michael naimark
Cheap Fast Gigapixel Images

During a guest residency at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, I assigned my students the task of making a wall-size mural entirely from standard video. They understood that the camera had to be on a tripod in the exact same location, and that they could pan and tilt the camera as well as shoot at different times of day, to make a single, spatially seamless, image. The students had access to a standard miniDV video camcorder and tripod, computers with basic video and photo software, and a seemingly unending supply of printer paper and ink. The assignment was to do this project twice.

The first attempt involved shooting throughout the course of several days (with tape markers on the ground for the tripod), then hand-selecting video frames that just matched end-to-end, then printing each of the frames as 9 x 12 inch images on 11 x 14 inch paper, then cutting the paper to 9 x 12 inches, then spreading them out on the floor and taping them together. It was like an enormous jigsaw puzzle, but it basically worked.

For the second attempt, they shot only several minutes of videotape through the course of a single day. They knew that the entire vista had to be “swept” in order to be in the scene, but that they could play with time. For example, sunlight and shadows could be inconsistent. People could appear multiple times, or disappear. They hand-selected video images with this in mind, then matched the frames together digitally, then printed in larger, more efficient batches.

The result was not quite a gigapixel image but rather a 30,000 by 7,000 pixel image, made from about 600 (480 by 640 pixel) video frames, about 1.1 GigaBytes total. It was printed and exhibited as a mural approximately 7 feet high by 26 feet wide. The materials cost was almost nothing, except a lot of paper and ink.


Laura Crawford
Aunali Khimji
Susan Lee
Angel Lin
Matthew McBride
Craig Millman
Syuzi Pakhchyan
Peter Di Sabatino, Faculty

Related Work

Untiled GigaPixel Images
Clifford Ross and "Dream Team"
Gigapxl Project

Tiled GigaPixel Images
Max Lyons
TNO Holland
xRez (added 2006. must see!)

BBC story How to Make a Gigapixel Picture

My paper VR Webcams: Time Artifacts as Positive Features

Bench (detail)

Full Image
(orig 30,000 by 7,000 pixels)