Titian 360° Panorama - Insights by Photographer Tom Mills
1. I would be glad to learn more about your last project. What was it about?
I was asked to shoot a 360 gigapixel panorama for the National Gallery to enable online users to view and experience the Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 Exhibition. It is the first time the three paintings have been seen together since the 18th century. Additionally I programmed an interface that allows users to find out information about the paintings and share cool postcards images of the exhibition.
2. Which were the main challenges of this task?
No additional lighting! Shooting in the middle of the room can be tricky especially with gigapixel as symmetrical rooms are hard to piece together as the images look almost identical. We had to shoot after hours when there were no visitors. I shot with a Canon 5D MkII + 50mm lens @ f13, 13" shutter speed, ISO 400.
3. How is the feeling to shoot in such a popular location?
Wonderful! It’s great to be able to bring these images to a wider audience and allow people to share them. I had made a virtual tour for the gallery 2 years previously. I think it is one of my best projects and features over 400 interactive paintings.
So I was very pleased to have this technology recognised again by such a prestigious gallery who clearly recognise the benefit of having a tour. More galleries should do the same.
Actually something surprising happened during the shoot that I was not prepared for. I had booked 4 hours of shooting time and it was after hours so the gallery was very quiet and dark. After about 2 hours of shooting there was a knock on the door and someone from the Gallery was calling my name. I shouted back that I was still busy shooting, but then the voice got louder. I paused the Clauss head and the camera and went to the door, and opened it.
"I am terribly sorry to bother you Tom but we have a visitor who has come to view the exhibition"
"But.... no visitors are allowed, I booked this time especially' I protested,
" Yes but the thing is, it’s.... BRAD PITT."
My jaw then hit the floor as the door opened wider to reveal one of the world’s best movie actors standing in front of me. I shook his hand and he was really nice, I was lucky enough to photograph him at the Cannes film festival this year http://tommills.co.uk/p/portfolio/360-panorama/cannes-festival-killing-them-softly-premiere/
I told him a bit about 360 panoramas and left him to view the exhibition. Through a crack in the door I could see he was more interested in what equipment I had left as I saw him checking out the Clauss head :)
On the national gallery website
and my portfolio of course :)
5. How do you see the market for such projects? Which experiences do you have regarding the commercial aspect of panoramic photography and virtual tours?
Well, I have been in business for about 8 years now and the market has never been stronger. I currently tell clients it’s a comment on their establishment if they don’t have a virtual tour for web savvy users to try. It engages their customers, keeps them on their websites longer and is proven to increase business and interest.
In the UK we are experiencing demand from news media which is very exciting and has led to some great projects to work on, from the Royal Wedding to Cannes film festival to top sporting events.
Thanks, Tom, for this interesting insight into your work!