How to Make a 360 Photo with Your DJI Mavic Pro Drone

I think we can all agree that 360 photo’s look pretty cool, especially from the air. Unfortunately unless you’ve got a 360 camera and are then happy to mount this to your drone, taking one isn’t that simple.

I’d seen a couple and wanted to figure out how to do it myself with my existing equipment. My initial research all seemed to point to using an App called Litchi. Although the end result is good, it’s a relatively expensive App at £21.99. Being from Yorkshire I was sure I could figure out a way to make a 360 photo without having to buy anything new!

The good news is that this is possible, and it isn’t actually that complicated either. Below is a quick video of a 360 photo I created and shared on Facebook using this process.

So, firstly, what software do you need to have installed?

  1. The Dronepan App on your phone/tablet
  2. The usual DJI Go 4 App on your phone/tablet
  3. Install the Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) program on your PC
  4. Install the Faststone Image Viewer program on your PC

Then simply follow the instructions below. It sounds a lot more complex and long winded than it actually is. I just wanted to make the instructions as simple to follow as possible.

Using Your Drone to Take the Photo’s

  • Run the usual DJI Go 4 App and fly your drone to the position where you’d like to take a 360 photo from.
  • Run the Dronepan App.
  • Go to the settings menu (only required first time) and set the parameters as follows: Number of photos per row: 7, number of rows: 4.
  • Select the “play” button which takes around 3 minutes to take all the photos automatically. All the photos will be saved on SD as usual
  • Run the DJI Go 4 App again and land your drone.

Processing The Images to Make the 360 Photo

  • Copy the images off the drone’s SD card into a folder on your PC.
  • Run the MS ICE (Image Composite Editor) program.
  • Select “New panorama from images” > select all the images you took with the Dronepan App.
  • Make sure “simple panorama” and “auto detect” is selected.
  • Stitch > Make sure “spherical” and “auto orientation” is selected.
  • Crop > Select Autocrop.
  • Use “image completion” to fill in the sky.
  • Export > Make sure quality is set to 100 and Superb.
  • Hit “export to disk”.
  • Open in Faststone Image Viewer.
  • Change canvas size. Make the width, half whatever the height is.
  • Change image size. Change it to 10000 and width will change to 5000.
  • Save the image.
  • In file explorer, go to the file properties, details, down to camera and change camera maker to “RICOH” and camera model to “RICOH THETA S” and “ok”. This is so that Facebook recognises that the photo is a 360 photo rather than a panorama.

You now have a 360 photo ready for Facebook that can be uploaded in the usual way :)

Also, if you want to view the photo on your desktop rather than just within Facebook, you can do so. Download the Ricoh Theta desktop program (also free), drag your 360 photo into the App and browse it in full screen (including zoom in/out) on your PC.

Thanks

Richard