Z Cam S1 Stitching Software

Image of stitching graphic

The Z Cam s1 is a professional spherical 360 degree camera. I will be going over the entire stitching process using the stitching software included in the Z Cam S1 package.

Z Cam S1

The Z CAM S1 is a professional spherical 360 degree camera capable of recording video in 4K at 60 fps or 6K at 30 fps. In this article we will tell you how to get that video.

The Z CAM S1 is composed of 4 fully synchronized cameras. Each of them stores the video recorded on an SD memory card, so at the end of a recording, we get 4 different videos. To obtain the video in 360 degrees spherical, it is necessary tostitch these 4 videos in a single, in what we call, formed equirectangular.

Z Cam WonderStitch

To stitch the video of the Z CAM S1 you can use any product on the market, however, the best results will be obtained using the manufacturer’s own stitching software, called Z CAM WonderStitch . Unlike the vast majority of stitching programs, this program performs the stitching of images using an optical flow-based stitching procedure. This stitching is offline (not in real time) and takes place in two phases:

  • Creating equirectangular PNG images
  • Union of equirect PNG images in a video in .MOV format

First, the software creates each frame independently. This allows easier postproduction, since you can make modifications directly on each frame before converting it to video. In the elaboration of each equirectangular frame, each pixel of each frame is examined and it compares it with the pixels of the following ones, this is a task that requires great computing power, and in the case of the Z WonderStitch CAM, it is the processor of the equipment The one who is in charge of doing it.

Next, the compression of each of the equirectangular frames created in a single video file is performed.

Walkthrough for stitching video

To stitch the video, we must follow the following steps:

1. First create three directories (folders) on the computer where the 4 videos are to be stitched. In the first one will store the 4 videos obtained from the camera, in the second will store the PNG files with the frames in equirectangular and in the third will save the final video equirectangular.

Image of a folder directory workflow for stitching

2. Next, download from the SD cards, the 4 videos, in the previously created directory.

Image of z cam s1 360 camera folder structure for video files

3. Start the Z CAM Controller program.

Image of z cam s1 software called z cam controller

4. Click  Tools -> Z CAM WonderStitch .

Image of z cam s1 software package called z cam controller displaying options to user

4. Once the Z CAM WonderStitch program has been opened, from the Stitch to PNG tab , select:

4.1 Camera Type : S1

4.1 Camera Serial Number : [The serial number of our camera]

4.2 Image File Directory : [The directory where we have stored the 4 videos obtained from the camera]

4.3 Start Frame : [The first frame of the video. Usually it will be 0, but you can advance the number of frames to remove the initial parts of the video that we do not want to appear in the final video]

4.4 End Frame : [The last frame we want to appear in the final video]

Image of z1 cam s1 software called z cam wonderstitch example displaying each camera lens

If we keep going down with the scroll bar, we will see more configuration options:

4.5. Destinatio Directory : [Previously created destination directory]

4.6 Multi-Process : Selecting this option, the program will take full advantage of the CPU of the computer, creating as many processes as 4-color sets have the processor.

4.7 Input Resolution : [resolution to which the videos were recorded]

4.8 Output Resolution : [Resolution that will have the final video]

4.9 Brightness and HDR settings : [Enhance the brightness of the images and select which camera has the best value]

4.10 Output format : [to choose between spherical, cubicmap or both]

4.11 Smoothing settings between frames : [Extends the stitching process but improves the quality of the images, especially in high-motion and low-light videos]

4.12 Other adjustments

Once the configuration is complete, press Start.

As a result, the stitching program will begin to generate the frames and we can see them in the destination folder as independent PNG files.

z cam s1 software z cam wonderstitch example for stitching settings

The stitching program will begin to generate the frames and we can see them in the destination folder as independent PNG files.

Image of z cam s1 stitching panoramic images

Because the program has stitched all the frames we have specified, it will show us a message with the word Completed .

As a result, we can make all the changes of postproduction that we need.

Once these changes are finished, we will go to the PNG to Video tab .

In this tab we will select:

  • The directory where PNG files are previously generated
  • The final directory where the video will be created
  • The format of the resulting video file
  • The first frame of the resulting video
  • The last frame of the resulting video
  • The number of frames per second the final video will have
  • The quality of the final video
  • In case we want the final video to have sound, we select the camera from which we want the sound to be incorporated into the video.

Once the settings are selected, press Start .

Image of z cam s1 stitching software stitching and exporting a video

Finally, after the paste of the PNG files, we will have our 360 video in equirectangular format.

 

Originally posted at videpan