I recently started using the QooCam 8K – 360 camera (review to follow in the next few weeks) and it took me awhile to work out what the best workflow was (at least for me) to process my 360 images. In order to hopefully help some users, I thought I would share my specific workflow.
For those who are looking at the QooCam 8K, at this point in time (Feb 2021) I cant really recommend this camera, the image is unacceptably soft and more importantly the battery has started to swell requiring me to get in touch with support. I don’t believe I am the only person who has had issues with swelling batteries.
Disclaimer: This is the workflow that works best for me, your mileage may vary and it may not suit all use cases however, in my case it has worked fairly well.
The QooCam 8K outputs images in a range of different formats based on the settings you select in the camera, for me I have found using DNG offers the best flexibility. I alternate between DNG, DNG8 or SuperHDR depending on my needs (e.g. DNG8 and/or SuperHDR where there is not much movement in the scene and it may require some HDR treatment).
Once the images have been combined (I usually use the camera where possible to combined the images), i then copy these to my PC for editing. It is important to note that the editing (ideally) should be done before the images are converted using the QooCam Studio software.
In terms of my editing workflow, I have presented this as dotpoints (below);
- If I need to do any HDR work, I start off my putting my images through Skylum’s Aurora HDR package (although there are also 360 specific packages which have been recommended e.g. SNS-HDR)
- I then conduct more detailed editing using Skylum’s Luminar software (I am currently using version 4, and utilise AI Enhance, AI Sky Enhance, AI Structure and a few other edits). I then export the image as a high resolution JPEG for QooCam Studio (due to a limitation in the software although once this is fixed I will be exporting as TIFF)
- The exported image is then put into QooCam Studio and is converted to equirectangular format, I use colour correction, gravity correction and so on, and may occasionally need to change the roll, yaw or pitch depending on the image.
- Once the image is exported in equirectangular format, I then open the photo in Affinity Photo (a photoshop alternative). I do this to remove chromatic aberration using the filter, and if I appear in the image I also use the inpainting brush, or clone tool to remove myself from the image.
- The final step in editing my images is to feed the image through Topaz Sharpen AI. I use this program because it intelligently sharpens the parts of the image which can benefit from sharpening whilst leaving the already sharp parts of the photo alone. There are a few different modes that can be used, but I find generally either focus or Sharpen works best for me typically.
Once all of this is finished, its then time to upload. Depending on the site sometimes you may need to use an EXIF injector if the metadata has been removed so that the site knows that the image is in equirectangular format and is a 360 photo.
There are a heap of sites that your image can be uploaded to that support 360 photos, some of the most common however are;
I hope giving an idea of the workflow is helpful, any questions feel free to contact me on here os across on social media.