Paragliding flight in 360°
This was one of my most difficult panoramas I ever shot.
Although I have been a parachuter doing my military services a long time ago,
this was my first time paragliding and I was very excited.
The reason was, that my client Meventi certainly expected me to come back with that panorama, shot in insight - outside perspective as always, in best quality. Usually actions like this are shot using action-cams with low quality as they can easily be combined in rigs for one-shot-solutions.
Actually, as I was not sure if I could manage to stitch free hand shot fisheye-shots done while flying together with a paragliding pilot... I hired a "360°-photographer using 6 Gopros to shoot a paragliding flight in low-end-quality... as a fallback solution in case I would fail.
As a joke, back in munich , after having done my job in Samerberg - Chiemgau, presenting the results in front of the marketing heads and CEOs of Meventi using a beamer in a big meeting room, I first presented the result of this easy "low end-one-shot-solution"... Terrified faces were looking at me after silently observing the low resolution panorama with kind of "muddy" colors showing up in front of them. Then a feeling of relieve when I switched to my high end result.
Did you notice... all 4 hands are occupied holding straps... so who is taking the picture?
Well, this panorama is not only composed using 4-direction-shots, but these 4 directions were shot several times with different actions taking place. For example the direction shooting right into my face holding the camera using a grip (nodal-point adapter) that usually is fixed on a tripod, holding in arm length distance right in front of my face. The bad thing about this "technique": everything up there is very different from a still standing tripod. Landscape changes as we are flying and my hands are not really a high-quality substitution for a fixed tripod on a floor. As if this wouldn't be difficult enough... level 2 was my foolhardy plan how to hide the camera holding arm (mine).
The first task was to explain my plan to the pilot, who in the same time had to explain many things to me, specially regarding safety issues and when I should run and so on... remember this was my first paragliding flight!
The plan was to remote-control the Sony-camera using a wifi-application on my smartphone which I fixed on the pilot's suit using a thin cord. On my command the pilot pressed the shutter button on the phone, on another command he changed hand holding my smartphone and we did another shot. Correspondingly I changed hands holding the camera in front of my face. To be able to change hands and not covering anything, the camera had to be hold without a safety string. Keep in mind that I am not a rich person...my camera is the most valuable thing I own (I do not own a car)... so You might understand how concentrated I was on holding my cam when flying. Try to think about this when watching the interactive panorama further down... and imagine how I felt when suddenly wifi-connection was interrupted. The pilot untied the string from my phone and gave it to me (while I was also holding my camera)...but we managed to fix this "crisis"... I could get wifi working again... and in the end we landed softly with complete equipment. It took me a weekend to stitch the material.
Click on the image to enlarge interactive 360°!
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