When should I consider shooting these types of images for my highrise project?
The answer is now. Our average shoot takes place 1-3 years prior to construction. Most clients first use our images for investor presentations, entitlement packages, site positioning, VR/3D animations, price determination studies and architectural design planning. Sales/marketing are usually the final departments using SkyPan panoramic photography.
We're not sure what we need exactly in our development stage.
Working with SkyPan is a process. Initially we’re contracted to produce mid-day aerial views at select heights so the development team can share interactive panoramic links. Frequently, we’re contracted to followup with dramatic times of day coverage including sunrise, sunset, dusk at different elevations or positions over the future building footprint. Additionally we’re asked to produce Gigapans.
What is a Gigapan and why do i need this?
Sales office print murals such as backlit Duratrans require Gigapan coverage which is multiple rows & columns of Raw digital frames. This is a custom service that is scheduled once a client has detailed specifications including mural type/size/resolution, angle/height of view and time of day. SkyPan maintains a different robot/mount system for lifting multiple cameras to produce Gigapans.
What is the best time of day to shoot?
If you don’t want any shadows to obscure the view of the areas surrounding your project, we recommend shooting midday during the summer months. If you want a more dramatic, mood image (“golden hour”) you can schedule the shoot during times of the day when the sun is lower in the sky. Most of our clients are intent on showing the “true view” of their project in every direction and during full daylight. Thanks to new technologies we can now shoot close to sunrise, sunset or at dusk (also termed magic hour) when building lights match the sky in brightness levels.
How do I avoid the appearance of large building shadows in the image?
In the northern hemisphere during the summer, the sun is closest to being directly overhead creating the shortest shadows. In the winter, the sun is at its lowest angle and therefore casts the longest shadows. Optimal months for even lighting occur between April and September, otherwise shadows and sun-flare on one side of the full 360 image could appear.
What if my shoot day has terrible weather?
As with all location-based productions, we vigilantly monitor weather conditions in order to shoot on the best day, usually one that’s sunny with excellent visibility and low humidity. Some projects, however, require overcast or high cloud layer conditions for best results. We always build in one extra day on location to cover delays due to weather. That day is included in your project price.
What if you can't use SkyPan robots due to wind or high altitudes where there are FAA restrictions & safety issues like in Midtown Manhattan?
SkyPan’s roots began in 1988 when we developed the systems for rigging manned helicopters with panoramic film cameras. Today we use improved digital systems, especially in NYC and other major cities. We’ve worked with the same experienced pilots for 20+ years who fly nonturbine aircraft in pre-approved locations & elevations. Many projects are produced using only manned helicopters.
What if it’s really windy on my shoot day?
We can operate in wind that is consistent (not gusty) of up to 20 knots. With higher wind speeds, or gusty conditions, because of the difficulty of controlling a lightweight aircraft, we cannot guarantee the same excellent photographic results. We don’t normally schedule without favorable wind predictions. If wind becomes a factor during your shoot, a decision to reschedule can be made at that time.
What size digital file will I receive?
We output full VR360 digital imagery or traditional panoramics starting at 24000 x 12000 pixels in flattened dimensions allowing full interactive navigation including image zooming & multiple projector use for presentations/sales displays. We also create EQ files based on 3D/rendering studio needs and precropped frames which mimic specific future views in compass directions. Other deliveries include full unbranded interactive VR360’s for Flash & IOS platforms.
How can you shoot dusk (20 mins past sunset) from a helicopter or robot?
SkyPan is a technology company - we’ve innovated systems used by no other company worldwide. Since 2011 our dusk aerial panoramic business has exploded & expanded thru new developments in optics, robot stabilization & wireless communications. However, due to the high ASA sensor requirements our dusk panoramics have limitations regarding image noise that is noticeable when extreme zooming or large print applications.
Additionally, we cannot shoot time exposures from a moving robot system. Fast shutter speeds are still required, therefore dusk aerials cannot drag the shutter for 30 seconds or more, which is common for tripod rooftop camera photography. No streaking lights in streets, no overexposed interior lighting, no supersaturated skies, no HDR (high dynamic range) AND the ability to only shoot one height per dusk. If you contract SkyPan for dusk aerial 360s you are obligated to understand & accept these limitations.
Are there any other limitations to this system?
The SkyPan Remote Piloted Vehicle system (RPV) is a highly-specialized system that incorporates many technical factors to achieve the desired client result. As with all proprietary technologies, we are bound by certain limitations and factors. Also, the normal copyright and permission issues that apply to all of our photography assignments apply to our imagery. These factors are part of our general Terms and Conditions, which we want every client to understand before the project begins.
Is there anything else I should know before my project begins?
We are totally committed to using our best skills and the latest technologies to create amazing results on every SkyPan project. Our team includes seasoned experts from every field of piloting, robotic engineering, aerial photography and postdigital wizardry.