Archive for November, 2010

We still need more submissions to the first gigapixel treasure hunt! We received some answers but nobody has all answers correct. Some people have five or more clues correct but actually, if you submit at least three clues, you can still win. There are ten Crumpler bags waiting for lucky winners. Some of the clues are not that hard to find and you can ask questions here or on our twitter or facebook. So … what are you waiting for?

Here’s the next set of clues for the first London gigapixel treasure hunt:

7. Washing up

8. Who you will call when you are trapped inside of a washing machine.

9. British passport.

The final clue will be announced tomorrow Tuesday November 23th, together with an email address to where you can submit your answers. Please don’t forget to read the official rules before you submit your answers. Ask questions here via comments or on our blog or twitter. Now open the London 80 Gigapixel panorama and good luck!

Find the rest of the clues and the email address where to submit answers in the original Crumpler Treasure Hunt blog post.

The London 80 Gigapixel world record panorama will be shown at the Visit2010 Fujitsu Forum Europe conference in Munich on November 24 and 25. Come to see the panorama in its full glory!

Here’s a video of the workstation that will be used to show the video at the Visit2010. It uses the new Fujitsu P27T-6 IPS displays which give a total resolution of 4750×2560 pixels.

Almost all of the tens of thousands of panoramas on 360cities.net are available for licensing on request, including our new, 80-gigapixel London panoramic photo. If you’re interested in licensing the London image for use in ad campaign, an extra-large printed mural, an architectural project, etc., contact us at info@360cities.net with a few details and we’ll follow up with you right away.

Past customers of our library of images include, taken from random examples:

  • Advertising agencies launching targeted web campaigns for their clients
  • A Budweiser World Cup tv spot
  • A Swiss TV network creating promo spots
  • Web developers creating proposals for client websites
  • Architects using the images as backgrounds for 3D models
  • A daily news publisher preparing to launch a tablet app
  • A producer of planetarium programs
  • An online travel magazine

If we don’t have the specific type of image you’re looking for in your project, we can create it for you on commission, drawing from our worldwide membership of qualified panorama photographers. Working with you, we will arrange for photographers to capture the images you need with the characteristics you specify.  Our member base and our know how in panoramic photography combine to give you a powerful resource for commissioning new 360-degree panorama content.

Contact us or read more about Commissioning Gigapixel Photography on our site.

Each day we’ll publish some clues – starting November 18th – and ending on November 23rd. Clues are things that you can find in the London Gigapixel. You have to find these clues, and be among the first few people to send in screenshots of these clues to an email address below. If you do, you will win an awesome bag from our favorite bag company, Crumpler. No, they didn’t pay us to say that – their bags really are awesome.

If you are interested in this treasure hunt, you might want to look into the second treasure hunt we are doing for the London Gigapixel in which you have a chance to win 27″ Fujitsu LCD panel, or a story-telling competition, in which you can win over $3000 of awesome holidays.

Here are the first three clues:

1. Fat Boy Slim’s Chair

2. Freddie Mercury

3. One of the three mechanical spiders (there are three at three different places and you need to find at least one)

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Here’s the second set of clues (released November 19th):

4. Topless olympic torch

5. One leg purple, one leg green

6. Spiderman’s basement

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The next set of clues (released November 22nd):

7. Washing up

8. Who you will call when you are trapped inside of a washing machine.

9. British passport.

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The last clue (released November 23rd):

10. Victorian milk

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Email address for submitting answers (valid only for the 1st treasure hunt, do not use it for the 2nd treasure hunt please):

360 Cities Treasure Hunt

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Please don’t forget to read the official rules before you submit your answers. Ask questions here via comments or on our blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Just to repeat the most important rules:

We will pick the FIRST person in our email inbox with the MOST correct answers. So if nobody in the world knows all the answers before the deadline (30 days 11:59pm GMT, December 23, 2010) then we’ll choose the first person who sends us the highest number of correct answers.

If you send us multiple emails, you will be disqualified. Since we’ll probably have thousands of submissions, we’d like to prevent tens of thousands of unnecessary emails coming in. If you find more answers after you submit your answers, the obvious way around this rule is to send a new set of answers from a different email address. If you can’t attach 30 files in a single email, you should get a gmail account.

We will probably announce winners in January 2011. Our team will do their best to find the winner as soon as possible, but we can’t guarantee that – so please give us some time to go through those thousands of emails. Thanks for your understanding.

Happy hunting!

If you are interested in this treasure hunt, you might want to look into the second treasure hunt we are doing for the London Gigapixel in which you have a chance to win 27″ Fujitsu LCD panel, or a story-telling competition, in which you can win over $3000 of awesome holidays.

