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Getty Images Puts Robots and 3D into Olympic Frenzy

July 16, 2012


With the 2012 Summer Olympics set to kick off in London, it's obvious the Games will produce a whole lot of noteworthy images. They're likely to produce such a number, in fact, that Getty Images is already tooling up for the Summer Games with a variety of new tools, including 3D cameras and robotic cameras as well.

Getty was reportedly involved in the development of a handheld 3D camera array that can hold two different cameras, complete with lens assemblies. While most often the setup uses a pair of Canon (News - Alert) 5D Mark III SLR cameras, it can also work with 1D x cameras.

The two pictures are then combined to create a 3D image in the StereoPhoto Maker program. This in turn has given rise to some new considerations in terms of composition; more specifically, just what works and what doesn't work in taking 3D shots.

As it turns out, some pictures that might have looked great in 2D don't make the transition to 3D quite so well.

But it's not just 3D that will be making the Olympic images pop; robotic cameras will be making a much bigger splash this year than in previous events. Under most circumstances, Olympic photographers got access to the roofs of stadium events, allowing for great coverage of the whole field directly beneath them. This year, however, there is no provision for roof access, so Getty Images, and other firms, are turning to robots to take the shots they simply can't.

Getty's system, designed with the help of robotics industry leaders, allows photographers to do everything they normally would with a camera, like adjusting focus, engaging the zoom lens, changing the camera's position and so on – all without having to be anywhere near the camera.

What's more is that Getty isn't the only firm working on such a project; reports indicate Reuters (News - Alert) is also working on a robotic camera rig, and that many photographers are already looking into the possibility of robotic cameras as a way to get the best shots no matter where they physically are during the event they're shooting.

Advances in technology are all geared toward capturing the images that best express the Olympic spirit as a whole. While the focus is, as ever, on the human element, the technological side of things simply makes it easier for users to get the best shots from where ever they happen to be, not necessarily right behind the camera.

It's good to see photographers embracing the possibilities that modern technology has to offer, as opposed to shying away. Hopefully the photographs yielded from the Olympics, and other events to follow, will prove to be well worth the difficulties of adapting to the technology

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Edited by Braden Becker