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WebAPI X

RICOH THETA X Development Top 10 Tips

With a new LCD screen and higher resolution images and video, the new RICOH THETA X is a fantastic camera for businesses in real estate, construction, used car sales and many more companies benefiting from the industry-leading RICOH THETA camera line. Although the APIs are largely the same as the previous RICOH THETA V and Z1 models, there are some differences to be aware of that can speed up your development process. Here’s our top 10 tips to get you started.

Tip 1: set _cameraControlSource to app

The LCD produces heat. Make sure your custom mobile app turns off the LCD screen on the camera. Setting the option _cameraControlSource to app will turn off the TFT LCD screen, reduce camera heat and improve app reliability. This step is highly recommended and is new with the RICOH THETA X.

RICOH THETA X LCD screen during development
LCD screen on RICOH THETA X when a mobile app is controlling the camera.

Tip 2: Put the RICOH THETA X into timeShift mode by first setting _shootingMethod to timeShift

RICOH THETA X _shootingMethod must be set to timeShift prior to running startCapture

This is a new step for the X that is needed in addition to setting _mode to “timeShift” when you run startCapture.

Example:

{ "name": "camera.setOptions", "parameters": { "options": { "_shootingMethod":"timeShift" } }

See the blog post Set timeShift API for THETA X for more details.

Tip 3: Adjust the video file size and quality with the _bitrate option

The Z1 only had “Fine” and “Normal” bitrate settings for the video. The THETA X adds “Economy” to make a smaller file size at the tradeoff of decreased video frame quality. You may notice more noise or artifacts in low light conditions.

ricoh theta x 25 min video test
8K 2fps video set to Fine bitrate – roughly 32Mbps bitrate

Tip 4: Set image to 11K

The Default is 5.5K. It can be adjusted in fileFormat.

Tip 5: Set video to 5.7K 30fps

The default is 4K 30fps. The video resolution is also set in fileFormat.

Tip 6: Adjust framerate for video frame extraction based on speed of camera travel – walking, bicycle or car

For video frame extraction to something similar to Street View, set video to

  • 8K 2fps if walking (under 5mph or 8kmh)
  • 8K 5fps if on a bicycle (under 30mph or 45kmh)
  • 8K 10fps if in a car (under 45mph or 70kmh)

For frame extraction, record 2 minutes of video.

Reference: Tips for capture 360 videos for Street View

Tip 7: Use _gpsTagRecording to get the GPS coordinates directly from the camera

The THETA X is the first THETA model to have built-in GPS. Previous models used only gpsInfo to set and read GPS metadata in the media files. You can use ExifTool to inspect the metadata on your development workstation.

THETA X in-camera GPS testing

Tip 8: Instruct staff to wait 2 seconds before moving the camera

There is a slight delay between the time the shutter button on the X is pressed and the activation of the shutter. This appears to be less than a second. We haven’t measured it, but it feels like the delay is around 500ms. If the camera is moved too quickly, it may result in a blurred image.

Tip 9: Use built-in AI to automatically center images

The THETA X comes with two new features to automatically identify and then center either a face or a major object. The centering is handled with metadata, so the viewer will need to read in the metadata and center the image. The _faceDetect option will identify a face and center the picture around the face. _aiAutoThumbnail will identify a major object.

Scene from shooting where cat statue would normally be at the edge of the picture

In the picture below, notice that the cat statue was automatically centered.

Automatic centering of main image with AI object detection and metadata insertion

Tip 10: Use continuousShooting mode up to 8 pictures at 11K or 20 pictures at 5.5K

This mode is similar to burst shooting and will take multiple pictures in a few seconds. The number of shots to take is set with the continuousNumber option, which is new for the THETA X. To put the camera into continuous shooting mode, specify “continuous” in the _mode parameter for startCapture.

Bonus Tip: Set a 1 second delay after setting options and before triggering the shutter

If your app is showing unexpected behavior, you may need to insert a small delay between commands. In particular, if you have an algorithm that sets the camera options prior to taking an image or video, considering adding a 1 second delay before triggering the shutter.

Next Steps

There are more tools, sample media, and tests at the THETA X developer community guide portal.

Start the discussion at community.theta360.guide