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M200: 360 Panorama/ Thirdparty app support
786 21 2018-5-15
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BvdM
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Dear all,

Considering neither DJI GO 4.0 nor the DJI Pilot app supports pano/360 mode for the M200-series I was wondering if anyone is aware of a thirdparty app that does? It seems that very few (if any at all) thirdparty applications support the M200 series at this point, regardless of it being released a while back by now.

Cheers!
2018-5-15
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Keule
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Try Autopilot (IOS) Appstore
2018-5-15
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Matthew Dobrski
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Keule Posted at 2018-5-15 05:22
Try Autopilot (IOS) Appstore

Indeed the Autopilot seems to be the one and only app able to recognize and control M200 in Pano mode. Be prepared, however, for very steep learning curve ...PM me if you want to know more.
2018-5-15
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BvdM
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Following your advice I purchased Autopilot earlier today and just gave it a first run for its money. The output was okay but I'm far from convinced.

* There was significant variation in exposure, both between AND within different rows. Strangely enough the degree of (over) exposure did not strictly correlate with the camera's orientation with respect to the sun.

* I'm still unsure if and how to employ the Exposure Bands option under Advanced settings. It was set ON by default but it set positive EV values to upwards facing images (above the horizon) and negative values for images aimed towards the ground. I'd expect it should be set to the opposite, so to underexpose images aimed at the sun rather than overexpose. Right?

* Setting shot to HDR resulted in an error stating this was not supported. Is this a X4s or M200 issue, though?

Any tips or tricks are more than welcome!

2018-5-16
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YOYOMAN
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It sounds you set "Auto" in camera setting, right?

2018-5-16
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BvdM
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That's correct for the GO app indeed (from which I believe Autopilot borrows certain settings). EV values were varied across the different rows though.

Would non-auto yield better results? I ran several attempts using my Inspire Pro and Hangar 360 yesterday and got great output, regardlesa of everything being set to auto.

For what it's worth I also set a 2sec. interval between subsequent images to ensure stability and allow for more exposure adjustment. Would increasing this to the maximum of 5 sec. help, perhaps?
2018-5-16
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BvdM Posted at 2018-5-16 10:03
That's correct for the GO app indeed (from which I believe Autopilot borrows certain settings). EV values were varied across the different rows though.

Would non-auto yield better results? I ran several attempts using my Inspire Pro and Hangar 360 yesterday and got great output, regardlesa of everything being set to auto.

I don't use M200 for Pano.
But with my P4P I always set 'Manual'. I'm convainced it will help for your issue 1 & 2.

About Inspire,  you get a better dynamic range so it's easier for 'Auto' to find nice settings.
Also, retractable foot give to UAV a better precision, and doesn't move as much as M210 when yaw rotation.
About Autopilot setting, I can't help you since I don't use this app !
good luck !
2018-5-16
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BvdM
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Thanks! But as I said everything was already set to auto, but still then issues 1 and 2 occured. Will try again shortly under different illumination conditions.

I'd love to use our X5 for this project, for obvious reasons. But unfortunately our Inspire is limited to 50m AGL by law and we're required to shoot at 100m.
2018-5-16
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BvdM Posted at 2018-5-16 10:26
Thanks! But as I said everything was already set to auto, but still then issues 1 and 2 occured. Will try again shortly under different illumination conditions.

I'd love to use our X5 for this project, for obvious reasons. But unfortunately our Inspire is limited to 50m AGL by law and we're required to shoot at 100m.

sorry but I meant I always shoot in 'Manual' ....
2018-5-16
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BvdM
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Right, got it. But how exactly do you go about determining the correct settings and then fixing these? Go up to the desired altitude, looking into the direction of the sun, setting all parameters correctly and then fixing all including AE?

Unfortunately Autopilot does not allow camera setting adjustments in-flight or any in-app adjustments at all. Hence all parameters should be set prior to take-off or, alternatively, set in air in the GO app followed by closing GO, then opening of Autopilot and initiating the pano procedure.

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Matthew Dobrski
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BvdM Posted at 2018-5-16 12:28
Right, got it. But how exactly do you go about determining the correct settings and then fixing these? Go up to the desired altitude, looking into the direction of the sun, setting all parameters correctly and then fixing all including AE?

Unfortunately Autopilot does not allow camera setting adjustments in-flight or any in-app adjustments at all. Hence all parameters should be set prior to take-off or, alternatively, set in air in the GO app followed by closing GO, then opening of Autopilot and initiating the pano procedure.

This will be preferred procedure indeed. Myself I'm shooting pano sequence in Manual mode and RAW format, determining average shooting parameters and drone position during first flight with Go 4 app. However, such approach will consume precious battery power, therefore for actual panorama shooting I'm using second set. Reason? With 25mm lens I need around 70 images to cover a 360 sphere from approx 15 deg above horizon and everything below in over 10 minutes. With some time extra to reach the destination and come back home I'm usually landing with small but comfortable amount of power left.

