Jann Lipka Interview

Jann Lipka is an excellent panoramic photographer living in Sweden. You can find his personal website at http://fotograf.nu/log/.
When did you first become obsessed with photography? And what else are you obsessed with, besides photography?
Photography was in my mind from childhood as my father worked periodically with photography.
but it seemed to be difficult to make a living from it  ( my father worked mostly as editor  )
After a couple of year at Technical University of Warsaw I went North to Sweden and
decided to give it a try with a two year photography education .
I came to think of that there is a competition whatever you do  – even driving a taxi
But for me photography was more fun 🙂 and I thought with some talent and
How did you discover 360 photography? When was it and what happened next?
 A  good customer of mine was working with commercial  building  that had a special view –  he asked
me about shooting 180 degrees panorama of that  ( to be used as a billboard )
.  I quickly discovered the world of curvy straight lines and  that job financed a Manfrotto 303 head .
( I still use it – but only for special projects )  After a while I wanted to do that spinning QT VR pictures.
And I had some luck with getting some good customers for 360 shoots.
one break through was 360 virtual tour of Wikileaks server hall here in Stockholm.
Are you a professional or amateur photographer?
I make my living as a photographer since 20 years,
Panorama photography is quite small part of my work .
I do mostly  corporate / advertising and editorial – mostly portraits and
people photography.
Do you travel much to do your photography?
It happens every couple of weeks  but I work mostly locally in Stockholm.
What kind of photography do you like the best? and of what kinds of things?
I enjoy mostly news photography and photojournalism –  even very advanced commercial images
always fade very quickly …
That is probably the reason for my own  360 work I would love to do more action panoramas like this one
barely possible to make because of fast movement.
The frozen moment  combined with 90 Mb of details – i love it.
What is your opinion on today’s state of VR? Will VR, as we know it now, hit the Mainstream in the next 12 months?
Regarding still images maybe the market will improve because of so many huge companies like Samsung are
pushing customers into VR –  Sweden is a country with people very much ROI oriented and customers tend to
invest in imaging ( like 360 ) if they can clearly see  that it is profitable – and I think still  the most of them find
360 photography is a bit gimmicky – and most people don’t really know how to explore it.
So as always it is  good to find customers  that personally enjoy  360 imaging .
But sometimes it is easy to forget that 360 images are quite time demanding – Still image can be
“consumed”  faster then in one second.
Who are some of the interesting companies or people who are getting into VR / 360 Photography these days?
I’m waiting eagerly for coming video cameras from Sphericam ,
but also consumer oriented Nikon and Samsung.  At least 4k.
360 cameras delivered from Camera companies is a good sign.With still images I think technology is more mature – can be polished but I don’t expect miracles.
I shoot with Sony A7R II and like its good dynamic range. ( but use it only for pano work and video – for
other type of work I shoot canon and Hasselblad )All ” miracle / camera cluster ” solutions  ( like Google promoted IRIS ) are something I would never use for proper
still panorama – i am a strong believer that parallax should be avoided for non stereo work and that is best done with one
lens rotated around NPP.
What is your opinion about 360 Video?
360 Video is definitely exploding   but there is so much issues to be solved .
I think 4K is the way to go because of bandwith and of course even that is quite data intensive.
i would love to have a two lens solution – or maximum 3
. 6 cameras  solutions scare  me because 6 time larger
possibility that something will overheat 🙂  or break.
As a pioneer in building the equipment that panoramic photographers use, what kind of trends have you noticed in the last years / decade that might not be obvious to other people?
Two things – Most people see 360 images as a spinning pictures only but don’t realize that those can be viewed in extreme detail
/ enlargement.
Regular  panorama from me is 120 Megapixel large and that means a lot of detail .
Normal  still images are almost never published  in zoomable format.
so with 360 there is so much more to explore for those who want to get into details.Second  – The “values”  that 360 photography are build upon are very often in line with what  a lot of companies want to stand for
( and also very much those are the values that Swedish society wants to emphasize )Open, inviting, participating, honest and engaging.

 All that are things that 360 photography is about

How do you think our panoramic medium will evolve over the next years or decades?

I’m pretty sure that 360 video is going to be a part of regular video work  .
I already get some calls from  large  video production companies that only want to know what camera I use  ( and they buy it )
They  see 360 imaging as a technology and don’t understand its strong sides ( filing in first person perspective, small

cramped interiors etc etc )  and just put a 360 camera in a middle of a room – the 360 story telling is more complex then that.
Good quality  360 streaming will be a  game changer for  video-journalism.Still image panos  using only one camera / lens will  still be a niche product that needs an expert to be properly done.
With all those lovely quirks and workarounds. Push for more VR content is a good thing but with that 120 Megapixels panos are
overkill.  For the best play to enjoy a proper panorama is still a 30 inch display 🙂
Add any other questions/answers you think are relevant or interesting 🙂
With 360 we are still in a phase when technology itself is a fascinating achievement –
That is the reason this niche is mostly populated with computer people .
It will get much more interesting when artists and poets will start to tell their stories.
– for myself  i see it as a best tool for sharing experience of ” being there “.

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