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Archive 2013 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?
  
 
ryan brown
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p.1 #1 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


Hey guys/gals,

I've got an interesting project that I'll be tackling, but I have no idea where to start (I'm a director of photography for film/video; photography is usually just a hobby). As the title says, I need to shoot an ultra high resolution photo. Subject is 8ft tall by 5ft wide, with a lot of intricate detail, and I need to be able to have it printed out at life size with as much detail as possible.

I'll be renting everything needed to complete the task, including a studio here in L.A. for a day, and of course, a camera.

What are my options here as far as camera's go? what camera could achieve this and also be found at a local rental house?

Like I said, I'm starting from scratch with little to zero knowledge on high rez photography, so any and all tips/advice are very welcome.

cheers

-brown



Jan 13, 2013 at 03:05 AM
sjms
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p.1 #2 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


there are a few Hi Res machines out there.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/766903-REG/Hasselblad_70490520_H4D_200MS_Digital_Camera.html

this would probably be the easiest to use to begin with

and that's why you hire a photographer familiar with said gear




Jan 13, 2013 at 03:35 AM
Teper
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p.1 #3 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


A perhaps cheaper option would be to rent a 5D mk2 or mk3, a good lens and stitch together an image, using Photoshop. The result should a very large high resolution photo. This option may not be possible, but is cheaper than medium format. All the gear should be very easy to source.


Jan 13, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Paul Mo
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p.1 #4 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


sjms wrote:
and that's why you hire a photographer familiar with said gear



Exactly. But check their work thoroughly before hiring them. You want to see evidence that they can deliver what you need. Also make sure they are friendly and accommodating, not stuck-up or in a hurry. In essence, a craftsman.

Teper wrote:
A perhaps cheaper option would be to rent a 5D mk2 or mk3, a good lens and stitch together an image, using Photoshop. The result should a very large high resolution photo. This option may not be possible, but is cheaper than medium format. All the gear should be very easy to source.


That may be beyond the OP's technical ability. But it is possible, it all depends on the desired quality of the finished product.



Jan 13, 2013 at 03:45 AM
ryan brown
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p.1 #5 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


Appreciate the responses so far, and please keep 'em coming. I should clarify, this is a project that I've been hired to shoot by a client. So... I'm the photographer who's been hired to make this happen

Yes, I'm thinking medium format. I own a 5D2 and a 7D, and a slew of lenses, but this is a project for a client of mine who wants everything done top notch. I have a modest budget to work with of a few thousand dollars, but that's all in, including a printed prototype picture (all of this is for just one picture, eventually printed in real size to a thick plastic or vinyl).

I'm very knowledgable with cameras in general, continuous studio lighting, and photoshop. I work with expensive (100k+) motion cameras on a weekly basis, but almost zero experience with medium format photography cameras (I used to assist a photographer who shot medium, but that was 10 years ago). I'm saying this stuff not to sound cocky or anything, but just to give more details about what I'm trying to achieve, what I have to work with, and the level of my experience.

So, hopefully these added details help describe a little better what I'm trying to achieve.

Thanks!



Jan 13, 2013 at 04:30 AM
Paul Mo
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p.1 #6 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


Well then. Download the rental catalog PDF from here: http://www.samys.com/g/Samy-Camera-Rental-Department/2218.html and look on page 7.

If you are used to studios, but perhaps not monolights, then all that remains is a high res camera and lens, lighting and the trickiest (to me) alignment; getting the camera dead square to the subject. You'll want to not quite fill the frame, reducing distortion while getting into the subject. Absolutely isolate all vibration; everyone stands dead still the tripod is solid, IR remote release, mirror lock up.

Ghetto style, I would take my friends Nikon D800, 85mm, tripod and step ladder to see the screen easily, and shoot some test shots of a similarly detailed scene. Fine tune the lens profile and stitch in Photoshop.

http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/medium-format/hasselblad/hasselblad-h4d-40-kit

I don't know where, apart from Berlin, you can rent a Hasselblad H4D-200MS but you could look here:

http://www.hasselbladusa.com/about-hasselblad/rental-locator-contacts/united-states/california.aspx



Jan 13, 2013 at 09:10 AM
mpmendenhall
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p.1 #7 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


Along with medium format cameras, there are also large-format scan backs that produce >100 MPx images in a single scan. This might be a suitable option for a static/still-life subject.

Stitching is another good option for potentially unlimited resolution (assuming a static subject). You can practice this beforehand on, e.g., a brick wall, to figure out how to get the appropriate resolution. When you say "as much detail as possible," what do you really mean? A 300dpi print that can be scrutinized from close up? A wall-hanging that will never be viewed from closer than 2m away? A billboard/poster that will be viewed from >10m away? "As much detail as possible" would entail using an electron microscope (if not an AFM), so you probably don't really want that.

Is your subject perfectly still, or will it be moving? Is it flat (e.g. large painting reproduction), or does it have depth?



Jan 13, 2013 at 09:31 AM
RCicala
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p.1 #8 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


If you really want the print to be as detailed as the original, personally I'd set up a grid to assure square alignment and stitch together a series of 6-12 macro shots. That would give much higher resolution and probably less distortion than even the most expensive medium format system.

There are two way's I can think of two square the system. One, if you can hang a small optical mirror over the subject you could put a pencil laser in the shoe mount (making sure it's square, of course) and adjust a 3 way tripod head so the laser is coming directly back on itself.

The other would be set up a square with right angle strings in a grid - taking shots and evaluating them in Photoshop on a laptop - if you're square all the string lengths in the image will be equilength. That's basically the method we use to square our cameras to targets for optical testing.

With either method, a 3 way head like http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/244282-REG/Manfrotto_405_405_Pro_Digital_Geared.html is invaluable for this kind of thing.

