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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Making of the SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft PictureBubbles Virtual Tour

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Interior (with refrigeration unit)

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft—click thumbnail image to view full panorama

PictureBubbles° was hired by SpaceX to document the interior of their now famous Dragon Spacecraft. We had shot an engineering sample of the outer shell when we covered the Wired NextFest in 2007, but for our last shoot, the actual module was assembled, rich with modular interior features.

Now that SpaceX has announced its plans to visit the International Space Station later this year, they have unveiled the PictureBubbles° panorama that we created. And the LA Times took notice.

This was an incredibly challenging shoot. Not only was the working space limited by cargo racks in the vehicle, but also we had the additional challenge of needing to open the floor hatches. And we needed to make sure that all of the shots would line up in 3D-space so that they could be blended together for the final presentation. We shoot with a tripod, so that took some ingenuity.

Josh Korwin shooting the SpaceX Dragon Capsule

We positioned the camera and tripod in the center of the Dragon spacecraft for most of the shots. But when we started opening the hatches on the floor, there was no longer a place for the tripod to stand. We then shot a series of photos with the tripod elevated off the floor (by inserting the legs into the rigging on the sides). It was makeshift, but it worked extremely well.

The greatest bit of trivia: during some of the spin-arounds, there were two people in the spacecraft at all times: me operating the camera, and a SpaceX engineer moving things that I was not even close to allowed to touch. Bear that in mind while scrolling around.

There is a TON of Photoshop magic hiding how all of that came together, but we’re really proud of it.

Visit our site to see the interactive PictureBubbles° panorama.

posted by Josh Korwin at 1:08 pm  

Monday, October 6, 2008

A strange result

PictureBubbles Panorama Thumbnail

The two panoramas that I shot while atop the 150-foot Solar Telescope at Mt. Wilson were shot from the very same position, but with the tower’s revolving dome facing opposite directions. I decided to try to blend the two panoramas together in order to maximize the amount of “skyspace” in the shot. After some basic alignment, Photoshop gave me an almost ethereal blending result, which I think is more interesting than if I had just managed to remove most of the dome from the shot.

posted by Josh Korwin at 2:04 pm  

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Object Movie: Hooker 100-inch telescope, Mount Wilson Observatory

Object Movie: Hooker 100-inch telescope, Mount Wilson Observatory

(Click the thumbnail image above to open the full-size object movie in a new window.)

Hooker 100-inch telescope
Mount Wilson Observatory, California

Here’s the first glimpse of our PictureBubbles tour of the Mt. Wilson Observatory, out in the mountains north of Los Angeles. Unlike most of our other work, this is an “object movie.” Rather than pivoting around where the viewer stands, like most spherical panoramas, this image allows you to drag across, left to right, and rotate about the focal point. In this case, that focal point is this massive telescope, finished somewhere around 1917.

Making this was quite a lot of fun. Rather than walk around the entire installation at set intervals, Carel was able to set up the tripod in one position while Arthur Vaughan (Deputy Director of the Observatory) and I marked off the floor in 5° intervals. The entire domed turret revolves around the telescope, allowing us to create an image that would be otherwise impossible.

posted by Josh Korwin at 10:24 am  

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