Unable to source an existing gigapixel panorama of the London skyline that met all their requirements, Canon commissioned Pan 3Sixty to create two new London gigapixel panoramas from scratch. The finished panoramas were to be printed on a large scale and displayed at the 2011 Canon Pro Solutions at Olympia London.
Having looked at many existing London gigapixel panoramas, the client was keen to avoid the pitfalls associated with the majority of gigapixel panoramas they had viewed, and the specification stated that:
- Size itself, whilst an integral part of the project, is not a replacement for creation of a visually interesting panorama that will attract and engage the audience.
- The finished panoramas will be technically perfect, free from stitching and banding errors commonly found in poorly executed gigapixel panoramas where size seems to be the only goal.
- The panoramas will also be free from errors created due to movement within the scene during the time required to capture all the photographs. This meant no figures cut in half, no disjointed cranes, no half boats, no errors at all due to movement. All such errors were to be corrected in Photoshop.
Working closely with the client, Pan 3Sixty photographer Philip Giles surveyed a number of possible viewpoints around London, producing low resolution sample panoramas for the Canon team to view. Both parties agreed that the view from Tower Bridge overlooking City Hall, HMS Belfast, the City of London and Tower Bridge met all their requirements and Pan 3Sixty liaised with Tower Bridge to organise a suitable day to produce the photographs.
Pan 3Sixty photographer Philip Giles spend over 16 hours at the top of the south tower and shot more than 6000 photographs to create five gigapixel panoramas of the London skyline at varying times of the day, from early morning through late at night. Low resolution versions of each gigapixel panorama were produced from which the two most suitable were chosen to be created at full size.
The completed panoramas were created from 416 (x 3 for HDRi work, 1248 in total) 21 megapixel photographs shot on Canon 5D MK2 and EF 300mm f/2.8 L II lens. The shoot time was 1 and a 1/4 hours for the daytime panorama and just under 2 hours for the night time panorama, and the resulting gigapixel panoramas are 85,130 pixels wide by 36,170 pixels high or just over 3 gigapixels.
Printed 9 meters wide by 2 meters high and hung side by side in a 270° circular display, the panoramas formed integral part of the 2011 Canon Pro Solutions show at Olympia London and were seen by the thousands of visitors who attended.