Second Pittsburgh Gigapanorama

second gigapanorama thumbnail

Based on our experiences creating the first Pittsburgh Gigapanorama, we decided to try and take a second set of images incorporating several improvements.

To mitigate parallax issues, we decided to cover the full 360-degree perimeter in twelve individual gigapans, rather than four, as in the first one. To increase the vertical depth of the image, we created tripod extensions that allowed us to place the cameras several feet over the edge of the building and shoot downward at 70 degrees to capture much of the foreground.  Finally, we invited people around town to participate by getting into the picture. Using advance publicity and social networking, we were able to communicate in real time during the shoot directly with dozens of groups and individuals who positioned themselves in places where they could be seen by the cameras.

On September 23, 2010, the project team shot the 12 separate Gigapan sections, consisting of some 9,160 individual photographs.

The good news is all of that worked. Rather than seeing the roof of the Gulf Building, the new image includes cars on Grant Street below.  And the cameras captured dozens of participants scattered around the image, from the Zombies at the Civic Arena to the red balloon crew on Mount Washington. We even managed to catch the Pirates/Cardinals baseball game in PNC Park in mid-pitch!

However as we have since discovered, in vastly expanding the image’s size and field of view, we created new complexities for our team of volunteers to deal with.

There were issues of adjusting focus and coloration, but the primary challenge was that by capturing so many pixels below the horizontal plane of the building, we introduced new issues of parallax and perspective that occur in the lower sections of the gigapans approaching street level. Manipulating the huge files also proved extraordinarily difficult, and ultimately, we have not yet been able to join the 12 different gigapan sections together into a single gigapixel image.

We have however, with the help of Paul Heckbert of Gigapan Systems and Naeem Martinez-White of CMU School of Art, Photoshoped together the 12 static images into an enormous (2.7 gigabytes) photograph.  A thumbnail of that image appears at the top of this page, and a 1/100th scale reproduction of the JPEG image can be viewed here.  Although not a gigapan, the image is somewhat zoomable, although numerous anomalies will become visible, especially at the seams of the separate sections.

Below are the shooting map and links to the 12 separate gigapan columns that comprise the full 360-degree panorama from the U.S. Steel Tower roof, starting with the view to the southeast and proceeding clockwise, as per this map (note – numbers do not correspond with those on the map).

1: SW 1:

2: SW 2:

3: SW 3:

4. NW 1:

5. NW 2:

6: NW3:

7. NE1:

8. NE2:

9. NE3:

10.  SE1:

11.  SE2:

12. SE3:

Credits for the Second Pittsburgh Gigapanorama (9,160 images comprising 12 Gigapans shot Sept 23, 2010) Project Producer – David Bear, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, CMU.  Gigapanners – Paul Heckbert (lead), Create Lab, CMU, Clara Phillips, Create Lab, CMU, Gursimran Koonjul, College of Fine Arts, CMU. Computer direction – Art Wetzel, Pittsburgh Super Computing Center. Gigapans stitched by Paul Heckbert and Clara Phillips. Digital artist – Ruthe Karlin. Social networking, Golan Levin and Riley Harmon, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, CMU. Videography – Bob Bingham, College of Fine Arts, CMU. Equipment – Cameras, Gursimran Koonjul, College of Fine Arts, CMU. Gigapan Pros, Vanessa Constanti, Gigapan Systems. Fabrication of tripod extensions – Jamie Clemente, McKamish. Roof access, Brian Wittner, Winthrop management. Catering – Margaret Meyers, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, CMU.