We had the pleasure of supporting a fantastic new project to create the World’s First 24-hour Gigapixel panorama of the London skyline.
The contact lens provider, Lenstore, teamed up with VR & 360 production company Visualise, who, using the incredible Nikon D850 and our motion control robotic Ulti-head, captured the amazing timelapse from the top of Canary Wharf!
The technical aspects of this project were immense. Pinpoint accuracy was required to stitch the thousands of detailed photos together; without the absolute precision of the repeat passes, the images wouldn’t have seamlessly blended together – which is why the robotic Ulti-Head was ideal for the task!
Similarly, Nikon’s D850 was needed to ensure the highest degree of image sharpness, and its whopping 45.7 megapixels means that you can zoom into any part of the photo and pick up details nearly 5 miles away!
Each Panorama is made up of 260 individual photos and is 155 degrees wide (183,944 x 40,060 pixels) – which equates to the capturing of over 7 billion pixels per hour!
The results are incredible – the World’s First 24 Hour Gigalapse panorama!
The project was shot by Henry Stuart from Visualise, he had the following to say:
“Shooting gigapixel photos is hard – we have been shooting them for the Olympics, the World Cup, for events and places all around the globe. Each panorama is so large it needs specially built computers to process it. In this case we had to build a special server system and network all of the work stations in our studio to the content so that we could stitch five of the photos at a time. Lucky it was the winter as the heat generated was keeping our whole block warm.
So what makes this different is really its ambition – you would never think that this many gigapixels could be shot at this resolution in one day. On any other panoramic head you would not have the same alignment of pixels, they would all have some give or movement in one direction or another.
There was a team of two of us, taking shifts through the day/night. It was incredibly cold and windy. Each hour we made the trip to the corner of the roof, checked the light, adjusted our settings and set off the camera remotely. Then rushed back inside to warm up again. We were in a building control room, sandwiched between all their electrics and air conditioning controls.
To capture a photo like this you need a really capable camera – we used the Nikon D850. It has this beautiful big sensor and captures a huge range of light and dark (large dynamic range). This is so important when shooting panoramas where one part of the image is bright, such as towards the sun, and another is dark such as over the Thames. We shot everything on the camera’s ‘RAW’ setting, which keeps loads of extra information in the shots that you would usually lose.
The robotic head we used to take the images is from the world of film production, it’s technically a custom modified Mark Roberts Motion Control – Ulti-Head. This head was programmed to take the 260 photos of each photo to pixel precision, meaning each time the panorama is created, even 24 hrs later, the pixels have not moved and everything lines up.”