At one of the coldest times of winter this year, we spent 24-hours at the top of One Canada Square shooting the London skyline for a world’s first, gigapixel timelapse (or ‘Giga-Lapse’) of the city. The timelapse, created for Nikon and Lenstore through PR agency Verve Search, involved 24 giant images, each one shot on the hour through the day and night.
You can see the result in the embed below and be sure to check out the sunset at 5pm! More info on how we did it follows below.
Crucially, every shot, be it the fist at 10am or the last at 9am the next day, had to line up to the pixel for the project to work and this meant we needed to lean on some very heavy duty tech. Enter stage left; Mark Roberts Motion Control. Usually known for their incredible robotics for motion controlling cameras in the film industry, including Oscar-winning ‘Gravity’, these guys custom modified one of their heads and worked with us to program the rig to take 260 photos of the city, at 45 megapixels each.
The total size of each of the panoramas was 7.3 gigapixels or 7300 megapixels, or 7,300,000,000 pixels! All of the shots used the same stitching template, nothing was done to tweak them or ease the blending at any point. The shots were all taken in RAW, allowing their exposures to be tweaked to aid the blending of the photos and general outcome of the shots.
The dynamic range of the camera, the D850 was a huge help, there were parts of each panorama that varied wildly in brightness from down the barrel of the setting sun to the darkest, shaded street corners, it picked it all up.
This was a real team effort, and we’re extremely proud to have pulled this production off.