How to make a 1,000+ megapixel panorama with your budget point and shoot

Summary:No doubt you've already seen the 1,474-megapixel panoramic photo of President Obama's inagural address, created by David Bergman (and if you haven't, click here immediately). A big panorama isn't necessarily anything to write home about, but what was so cool about Bergman's photo was that the enormous size and resolution of the file (59,783x24,658) allowed you to zoom in on individual faces in the crowd of nearly 2 million people--and the fact that he shot the image with a 14.7-megapixel Canon PowerShot G10.

No doubt you've already seen the 1,474-megapixel panoramic photo of President Obama's inaugural address, created by David Bergman (and if you haven't, click here immediately). A big panorama isn't necessarily anything to write home about, but what was so cool about Bergman's photo was that the enormous size and resolution of the file (59,783x24,658) allowed you to zoom in on individual faces in the crowd of nearly 2 million people--and the fact that he shot the image with a 14.7-megapixel Canon PowerShot G10. The panoramic image was actually composed of 220 smaller, overlapping photos shot using his G10 mounted on a GigaPan robotic camera mount and stitched together with GigaPan's Stitcher software.

Ever since I saw that image, I've been fascinated with the process, so I was interested to see BBC editor Richart Taylor's recently posted video of how the GigaPan technology works. The best part is that there are now two consumer-priced GigaPan mounts that allow you to achieve the same type of photo without paying professional equipment prices.  There are two versions, the GigaPan Epic ($379) and the newer GigaPan Epic 100 $449), both of which you can use with an inexpensive point-and-shoot, though the Epic 100 is sturdy enough to hold heavier point-and-shoots or small SLRs (a GigaPan DSLR Imager is currently in development).

If you don't want to spring for the robotic mount, the GigaPan site offers tips on software you can use to create a panorama using your own photos shot manually without using the mount (and also has plans to post an open-source reference design to allow you to build your own GigaPan mount soon). But this isn't a project to take on lightly. Bergman's photo alone took over six and a half hours to assemble with the GigaPan software using a Macbook Pro (and the final TIF file is almost 2GB).

Topics: Software Development

About

Janice Chen is an editorial consultant and has been covering technology for over two decades. Serving as editor in chief at CNET and Computer Shopper magazine for many years, she oversaw product coverage for the CNET and ZDNet websites. She has appeared on most of the major morning TV news programs and was featured weekly on CNN Headline... Full Bio

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