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Tutorial 1 - Placing the camera and viewpoint

In this tutorial we are going to examine some basic terminology and the initial steps in placing a shot.

Shots are planned on a Google Maps background with its usual controls, zoom in and out, scroll, etc. The maps also have the choice of Map, Satellite, Hybrid and Terrain views which can all be useful.

Every shot has two points: the camera position and the viewpoint. The former of these is self evident, it is the location where the camera is to be placed to take the shot. The latter defines the direction that the camera is facing from that location, and is also known as the 'view direction'. They are always connected by a grey line, which is useful when there is only one of them visible.

The icons showing the camera position and the viewpoint are known as 'markers'.

The camera marker is blue with a picture of a camera on it :
camera position marker
and the viewpoint marker is yellow with a picture of a river and some mountains :
view direction

Both these markers can be 'click and dragged' to position them precisely. Click and hold your mouse button on the marker you want to move, move the mouse to drag the marker to the point where you want it to be and then release the mouse button.

The default distance between the two markers is 3km. If you cannot see both markers on the map at the same time you can zoom out until you see them. The default placement for the viewpoint is directly to the North of the camera position. Once registered you can alter these default values, as well as the default start location on the map, zoom levels, etc.

The field of view of the shot, i.e. what will be seen on a photograph if the shutter release button is pressed, is shown by the two red lines moving out from the camera position marker. These lines are the same length as the distance between the two markers. If one of the markers is moved the field of view lines move to match the new angle and distance. As it isn't known what camera will be being used at this point, a field of view of 65 degrees is shown. If the user selects a zoom lens red and green lines are used to show the widest and narrowest possible fields of view, and orange lines show a user selected field of view between the two.

Let's look at how we would plan a shot to be taken on the top of the London Eye, looking across the Thames.

On the Plan page, enter London Eye in the Location box at the top of the default Where tab and click on Go.

The page will change to show the centre of London, with the Thames running from left to right, and the two markers overlaid on it. We know that we want to take our shot looking across the Thames, so click and drag the viewpoint marker and place it just across the river from the camera position marker.

The camera position marker is in the centre of the map. Zoom in using the slider or zoom buttons until the wheel of the Eye fills the screen. The camera position can now be seen to be off to the right of where we need it to be. Drag the camera position marker to the left until it is directly over one of the capsules at the top of the wheel.

Now zoom out again, and the viewpoint marker can be adjusted as desired to fine tune the direction in which the shot is to be taken. The landmarks that have the potential to be seen within the shot will be within the red field of view lines (they are only 'potentially' within the shot because some points will be obscured by the buildings in front of them).


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