RAW format is offering tremendous flexibility adjusting over and underexposed images in post, other aspects aside.

Let us know your hardware configuration, if you don't mind. What Matrice model is that? What camera are you shooting with? What RC you're using? What device?

I'm still polishing my skills shooting hi-res panorama with Zenmuse X5 and X5S gimbal. By far Autopilot is serving my Inspire 1 Pro and X5 camera fairly well, although it ignores gimbal yawing ability. As a result Inspire 1 is behaving like a Phantom. For obvious reason (fixed landing gear) M200 does exactly the same, but holds the position much better due to more advanced IMU/positioning system. This - for change - is providing much better imagery for further panorama stitching.

Said that, the main problem with Autopilot approach is ... first image of entire sequence. For reason beyond my understanding Autopilot doesn't start shooting from heading position. Instead it forces the drone to make turn 180 deg and start shooting from there. The momentum is way too abrupt. By the time gimbal returns to it's default center position and stabilize, first one or two pictures are already taken and usually misaligned with grid, sometimes leaving a gap in between. I'm still working on optimal shooting customization for M200, having some successfull panos done already.
Unfortunately Autopilot support is not too fast to come with advice and solution, if any.




2018-5-16
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BvdM
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Thanks a lot Matthew.

We are shooting with the M210-RTK, Zenmuse X4s, Cendence RC and an iPad Mini 4. Effective flighttime is about 16 minutes.

Hope to be able to have a go at manual today, although I'm still somewhat reluctant for that matter.

Am also thinking of setting an even higher settling time (3-4s) and very small row heights (10deg and column widths (20deg) so as to collect a significant amount of images (approx. 200). This should provide some flexibility in orde to remove some images that are over- or underexposed but still have plenty of images left go construct a panorama.
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Matthew Dobrski
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BvdM Posted at 2018-5-16 20:44
Thanks a lot Matthew.

We are shooting with the M210-RTK, Zenmuse X4s, Cendence RC and an iPad Mini 4. Effective flighttime is about 16 minutes.

You'll not be able to shoot 200 images with one pair of batteries, I'm afraid. Autopilot will calculate required time to execute such mission, I would bet it's no way. With X4S camera of a mere 8.8mm lens you'll need approx. 34 images, similar to what Phantom 4 Pro is offering with Go 4 app.  Go with slightly narrower columns to compensate for eventual misalignments in row, perhaps 45 images total. I have no idea why you have these discrepancies in exposition ... Autopilot is very CPU demanding, perhaps try  better device. I'm using iPad Air 2, working well most of the time.
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BvdM
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Matthew Dobrski Posted at 2018-5-16 22:47
You'll not be able to shoot 200 images with one pair of batteries, I'm afraid. Autopilot will calculate required time to execute such mission, I would bet it's no way. With X4S camera of a mere 8.8mm lens you'll need approx. 34 images, similar to what Phantom 4 Pro is offering with Go 4 app.  Go with slightly narrower columns to compensate for eventual misalignments in row, perhaps 45 images total. I have no idea why you have these discrepancies in exposition ... Autopilot is very CPU demanding, perhaps try  better device. I'm using iPad Air 2, working well most of the time.

You are correct indeed! The said 20dec column width and 10dec row height, in addition to a 5 sec Settling Time, would produce 218 images and a 40 minute flight.

Setting this to 30deg (column width) and 20deg (row height) instead yields 74 images and a 14 minute flight based on a 5sec Settling Time. I may be able to push down the column width a bit further down to 25deg and still make it within a single battery load and resulting in 86 images in total.

Concerning Exposure Bands, what would you recommend? Would only 1 band (at 0.0 EV) suffice, considering that the 5sec. Settling Time provides enough time for the camera to arrive at a correctly balanced exposure before each image is taken?

Or should I set it to the default of 3 Exposure Bands? And if so, how would I configure each of the bands? As I stated earlier it seems Autopilot suggests opposite EV values by default. Or, put differently, it inputs positive EV values/ over exposure for images taken upwards (towards the sun) and negative EV values/ under exposure for images taken downwards (towards the ground). I would believe this should be the opposite, right?
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Matthew Dobrski
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BvdM Posted at 2018-5-16 22:56
You are correct indeed! The said 20dec column width and 10dec row height, in addition to a 5 sec Settling Time, would produce 218 images and a 40 minute flight.

Setting this to 30deg (column width) and 20deg (row height) instead yields 74 images and a 14 minute flight based on a 5sec Settling Time. I may be able to push down the column width a bit further down to 25deg and still make it within a single battery load and resulting in 86 images in total.