First prize: Crumpler Muffin Top Full Photo Bag

Other prizes: Two winners will receive a Muffin Top 4000 Bag

Two winners will receive Jimmy Bo 400 Cross-Shoulder or Waist Bag

Five winners will receive The PP 70 Camera/Phone Bags

Read The Official rules

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to find the items by myself or can I work with other people?
We recommend that you DO work with other people. 360Cities assumes no responsibility for intra-team arrangements and only one person (dispatcher of the winning e-mail and PayPal account holder) will be considered the winner.

If you want people to work together to find the prize, then I can’t win if I try to do it by myself?
You can win if you do it by yourself – but as they say “two heads are better than one”

How do I make a screenshot?
You can follow these instructions (both windows and mac) http://www.colorpilot.com/screen_howto.html

My email program won’t let me send that many attachments!
You can try a different email provider – Gmail for example will work.

Where do I send the answers?
We will announce the email address where to send the answers with the last set of clues.

The items are hard to find? Will you publish any hints?
Yes! We will publish hints about how to find the items via our Facebook page and on Twitter. You won’t get these hints anywhere else. So if you really want to win, we suggest you follow one of these.

You should watch our Facebook or Twitter page for updates.

Find the hidden clues in the London Gigapixel image. Be the first to send in the correct answers, and win a fantastic 27 inch LCD monitor from Fujitsu!

If you are interested in this treasure hunt, you might want to look into the first treasure hunt we are doing for the London Gigapixel in which you have a chance to win ten awesome Crumpler bags or a story-telling competition in which you can win over $3000 of awesome holidays.

Each day we’ll publish some clues – starting November 24th – and ending on December 1st. Clues are things that you can find in the London Gigapixel. You have to find these clues, and be among the first to send in screenshots of these clues to an email address that we’ll announce later. If you do, you will win an awesome LCD panel from Fujitsu!

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Here are the first three clues:

1. Sunflower

2. Sandwiches in park

3. Broken bicycles

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4. Three men in suits, three chairs on sidewalk and a “haircut”

5. G-A-Y banner

6. Ten minutes late for tea (hint: 5pm is tea time)

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7. The letters “C” and “O” on an iron globe

8. Two parked Royal Mail vans facing each other

9. Westminster Cathedral tower

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10. Minitrue

11. Whoopi Goldberg

12. “River horse” followed by John Leahy’s novel

THESE ARE THE FINAL CLUES, YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR ANSWERS NOW!

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Email address for submitting answers:



VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT use the address that was announced in the first treasure hunt. This new address has a dot in it. Please don’t forget to add the dot for submissions in the 2nd treasure hunt. Submissions sent to a wrong email address will not be considered. Thank you.

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Please don’t forget to read the official rules of the second treasure hunt before you submit your answers. Ask questions here via comments or on our blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Just to repeat the most important rules: We will pick the FIRST person in our email inbox with the MOST correct answers. So if nobody in the world knows all the answers before the deadline 11:59pm GMT, December 23, 2010 then we’ll choose the first person who sends us the highest number of correct answers.

We’d like to prevent thousands of unnecessary emails coming in. If you find more answers after you submit your answers, the obvious way around this rule is to send a new set of answers from a different email address. If you can’t attach 30 files in a single email, you should get a gmail account.

We will probably announce winners in January 2011. Our team will do their best to find the winner as soon as possible, but we can’t guarantee that – so please give us some time to go through those thousands of emails. Thanks for your understanding.

How do I make a screenshot?
You can follow these instructions (both windows and mac) http://www.colorpilot.com/screen_howto.html

My email program won’t let me send that many attachments!
You can try a different email provider – Gmail for example will work.

Where do I send the answers?
We will announce the email address where to send the answers with the last set of clues.

The items are hard to find? Will you publish any hints?
Yes! You should watch our Facebook or Twitter page for updates.

Happy hunting!

If you are interested in this treasure hunt, you might want to look into the first treasure hunt we are doing for the London Gigapixel in which you have a chance to win ten awesome Crumpler bags or a story-telling competition, in which you can win over $3000 of awesome holidays.

Fujitsu 27" LCD Panel

Fujistsu prize display cababilities

Download more information about the prize: Fujitsu LCD Panel Datasheet.

Update: we are sorry, but for technical reasons we have had to cancel the story competition for now.

I faced a ton of challenges and problems when shooting the London 80 gigapixel image.

First of all, it was similar to the Prague gigapixel image from last year – I shot it as a challenge, not sure if it would really work. Unlike the Prague image, this one was not shot from a tower, but from Centre Point – a large skyscraper, and very long. The Prague image was shot from a tower, and all three sections that I shot were very close together. On the top of Centre Point, I shot a panorama from each corner of the building, and then joined them together. Because the building is so long, the view from one corner to the other really is very different. So, joining the panoramas from all of the corners, into a single panorama, really was difficult. If you look closely, you can see some strange things where these panoramas are overlapping.

