Capturing the Sochi Winter Olympics in 360-degree panoramas

Getty Images Australasia director of photography Stuart Hannagan talks about the challenges, and future, of sports photography

The frozen conditions at Sochi, Russia might be tough on camera equipment and photographers but snapping a panoramic Winter Olympics image that is shared around the world online makes it all worthwhile for Getty Images staff.

Stuart Hannagan, Australasia director of photography and vice president, told Computerworld Australia that his photographers understand the limits their cameras can be pushed to.

“Water protection units are used and the team puts a lot of effort in throughout the night to dry out equipment. To be honest, it can be a hassle but these are expensive pieces of kit so the photographers treat them with plenty of love and respect.”

According to Hannagan, there has been growing demand for 360-degree panorama images from news websites.

“We are building a terrific base of 360-[degree] images. This sets us apart as a photographic agency and allows us to offer our clients a great point of difference.”

Getty Images is also offering post-production treatments for media companies including large format files for magazine double page spreads.

“It is a service we offer which is particularly useful for those websites and publishers that may not have the in-house design resources to do it themselves,” Hannagan said.

Photographers will be shooting the panoramic images in 40MB files.

Looking to the future, he said that the agency may consider real-time delivery of images and photography that is more interactive with social media platforms such as Twitter.

However, Hannagan does not believe that high resolution video stills will replace still photography just yet.

“Just because someone shoots video, that doesn’t mean the still image someone takes from those will be creatively shot or thought provoking. Seeing and then producing a still image is an art that takes years to perfect,” he said.

“At some point the two [video and still photography] may merge but a good stills photographer will still be needed to produce great imagery.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags Olympicsphotographyrussiasports technologyGetty ImagesSochiWinter Olympics 2014

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