Forget Exposure Bands. You'll need to set bracketed shots, tripling the amount of pictures to be taken and time needed. It's good for partial cylindrical panos, horizontal or vertical, if you wan't to be really picky.  Trust me, single RAW per shot is all you need for 360x180 pano. In any decent image processor you can get multiple outputs from single processed RAW image to produce any absurdly mangled image. One band is perfectly fine, but abandon the Auto Exposure idea. You'll get WB variations difficult to correct.

BTW, I think that default set of 3 bands for bracketed shots is wrongly determined with EV values indeed. Logic dictates mirrored settings, I believe as well.
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BvdM
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Matthew Dobrski Posted at 2018-5-16 23:30
Forget Exposure Bands. You'll need to set bracketed shots, tripling the amount of pictures to be taken and time needed. It's good for partial cylindrical panos, horizontal or vertical, if you wan't to be really picky.  Trust me, single RAW per shot is all you need for 360x180 pano. In any decent image processor you can get multiple outputs from single processed RAW image to produce any absurdly mangled image. One band is perfectly fine, but abandon the Auto Exposure idea. You'll get WB variations difficult to correct.

BTW, I think that default set of 3 bands for bracketed shots is wrongly determined with EV values indeed. Logic dictates mirrored settings, I believe as well.

I'd love to use HDR or AEB but, as I stated before, this is for some reason not (yet) supported in Autopilot for the M210-RTK/X4s combo. I just get an error and cannot initiate the pano capture, hence I am limited to Single shots.

I am not sure whether RAW is supported, but I assume I need to set this in the GO app first as there's no camera settings available in Autopilot. Right? Furthermore I have no prior experience shooting RAW images, nor with the processing thereof. Is there a way to import all RAW images in a piece of software and conduct some form of batch processing to arrive at a consistent exposure across all images? I reckon I could process each RAW image individually but this is a hefty task for this many images.
2018-5-17
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Matthew Dobrski
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BvdM Posted at 2018-5-17 00:33
I'd love to use HDR or AEB but, as I stated before, this is for some reason not (yet) supported in Autopilot for the M210-RTK/X4s combo. I just get an error and cannot initiate the pano capture, hence I am limited to Single shots.

I am not sure whether RAW is supported, but I assume I need to set this in the GO app first as there's no camera settings available in Autopilot. Right? Furthermore I have no prior experience shooting RAW images, nor with the processing thereof. Is there a way to import all RAW images in a piece of software and conduct some form of batch processing to arrive at a consistent exposure across all images? I reckon I could process each RAW image individually but this is a hefty task for this many images.

You have access to camera settings in Autopilot (in Flight Dashboard window, at the bottom of camera view), although exposure measuring is available only in DJI Go app-like view (optional under More dialog). I prefer to make all necessary settings in Go app first, Autopilot should accept them on launch. No problem with RAW. Naturally batch processing of RAW images is a must, and any decent software should be able to deliver such. I'm using Adobe Photoshop, pretty much a flagship in the world of digital photography editing. I'm sure there must be some simple dedicated RAW converter available if expensive Adobe Creative Cloud subscription is beyond consideration. After all with proper camera exposure settings you may get along with sequence of standard JPEG images, it's just a matter of experience. Finally even shooting in Auto mode should deliver acceptable material to stitch and perform minor color corrections inside stitching app. These nuances are of lesser importance for average quality panorama. Getting properly overlapping sequence of images, however, is critical for successful stitching.
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Matthew Dobrski
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BvdM, on a second thought ... if you have access to DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone you'll get pretty much identical results with way less hassle. Recent Go 4 app is equipped with nicely executed Pano mode for shooting 360x180 images and even stitching. With almost identical camera properties this feature will deliver 34 images for single panorama, stored in separate folder. Single battery allow to shoot at least 3 sequences with various camera settings or at different location/attitude, or a single one bracketed. That  is the most reliable solution as for now to get panoramic image of pretty decent size approx.200MP.
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BvdM
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We would use our P4P if we could, but we cannot. It faces the same issues as our Inspire Pro. Our M210-RTK is the single one UAS in our fleet that is cleared to operate at the required 300ft AGL. All our other birds are limited by law to operate no higher than 150ft and no further than 300ft from the RPIC.

Unfortunately Dutch UAS laws rank among the most strict regulations in the world and the investments required to comply therewith are excessive, hence the M210-RTK is the only option for now.

That being said, I ran another test today, taking 68 images in auto mode (it was seemingly set to Aperture priority yesterday, bummer) and got okay results. Exposure was decent for most images across the board, certainly better than yesterday's set. Strangely enough some of the images taken downwards (approx -65 deg) were very out of focus, while some others in the same row were razor sharp. Settling time was set to 5 sec, so it cannot be caused by the UAS moving during image capture. Perhaps it struggled with shooting JPGs & RAW simultaneously?

