Best Practices for 360° Videos
The Cupix Capture App offers the option of recording 360° videos using a 360° camera and uploading them to create digital twins of a jobsite. The CupixWorks algorithms is able to automatically select clear video frames and spatially align these images to quickly create a digital twin of the recorded location. By using the start and end locations set by the Capture App user, the video capture frames are automatically oriented and mapped to the reference plan when viewed in the web app.
Taking 360° videos differs from taking regular videos on your phone. This article discusses some general guidelines when recording 360° videos to ensure the best quality footage for creating digital twins.
Supported 360° Cameras
The following 360° cameras are compatible with the Cupix Capture App Video Mode.
Set up the Capture App
Prepare useful reference plans
When creating a project of the jobsite and uploading reference plans, make sure to add plans (ie: floor plans) that reflect the conditions of the jobsite. This helps the user who will walk and record the jobsite accurately mark their starting and ending locations.
Select the correct level and reference plan
Before beginning your capture, download the project template and select the corresponding level and reference plan you will be using for your capture. When moving between floors at the jobsite, make sure to change to the correct level and reference plan in the Capture App prior to recording.
The Cupix Capture App allows the user to record up to 90 seconds (1.5 minutes) of footage per video capture by default. For a longer video capture, the user will need to enable Expert Mode, which allows the user to record up to 7 minutes of footage per video capture.
Set up Jobsite
Prepare the jobsite
For the best results when using Video Mode to create digital twins, you will need to prepare the jobsite ahead of time. Turn on as many lights as possible, prop open doors to all rooms and corridors you will be capturing, and capture the jobsite when the least number of people are around. Check out our article on preparing the jobsite for more tips on what you can do before recording to ensure the success of your capture.
Ensure good lighting
As with all cameras, good lighting is highly important for image quality. Prior to starting your video capture, make sure to turn on as many lights as possible in the areas you will be recording.
For dim areas, make sure to bring portable light sources. Do not move these light sources while recording. The CupixWorks algorithm uses features within the video frames, including shadows, to spatially map each frame relative to each other. If the light source moves while recording, the changing shadows can confuse the algorithm and result in tours with incorrectly spaced frames. This means that the person performing the video capture should not use a lamp, flashlight, or any other light source as they walk through the jobsite recording the video.
It is also important to pay attention to the consistency of light intensity in different areas when using Video Mode. Moving from areas of high light intensity to low light (and vice versa) during a video capture can affect the accuracy of the algorithm when creating the digital twin. For this reason, we suggest performing separate video captures when moving between areas with drastically different light intensity, i.e.: from inside a building to outside.
Plan your capture path
Before creating a capture, familiarize yourself with the location and plan your capture path by walking through the jobsite with the reference plan you will use. Planning the capture path prior to recording ensures you won't forget to capture certain areas that are easy to overlook. This is especially important if you will be creating and comparing multiple digital twins of the same jobsite using captures taken on different dates. You do not want easy to forget areas like rooms or short hallways to be missing in the final capture.
Note that when capturing large spaces, make sure to walk back and forth across the area to fully capture the space. This can be achieved by walking in a raster or lawnmower pattern.
Taking the Video
Do not block the camera lens
When capturing an area using Video Mode, we strongly suggest using a helmet to camera adapter to mount the 360° camera to a construction hat, making sure that the camera lens is at least 6 inches away from the hard hat. If the camera lens is too close to the hard hat, any 360° photos and 360° videos will be visually dominated by the hat, which causes tracking and positioning algorithms to fail.
Another common mistake is blocking the camera lens with your hands during recording. Keep your hands at your sides while recording to prevent your hands, knuckles, or fingers from blocking the camera lens, which will also cause positioning algorithms to fail. This is why we highly recommend using a hard hat with camera mount.
If you must use a selfie stick or handheld mount to record your video, hold the mount so that the camera is above your head and not blocked by your face or body. Again, make sure that the camera lens is at least 6 inches from the top of your head and hands.
Walk slowly and steadily during the video capture to prevent blurriness in the video frames, which contributes to inaccurate processing of the digital twin. When turning, make sure to slow down and pivot before walking in the new direction. In areas with a large amount of detail per square ft. (i.e.: mechanical rooms, small closets, very narrow hallways), slow down or pause to ensure the best image quality in the final digital twin.
Keep your head steady at all times as well for the same reason. Avoid sudden movements of the head such as shaking, turning, or bobbing while recording. If you need to look in a different direction, turn your head slowly to avoid blurry video frames.
Make sure to also keep your head upright and facing forward while recording. Avoid tilting your head down or up (ie: looking at the floor or ceiling). Tilting your head will also tilt the camera, putting the base of the video frames (nadir) at an angle to the floor. For accurate digital twin results, the nadir of the 360° camera needs to be in the same direction as the floor.
Practice before the real capture
Prior to creating minute-long video captures of jobsites, we highly suggest disabling Expert Mode to practice recording a short video and uploading it the CupixWorks web app. By practicing before recording a large jobsite, you will familiarize yourself with the suitable walking speed as well as acceptable arm and head movements during capture. It is better to be prepared and understand the video capture process before recording an entire jobsite.