Phantom quadcopter. Here are some options:
Also, a set of ND filters will get you better quality photos. It will prevent the images from being under or over exposed.
2. Download a Panorama Taking App
Download an app capable of automating the panorama taking process (however, it’s not difficult to take them manually). Litchi is a great app that works on almost all Phantom, Inspire, and Matrice drones. DronePan is another option, but is not compatible with as many quadcopters.
3. Take Pictures
- Open Litchi and connect to your drone. Fly to the height desired. I usually go around 300-400 feet.
- Click the menu to the top left and select Pano.
- Click the Pano Settings button in the bottom left of the screen.
- Set Type to Spherical 3 Rows.
- Set Photos per Row at 8 or greater.
- Press Start and give it a few minutes to capture all the photos.
- Import all of these images from your SD card to your computer.
You now have 2 ways to stitch your panorama, and give it the correct EXIF data (information that includes GPS coordinates, time, device, panorama info, etc.) to become an interactive panorama on Facebook: The Paid/Easy Way or The Free/More Work Way.
Paid/Easy Way with Autopano
4. Purchase and Download Autopano
Autopano Pro or Autopano Giga can be purchased here from Kolor. Either one will do the job. However, Autopano Pro is about $110, while Autopano Giga is about $220.
5. Let the Program Do the Work
- Import photos by clicking Select Images. Select each photo or click the first one, hold shift, and then click the last one to select them all. Click Open.
- (Optional) If you want to add a sky in Photoshop after stitching make sure to change the settings to produce a full 360 panorama. Otherwise, skip this step (It will still produce a working interactive panorama, but it will prevent the interactive view from going above a certain point where the sky stops. This is okay for most). Go to the menuEdit>Settings>Panorma. Change Default Crop from Clamp to Panorama Contentto Maximum Projection Range
- Click the Detect/stop all button at the bottom. It is a green button that looks like a play button. It will run for a minute or two, and then generate a stitched, flat panorama.
- Click the Render button (looks like a settings button). You can mess around with the export file, quality, and other things. I just leave mine at the default settings. Set your output folder and file name, and then hit Render.
- After a few minutes, you will receive your final panorama.
5. (Optional) Add a Sky
You can take this panorama into Photoshop and add a sky in. I will have a tutorial how to do this in my next article so be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an update when it comes out (on the side bar or at the bottom of the page). It’s not hard to do a very plain, one color sky. However, adding in a sky with clouds and different colors can be tricky since you are working with a distorted image. Photoshop will keep the EXIF data, but many other photo editing programs will clear this data out. You can purchase Photoshop here.
6. Upload to Facebook
Autopano automatically attaches the correct EXIF data that Facebook is able to recognize as a panorama. When you upload the photo (upload like you would any other normal photo), it will instantly become a fully interactive photo on Facebook. You’re Done!
For more awesome tutorials, check out TheHighTechHobbyist.