GigaPan Robots Replace Paparazzi

Allison Loudermilk

Watch out Us Weekly. Later camera-slinging, ambulance-chasing, privacy-invading paparazzi. A new robotic camera mount made by GigaPan Systems is allowing regular people and their point-and-shoot-cameras to capture some amazing panoramic shots. Instead of immortalizing one small split-second slice of life, you get the whole scene, whether it's the swearing in of a president, the Oscars or a lazy beach scene curving into the sunset.

Photogs set their camera onto the mount, indicate the parameters of the panorama they're bent on snapping and then the unit figures out how many photos it needs to take to capture the gigapixel scene, be it ten or a thousand. The GigaPan Epic mount costs $379 and works with most point-and-shoot cameras. The best part? If you have a secure setup, you don't have to snarl at all the other people jostling to take the same shot you desperately want.

After it takes all the photos, software stitches them together and produces your piece de resistance that you're then obligated to share with the rest of the camera junkies out there. Why are you still reading this? Check out the results on GigaPan.org and see David Bergman turn the mass of people at President Barack Obama's inaugural speech into a close-up of First Lady Michelle Obama watching her husband address the nation. Pretty cool stuff. Here's Wired's post on it, along with Gizmodo's.

By the way, does anyone know if there are cheaper versions out there or some photo-stitching software that they recommend? I'm pretty sure at least one person I know and love will strongly desire this gadget or its equivalent abilities.

If you want to learn more about robots and red carpet, we have plenty more where that came from: How Cameras Work How Robots Work How Nanorobots Will Work How has burst photography changed the way we perceive action? How Paparazzi Work How the Oscars Work