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Hacking Full-size Camera Panoramas to Work in Facebook: Page 2 of 5

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
July 16, 2016 - 9:00am

Hacking a Non-smartphone Panorama to Work in Facebook

I'll try to figure out what metadata Facebook is looking for. Again I'm writing this “real-time” as I try things out. After each change, I'll duplicate the file and continue to the next test. If I do succeed, I'll then try doing only that final step to see if that does the trick. Depending on how long this takes, I may or may not go back and figure out what really is and isn't needed :-)

1 Camera make & model

The easiest thing to change (if you have the tools) is the camera make and model. I am using an app called Exif Editor, available on the Mac App Store. There are many other tools out there as well.

Exif Editor allow you to change the EXIF data on your photos, such as camera make and model

The screenshot of Exif Editor above shows my Lightroom-created image, and you can see under the Camera section that I've changed the Make and Camera Model Name to “Apple” and “iPhone 6 Plus”, respectively. On the left of the screenshot you see thumbnails; the top one is an original iPhone panoramic, so I just copy and pasted the Make and Model info from that file into the other. Once you've updated the metadata, you click Process to save it.

Next step is of course to transfer the file to my iPhone. I'm using PhotoSync as I find it much more reliable than Airdrop.

RESULT: Unfortunately, this didn't work. You can see in the screenshot below that the globe icon is missing, meaning the file would load into Facebook as a regular ultra-wide shot. Figures it wouldn't be this easy!

The photo is no longer recognized by Facebook as a panoramic

2 Change the rest of the EXIF

May as well change the rest of the EXIF data before going any further, but I don't expect this to help. I went through and copy/pasted, cleared or changed the drop down on every single EXIF field to match the iPhone file, except the image width and height, which was actually empty on my panoramic, so I manually entered the correct data. Incidentally, the resolution (dpi) was the same on both files already (72). Also my Lightroom file doesn't have GPS data, and so I left that out as well. I figure there's no way that can be required. Finally there were additional created and modified dates in the Lightroom file that I couldn't alter in the EXIF editor.

RESULT: No joy, as expected.

3 Change the file name

Huh… should have thought of this sooner. If changing the name from my long name of “Tbilisi-20160628_183610-_1060064-©JosephLinaschke2016-Pano.jpg” to “IMG_9999.JPG” is all it takes, I'm gonna feel silly…

RESULT: Nope.

4 Change the file dimensions

The vertical resolution of iPhone panos is not a constant, so there isn't a precise height that would need to match. I checked the width and height of several iPhone panoramic photos and found little consistency. The raw data is below (sorted by height), and you'll see that the only repeating factor was a height of 2,936 pixels that showed up twice, and 3,084 pixels that showed up three times. Otherwise, height varied from 2,936 to 3,170… width varied from 8,310 to 13,632 (obviously determined by how widely you sweep the camera when shooting the pano)… the megapixel count ranged from 24.9 MP up to 42.0 MP… and the file size in MB ranged from 5.3 MB to 12.2 MB.

Raw data from a bunch of original iPhone panoramic photos, sorted by Height

So the next step is to reduce the height to one of these. My original file is 29,919 × 4,582. If I reduce the height to 3,170 (the max height noted above), then the width on my file goes to 20,699 — still considerably wider the the widest original iPhone pano. I just shot an iPhone pano at its maximum width (panning the iPhone until it stopped recording the panoramic on its own) and that came to 13,630 pixels wide (similar to the widest one above). So if the height reduction doesn't fix it, I'll try a width reduction too.

RESULT: Nope — reducing the height wasn't the ticket.

Now to adjust the width to 13,632, making the height 2,088.

RESULT: No! Grrr…

5 Crop the image

Perhaps the image is too wide. I know there's a 100˚ minimum, but… no that can't be it, because you can do full 360˚ panos on phones that shoot those (the iPhone does not, at least not natively). Hm, well I'll try it anyway. I'm backup up to before I scaled the image, and will crop and scale to exactly 13,632 × 3,082 since that's a known working size from the iPhone.

Cropping the photo in Photoshop to match the largest iPhone panoramic photo’s dimensions precisely

RESULT: YES! This worked!

Success! The telltale globe icon has shown up in the Facebook post editor.

Tags:
Panoramic
Level:
Advanced
App:
Adobe Lightroom Classic Adobe Photoshop Exif Editor Facebook PhotoSync
Platform:
macOS iOS Android Windows
Author:
Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert

Thanks for getting to the bottom of this. I recently uploaded a LR Panorama to Facebook and wondered why it didn’t display as a Panorama. Now I have the answer.

Incidentally, I read all the way through. On page 4 of 5 I thought I found a typo (“(it won’t; I tired)”. But maybe you really were “tired” at that point.

Thomas

haha, I probably was tired! But thanks; fixed now.

-Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert
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Very thorough explanation. I did try your tip but seems cant to get it to panorama view in FB. I resize and image to 19205 x 3340 (5.75:1 ration right ?) . Edit the exif, add the Maker & model to Apple and iPhone 6 Plus. Is there anything else that i miss ? But what can is when I resize it to 6000x3000 (2:1 ratio). Maybe you can comment on this

Thanks.

You missed a step… file must have a height of 3,082 or less. Scale your file down and it'll probably work!

-Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert
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Does this still work?

I have some panoramic photos taken in Antarctica that aren’t showing to their potential in Facebook. I’ve changed the metadata, changed the aspect ratio and height, uploaded to my iPhone 6. They show in photos under panoramas with the wide angle icon in the bottom right but they don’t all the tilting view that ones taken on the phone allow.

Anything I’m doing wrong?

I don't know… haven't tried in a while. I don't have a pano on my system to test with. Sounds like you hit all the major points, and if it's showing the icon in Facebook it sounds more like an app thing. Can you try another device? Or paste the link in here (be sure to make it a public post) and I'll try it.

-Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert
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Here you go try this one, not adjusted yet but if you get it to work let me know and I can adjust the others

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10158191072375500&set=a.10158190…

That's just showing up as a super wide photo. I'll try on myself and see what happens.

-Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert
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Yep, mine worked. You can see it here. This one was so wide that Facebook thinks it's a full 360˚ panorama, funny!

If you want to send me the photo you're uploading via Dropbox or something, paste the link here and I'll look at the source to see if I can figure out what's missing.

-Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert
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Heres one of the photo files via a dropbox link. Totally unedited, let me know how you get on.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/f41dhlylce8y3wn/Landscape%2002.JPG?dl=0

 

Well, the EXIF data hasn't been edited. It still shows Sony ILCA-77M2

Your ratio should be fine; it's 8192 × 1856 which is a 4.41:1 aspect ratio.

Change the EXIF and it'll probably work. Go through the final checklist again; it explains how and what to change it to.

-Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert
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Yeah it’s unedited but when I change the EXIF file with apple and iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 6 it doesn’t work.

if you edit it does it work? 

This is amazing! Do you think it can be done even for other types of pictures, like illustrations or paintings, and not photos?  

I don't see why not… pixels are pixels!

-Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert
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The Exif Editor app linked in the article doesn’t appear to be in the Mac App Store anymore. But I found one called Photos Exif Editor for $0.99 that did the job. 

Thomas

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