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Field Setup for Photogrammetry - starting from scratch


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Good day to everyone.

I am very new to photogrammetry, so this will be an overview of my setup and process for support of a field dig in England in 2024 with a request for input from the group.

Some background on me - I am a retired civilian from the U.S. Air Force with a degree in Engineering Technology from long ago.  I have supported archeological field work in England in 2022 and 2023 as a digger and junior assistant supervisor.  For 2024 I am moving up in the world to support digital documentation of the dig.  One part of that will be photogrammetry of small finds / trench sections and possibly documenting some standing buildings.  

My setup is built around the Nikon D850 with a 200mm Macro lens, a 40mm Macro lens, a 50mm lens, and a 24mm lens, all are prime lenses.  I will also have a zoom lens and a Nikon D70S for general photography.  I have a Cognisys macro rail and turntable.  The macro rail will support focus stacking for very small items and the turntable will be for anything that can fit on it.  I have attached a syrp turntable top to the Cognisys turntable which gives me a nine inch table with a very high weight limit.  The turntable and macro rail are controlled by the Cognisys Stackshot3 controller which is tied to my laptop running Helicon remote and Helicon focus stacking software.  Turntable shooting will be done in tethered mode.

I have a folding light box with MISO black background fabric and MISO black backgrounds for the turntable, LED lighting from Lume Cube (two cubes and two panels), 2 GODOX TTL600 flash units, and a GODOX ring light.  I also have a polarizing filter for the ring light and all the lenses.  Then there are two tripods, a boom arm, and two table top tripods for the LED lights.  I have two, two terabyte SSDs and two 5 terabyte standard hard drives.  I have a backup turntable from Edelkrone.  Then there are all the interconnect cables for flash, shutter control, and turntable control.  Battery charging cables and power bricks are all rated for 110 and 220 volt.  I have a set of CHI scales on order.  Then there is the color checker card for white balance and color correction

I will be running Metashape software on a MacBook Pro M3 Max with 198GB of memory.  The laptop will also be running the Helicon software.  I will be using DLN to document the work.  I will also be using light room classic for color correction.

Over the next several months I will be exercising the set up and working out my work flow.  I expect I will have one work flow for basic turntable work, one for focus stacking  with the turntable, one for large objects that will not fit on the turntable, one for trench section documentation, and finally one for structure documentation.

Through all the research on assembling this setup there are a couple of questions that I still have:

1 - Is there are recommended file naming convention for the RAW images, then the images for import into Metashape, and finally the Metashape outputs.

2 - What are the recommended workflows?  I have a lot of information on general steps, but I suspect I will be discovering a lot as I go along.

I look forward to comments and input.


Chuck Mason

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