Of course, you could square the images in post, but that's going to drop resolution which sounds like it would be critical.



Jan 13, 2013 at 03:16 PM
 

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Micky Bill
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p.1 #9 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


There are different approaches to the project depending on the subject matter and the final use .
If it is a photo of a person you can't shoot off a grid and stitch, you'd need to shoot with a camera with a large sensor. If the subject is a static shot then you can shoot multi frames and stitch to your hearts content.
The final use is a consideration as well a display print will require more detail depending on the viewing distance. If the viewer is three feet away you'd require a huge file, if the viewer is 20 feet away you can use almost any DSLR.

Consider a scanning back or renting a blad with whatever the biggest digital back is these days. If you are not familiar with stitching it sometimes isn't as easy as it first seems. Fwiw if you do stitch and the subject is a flat or sort of flat item be sure to shoot with a long lens from a good distance away to minimize distortion



Jan 13, 2013 at 03:26 PM
ryan brown
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p.1 #10 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


AWESOME info guys! Exactly what I'm looking for. I've got a month or so to prepare, so I'll take everything into consideration and go from there.

More details I should have included: It's a sculpture that my client wants replicated to hang on his wall for reference while the original is being shown in a gallery for a few months. It's a static, cylinder object that stands 8ft tall by about 5ft wide, and It has intricate small details. For example: imagine it's a round clothing rack with a bunch of 'busy design' sweaters hanging on it, and the final product needs to hold the details of each individual sweater. I'm sure it'll be viewed up close, but not completely scrutinized from 6 inches away. I know I don't want to go any lower than 150dpi, but I'm wondering if I need a full 300?

I'll go over each of these responses and get back later tonight with replies.

cheers!



Jan 13, 2013 at 06:56 PM
ryankarr
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p.1 #11 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


96" x 60" @ 300 dpi is about 500 MP is it not? Hope you have a good computer.


Jan 13, 2013 at 07:55 PM
mpmendenhall
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p.1 #12 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


The 3-dimensionality of the subject will add another significant layer of difficulty, assuming you want an everything-in-sharp-focus, >100ppi sharp image. Even though you may be able to get sufficient pixels from a single image with a sufficiently large camera (high-end medium format or large-format scan back), no imaging system will produce critically sharp depth of field over the ~2.5' depth of the object. You will probably need to do focus stacking (another thing you can practice ahead of time) from several exposures. Since depth-of-field is likely to be a stronger limiting factor than raw pixellage for detail over the object, this may favor the use of a larger camera that can capture enough pixels in one shot rather than a panorama of smaller shots (requiring both panorama stitching and focus stacking adds complication).

In any case, you should bring along your normal DSLR, tethered to a laptop with a lens that can frame the subject in one shot, to help in setting up the lighting just right. Be sure to bring a color calibration target with you, and get several test images with it included in the final setup.



Jan 13, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Roland W
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p.1 #13 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


For a static subject like the sculpture you describe, I would suggest you plan on stitching images taken with a high resolution DSLR. You can take the shots manually with a multirow panorama head package, or consider a GigaPan device to shoot the full multirow panorama sequence automatically. Allow for plenty of overlap, and make sure your head is leveled and the tripod setup is stable so the sequence will stitch well.

Get lots of good lighting from some studio strobes that have modeling lights. With two or three strobes, you can adjust the lighting the way you want using the modeling lights, and then use the power of the strobes to get lots of light on the subject. That should allow you to get it all in focus because you can shoot stopped down a fair ways due to the high power of the strobes. The lighting should be very reproducable, so multiple images in a pan sequence should match exposure well.

Chose a plain background, perhaps with background paper or a background cloth, and try to get it a ways away from the back of the sculpture so it goes out of focus. Select the background color that works best for the situation, and perhaps one that your customer approves of. It is easier to use a dark or black background and let it stay dark than to provide all the strobe light to light a light colored background properly.

Use a high quality lens for a DSLR, like a 100 mm macro lens, and with that focal length you should be far enough away to not have perspective distortion issues. You can take several sequences with different lighting or exposure to have some backup if you need it. The file that gets stitched together can end up much bigger than what you can do with a medium format camera, and plenty big enough for a giant sized print. If you can have plenty of time shooting the subject, you may want to do a preliminary stitch right on site to get comfortable with what you shot, and to get customer approval on the spot.

You should also talk to the place where you expect to get the print made. They may have suggestions on how big a file is actually needed. And remember that quality printing companies use special software that can work with a smaller file and still make a large print that is often acceptable. You will have a trade off of how good a print your customer wants and how much effort you want to put in to this.



Jan 14, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #14 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


Hire someone with an 8x10 film camera, shoot it with hot lights and have BowHaus scan and print it.


Jan 14, 2013 at 02:34 AM
ryan brown
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p.1 #15 · How to go about shooting an ultra high rez photo?


Really great advice here, and I appreciate it. Got a lot of great info from every response here, and I think I've got plenty to get me started on doing some test shoots. I'm going to do a mock setup in my living room and test out the stitching process with my 5D, then go from there.

Again, all the responses were awesome and helpful, and I sincerely appreciate everyone taking the time! I'll respond back to this thread with updates along the way, and any and all info I've learned to help the process

cheers


Roland W wrote:
For a static subject like the sculpture you describe, I would suggest you plan on stitching images taken with a high resolution DSLR. You can take the shots manually with a multirow panorama head package, or consider a GigaPan device to shoot the full multirow panorama sequence automatically. Allow for plenty of overlap, and make sure your head is leveled and the tripod setup is stable so the sequence will stitch well.

Get lots of good lighting from some studio strobes that have modeling lights. With two or three strobes, you can adjust the lighting the way you want
...Show more



Jan 15, 2013 at 07:51 PM





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