Will have another go again tomorrow and turn J+R off and only set JPG. Will also have a try by setting Manual Focus (@ infinity) rather than Auto Focus in the GO app to see if this gets rid of the focus issues.

Thanks for all the feedback thus far, much appreciated!
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Matthew Dobrski
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BvdM Posted at 2018-5-17 11:33
We would use our P4P if we could, but we cannot. It faces the same issues as our Inspire Pro. Our M210-RTK is the single one UAS in our fleet that is cleared to operate at the required 300ft AGL. All our other birds are limited by law to operate no higher than 150ft and no further than 300ft from the RPIC.

Unfortunately Dutch UAS laws rank among the most strict regulations in the world and the investments required to comply therewith are excessive, hence the M210-RTK is the only option for now.

I shot this panorama (as seen in Auto Pano Giga editor) today with my M200, standard RC and Autopilot on iPad Air2. Zenmuse X5S camera with 25mm lens, total 93 JPEG images in Manual mode + 3 sec "settle" time between each shot consumed 60% of battery capacity. Overkill in terms of images overlapping, but necessary to avoid the risk of occasional gaps between pictures in rows. The misalignments are caused by significant mass of Zenmuse gimbal, which requires more time to recenter after every yaw of the drone. Even 5 sec of maximum "settle" time allowed in sequence settings is not enough.

I discarded first row of 14 sky images above horizon line due to absolute lack of features, therefore impossible to stitch. That said, the stitch of remaining 79 pictures is of excellent quality, measured at 2.61 RMS, while average drone panorama will render with around 3.5. That is due to Matrice200 amazing ability to hold attitude and position steady (wind or not), critical to get good aerial panorama. No manual correcture was necessary whatsoever.
M200 stitch.jpg
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BvdM
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That looks very impressive and concistent indeed! With the camera set to manual, how do you exactly determine the optimal values for each parameter? At what altitude, and pointing in which direction (relative to the sun), do you define and fix your parameters? Assuming you determine this at the designated altitude while pointing in the direction of the sun, what should the exposure be like to suffice across the board?

I just had a closer look at the image set I captured yesterday and found that 11 out of 68 images were out of focus. Strikingly enough, most images being out-of-focus were taken facing towards the ground at approximately -60 degrees. Deleting these images and processing the pano again using only the remaining 57 images yielded the below results. I'm more than satisfied, especially if you consider that 6 out-of-focus images were taken right after another leaving a significant gap in the total image set.



I also managed to locate the camera settings in Autopilot, thanks for that! Unfortunately there does not seem to be a focus slider to set focus to infinity (which I hope helps to enhance focus). All there is is an option to set focus to Manual, Autofocus or Continuous Focus. Any idea whether setting Manual Focus and the slider to Infinity in the GO app will be succesfully transfered to Autopilot. Also, would Continuous Focus help in any way?
2018-5-18
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Matthew Dobrski
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BvdM Posted at 2018-5-18 00:38
That looks very impressive and concistent indeed! With the camera set to manual, how do you exactly determine the optimal values for each parameter? At what altitude, and pointing in which direction (relative to the sun), do you define and fix your parameters? Assuming you determine this at the designated altitude while pointing in the direction of the sun, what should the exposure be like to suffice across the board?

I just had a closer look at the image set I captured yesterday and found that 11 out of 68 images were out of focus. Strikingly enough, most images being out-of-focus were taken facing towards the ground at approximately -60 degrees. Deleting these images and processing the pano again using only the remaining 57 images yielded the below results. I'm more than satisfied, especially if you consider that 6 out-of-focus images were taken right after another leaving a significant gap in the total image set.

No, no Continuous Autofocus! That's probably why some of your shots were captured just when camera was trying to adjust. As for determining proper average shooting parameters ... well, my friend, this ability comes with experience on photography field. But I would recommend pointing your camera at - say - 45 deg down/90 deg away from sun and perform exposure metering with 5.6 aperture. This will set required average shutter speed for 100 ISO "film" sensitivity. A decent stitching software should be able to auto compensate for slightly over and underexposed images. For focusing, slightly longer tap on Autopilot camera view is required, but it works just fine. Said that, yes, if you do all your photo settings in Go 4 app, shut it down and open Autopilot to engage the mission, they'll remain unchanged until you re-boot the entire system.

I'm surprised that you've been able to stitch this pano after removing 11 images! I believe 68 images is about twice as what you really need with X4S lens, leaving a plenty of extras to compensate. Can you see actual layout of used images in stitching software? What software are you using?
BTW, I noticed that on "good morning" Autopilot is recognizing the connected aircraft as a Phantom 3 Pro. Closing the app and opening again reveals M200 properly ...
2018-5-18
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