During our Siggraph talk one of the key messages was that we think of HD View as a camera for the web. The slides for the talk are now posted on the Capturing and Viewing Gigapixel Images web page. I’ve pasted a copy of slide 9 below.
Notice that HD View lets you do many of the things you’d expect from your camera, point it in any direction you want, zoom in and out and change the exposure. Since HD View is actually software running on a powerful computer, we can also do some things that are difficult in a real camera. One example is to warp the sensor which has the effect of changing from a perspective capture to an equirectangular capture. The analogue of this in hardware would be to change the lens in your camera from a zoom lens to a fisheye lens. Another example is that we can do more sophisticated tone adjustment, unlike a hardware camera where you set a global shutter speed for the scene, we can expose the scene differently in different regions.
So, I decided to get my HD View camera out and take some pictures. I took 9 pictures and posted them to the VirtualPhoto album on this space. And also to our Flickr page, where I tagged all the photos virtualphoto. In each photo on the Flickr page I’ve added a comment with a permalink back to the original HD View. I had a few thoughts as I was doing this. First, in the span of 10 minutes, I took pictures of a blustery night on the Mall in Washington DC, a picture on a mountaineering trip up Mt. Rainier, a picture on a beautiful afternoon in Vienna and pictures of the new Olympic Stadium in Beijing. It was the next best thing to being there. Second, I was able to compose shots that I never noticed when I took the original pictures. For example this reflection of the Capitol. It is a zoom in on a much larger HD View experience. I took the original snapshots that made up the larger HD View but I didn’t see this image at the time. I was really happy to be able to virtually take it after the fact.
If you find great photos within the HD View collection, or within Zoomify, QTVR, or other immersive imagery (of course please do respect copyrighted imagery), then I encourage you to add them to Flickr with the virtualphoto tag.