Playing round with Microsoft Photosynth

It doesn’t feel like that long ago that Microsoft’s Photosynth app showed up in the AppStore and I remember looking at it wondering how it got so many good reviews, I assumed it had to be something pretty incredible so I hit the download link and had a go at it. The first couple of times I played around with it, I managed to create some “OK” images with a little bit of distortion and overlap here and there. It wasn’t until I watched a video on TED.com about PhotoSynth that I decided to give it another go.

The problem with using the iPhone version is that the iPhone is used in the hand, as in my clumsy, shaky hands. That leaves too much room for movement that stops the software being able to understand perfectly what it’s looking at because the perception has changed. I therefore decided I would actually take my DSLR outside and try and take a panoramic picture of the river and bridge in Kingston. I used my tripod and tightened it all up to make sure there was minimal shake and downloaded the software for my PC in order to stitch the photos together ready to upload to PhotoSynth.net and utilise the silver light based browser. You can also tag the image onto it’s location on Bing maps and the place where you were standing’s view for the first part of the picture. This means that when someone goes onto Bing Maps and looks at the panorama you created they start where you were first stood (camera and tripod were facing).

Below we can see a PhotoSynth I made today of my room in halls and as you can see there are lots of imperfections. Particularly the bit where they sliced up my Welsh flag and the door is a bit mixed. This is obviously from me moving in the wrong way.

However when I used the tripod and the SLR the image is clearly better. I’m not sure whether the software is any better at doing it, in fact I’m pretty sure it works the exact same way but the SLR’s superior image quality and the rigid use of a tripod definitely created a better photo. The finished DSLR panorama was just over 146 megapixels however the quality seems to have been reduced for uploading purposes, on the original photo’s you can zoom in quite far and it still looks pretty good, I had the ISO on 100 to lower distortion and since using a tripod I didn’t have to worry too much about shutter speed as the camera was static.

It’s a fantastic little toy and it can have very powerful applications such as the ones shown in the TED lecture embedded above, if you have an iPhone give it a bash! It’s on the AppStore. I have absolutely no idea why it is yet to be released for Windows Phone 7 but that’s just the confusing side of Microsoft. Feel free to post your PhotoSynth’s in the comments, I’d love to have a look!

Welsh Rugby in London!

So the six nations are off to a roaring start, the Welsh are two games in and at the top of the league tables but since moving to London, I’ve missed out on watching the game in various pubs and rugby clubs with a mad atmosphere that makes the games so much more exciting to watch.

When the world cup was on I googled around a bit to find out about the Welsh Community in London and there was two prominent results among my research that suggested the London Welsh centre and the London Welsh Rugby Team’s grounds for watching the game.

I didn’t really get a chance to go to either of them during the World Cup as by the time I had got settled in here in Kingston there was not a lot of games left and they were all on at an unbelievable time, so I ended up just watching them in my room.

There was just one other place that was suggested on a website, I think it was something like TimeOut but it doesn’t really matter where I found it, the fact is I found it. A friend text me to go and watch the Wales vs. Scotland game last Saturday at the Famous Three Kings in West Kensington. This pub has a huge Welsh Community that all visit for the games and the pub was absolutely massive, rammed with Welsh fans and the atmosphere was brilliant.

There are loads of screens, a massive bar, beer is relatively standard in terms of pricing for London pubs(around £3.50) and they serve Brains if you want to drink a Welsh beer. The staff are all relatively friendly and welcome the Welsh Supporters and chant over the P.A system when ever Wales get points and generally keep the atmosphere going. It was such a great match it felt just like being in a pub in Cardiff and when we won everyone went mad. People all sang the national anthem at the start as well. So great to see a Welsh Community in London and knowing that whenever the rugby is on I don’t have to get a train back to Wales in order to get a good crowd to watch it with.

If your a Welsh Rugby fan definitely check out The Famous Three Kings in West Kensington. (nearest tube stop, West Kensington, District Line).