Published on SF.TV: http://www.glanzundgloria.sf.tv/Nachrichten/Schweiz/Miss-Schweiz and MSN.CH: http://unterhaltung.ch.msn.com/miss-schweiz/
After the mountains in Deep Zoom Zermatt and the paintings in Deep Zoom van Gogh, Cézanne and Monet I realized that it would be cool to replace the traditionally slow loading and low resolution Flash 360° object viewers with a Silverlight Deep Zoom one.
First, I wrote a prototype of the player to check the speed and it was quickly clear that it would be perfectly suitable for a 360° player. Next, we had to find a good subject. We tried cars but soon we realized that a nice lady would be even better to spin around :). Starting with a shooting of a colleague and uploading the player to Azure, we went to the Swiss television “SF” to see what they thought about it. SF is the producer of Miss Switzerland election and they quickly took the opportunity to implement a new fun experience in their portal.
Deal done and ready to go. A couple of weeks after we were on a flight to Madeira Island (Portugal), carrying more than 80 KGs of photo equipment and with the high hopes to achieve our goal.
The whole idea is to show the 12 candidates in super high resolution without any Photoshop correction and let you judge the Misses like you were standing 10 cm away from them.
The solution is composed by three parts:
The big challenge consisted on how to get very high resolution pictures of the girls. For the panorama the only way was to take as many pictures as possible and stitch them together. We opted for a Canon 5D II, 21 Mpixels with a 400mm F4 lens on a Manfrotto geared head. We took 4 rows of 20 pictures each for a final output of 650 Mpixels.
Eventually, we used the latest Microsoft ICE stitching software that had a couple of killer features making the project easier to achieve: force a matrix (e.g. 4 x 20) when stitching and exporting the result in very large (> 4GB) Photoshop file for the final touchup. The challenge in this case was to make the reflection on the pool match the Misses, considering that the reflections were taken a few minutes after the Miss photo. In two cases we had to use the Photoshop CS5 Puppet-Wrap feature to move the feet in order to match the model.
+ = The challenging reflection problem.
Exporting from Photoshop to Deep Zoom was done with the Microsoft Research HDMake 64 bit plug-in.
For the 360° we wanted to achieve a head shot and a full body shot on the same picture requiring a minimum 50 Mpixels resolution. Stitching would be problematic, risky and time consuming. We opted to use a medium format digital camera, the Hasselblad H3D 50 Mpixels camera. At a whopping 33’000 USD body only and needing a spare one too, wasn’t a cheap choice but definitely worth it.
Noemie - left the full frame; right 100% pixel crop
We wanted to create an almost surreal light and be sure that we could repeat the shooting if something went wrong. We opted to use one Elinchrom Ranger AS Speed with a Deep Octa as a main and one Elinchrom Quadra with the standard reflector as a rim light. Once the setup was done the shooting was quite straight forward, each miss should rotate at 30° steps standing on the center of the check board. The camera’s resolution is so high that we even could up-res the photos from 50 to 100 Mpixels using Bicubic algorithm for higher zoom possibility. We had 2 hours to take 12 photos for all the 12 candidates. Boy, what a stress! Not processing though, since we had Deep Zoom Composer.
Hans Stuhrmann www.byte-into.ch, photographing Kerstin
The third Miss project should be a pivot which is a collection of the candidate’s data combined with more pictures. These were done with the available light around or staged outdoor with strobes.
Shooting was done with the Hasselblad H3D, a Canon 1D IV and a 5D II. Lighting was with two head Elinchrom Ranger and a two head Elinchrom Quadra. We used the Excel Pivot Collection tool to create the pivot datasets.
Myself photographing Jennifer P.
The solution was built in Silverlight using Expression Blend 4 and Visual Studio 2010.
Some interesting figures:
The hotel room transformed into a warehouse.
The obligatory fun photo: myself, Jasmin, Hans in a “James Bond” pose.
Did you know that during her study Miss Switzerland was sharing an appartment with other flatmates thanks to the free webportal www.sharehome.ch?