paul skidmore andparabolos

cinematic storytelling, strategy, and advice

location scouting with iPhone and AutoStitch

I learned how to do proper location scouting the old school way. I used to drive around with a flexfile full of blank forms in my car, just in case I came across a cool spot. also, I had my Canon EOS Rebel 35mm and some spare film.

old school

a survey of the location, checklist in hand, revealed potential parking, bathrooms, power outlets, etc. then I’d take a series of pictures from a couple of spots. later (after getting the prints back from one-hour photo), I’d scotch tape the photos together so they connected to form a panorama of some kind, then tape all the panoramas of the location into a legal-sized manilla folder. finally, I’d file it away in a cardboard box with my other locations, since I couldn’t afford a legal size filing cabinet.

ugh, just thinking about it reminds me of the Flintstones or something. one-hour photo? remember those?

new school

so how do I do it now? I just bought AutoStitch for iPhone (iTunes Store link). using my iPhone 4’s built-in camera and Camera app, I can take the overlapping pictures, just like I used to. in AutoStitch, I select the photos from one panoramic pass and the app stitches them together in literal seconds. this has been possible with Photoshop for some time, and though you will likely get better results with PS, AutoStitch does a pretty fantastic job, and the results are plenty good enough for location scouting.

once the panorama is rendered, you can crop it however you want and save the image out at full resolution to your Photo Library. from the Dropbox app, you can upload the panoramas directly to your locations folder for the rest of your crew to see immediately. no prints. no scotch tape. no folders. not even a one-hour wait. a day’s worked reduced to a few minutes.



below are some samples. the panorama jpgs are the final outputs from AutoStitch. in the zip files, you’ll find the individual files, if you’re interested in that. they were taken with my iPhone 4 with HDR on.

my parents’ kitchen

kitchen.zip (16 MB)

corporate coffee establishment

corporatecoffee.zip (14 MB)


skidmore | administrator

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