A photograph taken from Prague’s landmark Žižkov TV Tower has set a new record for the largest known spherical panoramic photograph in the world. The picture offers a rare 360 degree view over the city and measures 18 Gigapixels, obliterating a record from 2007 – a shot taken in Harlem that measured 13 Gigapixels. The photographer of the record shot, Jeffrey Martin, at an interview at Žižkov TV tower talked about how this idea was first born.
“Because it is quite obvious that it’s a nice view and it’s really high up and so it would be possible to capture a lot of sights of the city. Finally I had the chance through Prague 3 town hall, who hired my company, 360cities.net, to create a small tour of Prague 3, including a panorama from the top of the TV tower.So I created a much larger image that was much larger than the one we agreed on, just to see if it would work, and it turned out that it did work.”
Part of the 18 Gigapixel panoramic photoPart of the 18 Gigapixel panoramic photo So what can we see in the actual picture? Which parts of Prague?
“You can see Prague 3 the best, because that’s where the tower is situated. You can see most of the major landmarks, churches and cathedrals, the castle. It’s kind of hard to see the river from the TV tower, so a lot of the classic views of Prague aren’t really here. And you can see a lot of just normal everyday life, people in the street and cars.”
And how exactly was the picture taken? I understand it was stitched together from multiple shots?
“Most panoramic images are made from multiple images that are joined together on the computer. So, usually I make a much lower resolution picture from four images taken with a fisheye lens, but this one was compiled from hundreds and hundreds of pictures.”
Part of the 18 Gigapixel panoramic photoPart of the 18 Gigapixel panoramic photo The picture is also super high resolution. For amateurs, could you describe what that means exactly? Compared to a standard digital photo, what is the resolution of your picture?
“A standard digital photo can be printed 8 by ten inches at the photo store, or 30 by 20 centimeters. This image could be printed in the same quality but about 16 meters long.”
Are you certain that this truly is the largest panoramic spherical photo?
“It’s possible that there is another one that wasn’t publicized, but as far as my research tells me, I couldn’t find anything larger.”
Did you intend for this record or was that just sort of welcomed side effect?
“It was a welcomed side effect but now I want to try and break it again [laughs].”
Žižkov TV TowerŽižkov TV Tower Your team devised a treasure hunt. Can you tell me a bit about that?
“We thought this was such a nice event, and the timing was good, so to motivate people to really check out how much you can see, we took 1000 dollars and we will give it to the first person who sends us all 30 correct answers. We’re posting 10 clues on our blog today, tomorrow and the next day and on the third day we will publish the email address where you can send the answers. And the first person to give us the answer wins a 1000 dollars and we will pick the winner. It’s not luck, it’s based on skill.”