Another major challenge was the weather. I don’t live in London, and I had three days to shoot this panorama. Luckily, the weather was very clear, although the light was extremely variable. Panoramic images generally require the camera to be set to the same exposure for the entire panorama. In the case of this image, shooting with a 400mm lens, at both white buildings in the sunshine, and darker places in the shadows, with the sun behind the clouds, it was a major challenge to get an exposure that could capture something meaningful at both of these extremes! It is noticeable in the panorama that some portions of the image were shot when it was sunny, and others when the sun was behind clouds. However, you will also notice that when zoomed in, there is good detail, and good contrast, with both bright highlights, and dark shadows. This was extremely hard to pull off!

There are going to be, inevitably, some stitching errors in a panorama that is made from 8000 photos. What I am most surprised about is how few there actually are in the image. This is a testament to the power of the “Deghost” blending available in Autopano Giga. Not only does this blending algorithm work extremely well — it cuts the photos in a way that the errors in the seams are as undetectable as possible — this Deghost blender is really fast!

The other challenges I faced while shooting the image were related to the wind, and the exposure of the camera. 36 stories up, it is simply windy, period. The wind was blowing the camera on the tripod ever so slightly, but enough to ruin a good shot. At 400mm, the camera does not have to move very much, or very fast, for the shot to be blurry. I spent many hours holding the camera gently enough so that it could move (on its robotic camera mount) but firmly enough that it wasn’t being moved around by the wind. And given these conditions, I could not use the ISO (camera sensitivity) or aperture that I desired. At any rate, the shots came out better than I thought, given these circumstances.

I could go on and on with the challenges, problems, and mistakes that I faced, but I’ll stop here. If you have any questions that weren’t answered here, leave a comment, and I’ll try to answer them in another post!

There is nothing special about shooting panoramic photos. It’s easy – Ok, it’s not that easy. You have to practice. The more you practice, the better you get. The better you get, the more tricks you learn, which allows you to do it even faster, and better.

I don’t normally shoot these giant images like the London or Prague gigapixels. Usually I shoot “normal resolution” spherical panoramas, using a digital SLR camera and a fisheye lens. You can see my panoramas here.

When I started shooting panoramas seriously, 6 years ago, it was much harder to create a spherical panorama that it is now. It required some ugly editing of command-line scripts and stuff like that! Now it’s much easier, because the software for the creation of panoramic photos has come such a long way in the past few years.

My favorite tutorials for shooting spherical panoramas are John Houghton’s tutorials. Mr. Houghton is a photographer from England, and he has been one of the most helpful people out there on various forums and mailing lists. He is truly a great resource of knowledge, and incredibly friendly with this tips. If you really want to learn how to make panoramic photos, read his tutorials.

For software, there are a lot of different programs out there. The one that I have used the most is PTGui. I love it! I’ve used it to make literally thousands of panoramas (both normal ones, and gigapixel panoramas). I used PTGui to create the Prague Gigapixel last year.

The software I used to create the London Gigapixel is Autopano Giga (they also make Autopano Pro which is for normal panoramas). Autopano Giga is especially for creating very large panoramas. It is a fantastic program. It is really fast. Depending on how you shoot, you will need to fine tune the stitching and optimization of your panorama. For this, PTGui and Autopano Giga work in quite different ways and it is up to your preference which one works better for you. The makers of PTGui and Autopano Pro are really smart and helpful guys. Whichever program you choose, you can post your questions and problems to their support forums, and you’ll get a quick answer, either from fellow users of the programs, or the authors themselves. Here is the PTGui support group and here is the Autopano forum.

If you want to learn panoramic photography, you should be happy that it is not 2005 anymore – these days, it is much easier, and it is principally because of the creators of the above two programs. Use them — one or the other, or both, like me! You can’t go wrong.

Finally, 360 Cities has its own Help site, including a page about how to create panoramas. You can read that too.

So, how did I make the London Gigapixel? Here are some answers. I will update this post from time to time, because I want this to be a “real” FAQ. Of course I can think of a few questions that people will ask, so I’ll start with those. If your question isn’t answered here, leave a comment, and I will add more questions/answers to this post on a regular basis.

How big is this image, really?

It is 400,000 x 200,000 pixels. If you printed it at 300dpi (that’s how you’d print your photos at the photo lab) it would be about 35 x 17 meters, or 100 x 50 feet.

Why did we make it?

Because it was nearly impossible!

How did we make it?

I used a digital SLR camera and a 400mm lens. I also used a special custom-built robotic camera mount, which moved the camera for me. This made shooting more bearable (but still really difficult).

I can read license plates and see faces! Isn’t that illegal?

The last time we checked, it is perfectly legal to practice the art of photography in most places on planet Earth. We have blurred out the faces of identifiable children, because as we understand it, it is a tremendous crime in the UK to photograph and publish images of children without the consent of their parents (unless you are a CCTV operator, then it’s perfectly alright ;-) . We also blurred out one “naughty bit”.

Will you print this image? Can I see that?

We are currently looking for a client who would like to display a print of the London Gigapixel.
If you have any interest in this, please contact us.


Do you have more questions? Leave a comment!