Big Shots in Moscow
I tried to sound nonchalant when he told me the size, my brain quickly trying to calculate pixel dimensions and file sizes in the background. “yep that should be fine”, the first calculations were just filtering through to the brain. “And what’s the subject “ right so it’s working abroad and its bloody big , great just up my street now do the math.
360feet by 55feet so minimum file to the printers will be 7.14G this is when mild panic began to set in I had looked at the Gigapan Epic Pro some time before and thought it would be an interesting addition to the kit now it was beginning to seem like the only possible solution to the job.
3 weeks later on the flight to Moscow I mentally added up what the likely cost of this whole gig was for the client and hoped to god my one test job on the Gigapan I had done prior to departure would get me through. After all the principal is the same just on a bigger scale, that was my reasoning anyway.
My driver was waiting at the airport (along with 2 others not included in my budget so I was under already) and we sped off for the centre of Moscow . The speeding came to an abrupt halt along the banks of the Moscow River as we hit the back of the daily traffic gridlock. The last 2 km must of taken nearly 2hrs but gave me a chance to recce the shooting location on the north bank of the river. Next day the weather like the traffic was vile, heavy rain low cloud and bugger all visibility. We checked out the shooting positions and raised the budget again by changing the flights and extending my hotel. My giant translight was not going to get shot today.
After a strange early breakfast (me a harpist and 15 staff) Kiril my ever so helpful location manager turned up smiling broadly. Today was Saturday no traffic even my driver was happy, and so was I the weather was fantastic . Two more helpings of scrambled egg and bacon (you don’t know when you’re going to eat again) and we were speeding along the Moskvoreckaja Nab to our lofty location half way up the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building one of Moscows famous seven sisters.
Translight photography is not for the impatient, those with vertigo or those who don’t like dead birds. City rooftops are always littered with their withered corpses. The day before the production designer had struggled to identify the limits of our panorama in the driving rain, today was so much easier but he was on a flight back to base. After setting and resetting the Gigapan Epic Pro I was happy with what I had planned. Shooting on a Canon 5d mk2 on raw and small jpg each final image would be made up of 175 different shots each sequence taking 47 minutes to shoot. The light was fairly consistent so I only had a couple of restarts. After each sequence the small jpgs could be stitched together to check the kit was aligned properly and no images had been missed. I repeated the sequence five times, 2 in the morning with sun to my back, one at lunch one slightly backlit and then one at sunset.
The client wanted the setting sun at just the right point and with the help of Sun surveyor on the HTC we calculated the time back to start the sequence. As the camera tracked along the 4th row down a little cloud cleared from the sunset click click click there it was in the bag. 11 ½ hours 5 pictures taken mission accomplished my love affair with the Gigapan had begun.