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GigaPan at Glasgow 2014: Kevin McGarry

GigaPan at Glasgow 2014: Kevin McGarry
6th October 2014 Steve Martin

Commercial Photographer Kevin McGarry was recently commissioned to photograph and document the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games for Capture the Event Ltd. Having worked for individual well known athletes, in cycling and running at London 2012, Kevin wanted to take a different perspective on Glasgow 2014. He had been using the GigaPan Epic Pro in various Landscape projects and wanted to use it to take something memorable at the Opening Ceremony and at a few venues throughout the games.

GigaPan at Glasgow 2014: Kevin McGarry

He wrote to the organising committee at Glasgow 2014 and supported his proposal with images he had taken at London 2012, the Moonwalk in Edinburgh and in Vancouver on film sets and in the mountains surrounding Banff. The proposal was passed on to Wyn Fanshawe, Director at Capture the Event’s services who then met with Kevin and set out a proposal to ‘Capture every athlete, every performer and spectator’.

GigaPan at Glasgow 2014: Kevin McGarry“I started to plan for the Commonwealth Games by attending several football matches at Parkhead, the venue of the Opening Ceremony, and the Velodrome to take images with a DSLR and the GigaPan kit. As the Games opening week neared, I attended Hampden Park to cover the British Athletics event which was also a test for Glasgow 2014. This helped a great deal as I was able to see the access and media areas and also plan the best possible camera positions for Glasgow 2014. It was also good to see where the evening light started in the stadium and where it ended up with some knowledge of how the stadia would be laid out for the ceremonies and competitions. At one point it was even suggested that I be harnessed to the roof!GigaPan at Glasgow 2014: Kevin McGarry

To ensure that I got the shots I wanted for my client, the file sizes required for this project also meant that my existing DSLR would not be suitable for the job. I also wanted to be sure to have the best exposure latitude available in a digital capturing device. The potential to make a ‘one off’ image that answered the brief took me back to when I first used a Phase One camera whilst working for the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair. It is a historic building and the club had spent a small fortune on the refit of some of the main rooms. After a great introduction from the Phase One team, I was ready to get on with the clients two-day shoot. The marketing manager had a tethered iPad on her desk as I was working away in the Ballroom so she could then rate the images or come and see the images inspired by what she saw.”GigaPan at Glasgow 2014: Kevin McGarry

Kevin contacted us at Teamwork Digital, as his preferred Phase One supplier and asked what were the current solutions available to him. Having carefully considered the options, Kevin decided to run with the IQ280, due to it’s larger CCD size and the fact that this would give a maximum 2 minute exposure time. Sensor+ adds the ability to capture at much higher ISO’s for available light in what might be tricky and unexpected situations. In these events, Glasgow 2014 and Capture the Event would still want great image quality, plus the athletes and general public would have the chance to buy the images online.GigaPan at Glasgow 2014: Kevin McGarry

So, having chosen the correct tools for the job and turning up at the Opening Ceremony rehearsals to take test images, Kevin was able to work tetherless, using the Wi-Fi connectivity and an iPad to check focus, white balance and rate his images on the fly. He also enjoyed the new touchscreen interface which was easy to use that allowed him to navigate the system easily by the screen or the unique Phase One 4 button interface. Even though the RAW files were 40 megabytes bigger than his DSLR, previewed images loaded faster than he expected, when viewed and zoomed in to for accurate checking of details.
Kevin also noted “The live preview facility has a knack to it and I am sure in future it will help me focus, but on this trip the super bright and large viewfinder was invaluable for good composition and enabled me to work faster and get the shots I wanted, enhancing the creative opportunities that I was able to shoot and offer my client. With the screen on most of the time the unit was a little hungry with the batteries and I am glad I took the option to get some extra. This ensured I was able to work to the specification stated by the reseller and get the shots I wanted. I had hoped for a power supply near the location but with a million other requests going in to the Operations Team and the Photo Manager, plus the need to explain what a ‘GigaPan’ is without giving the game/image away, this was not granted!

GigaPan at Glasgow 2014: Kevin McGarryThere was also a work schedule to follow after the Opening Ceremony so I had to cover hockey and netball which made me push the Phase One kit and try the range of Lenses and ISO limits. I did want to try it out at gymnastics and squash but sadly never made it to these events.

Phase One Capture One ScreenshotOnce back in the Media centre and sometimes at the location the images were taken (tethered to a Laptop, opened in Capture One) and when reviewing the RAW files, on a professional LCD screen, the great detail and colour was clear to see. The auto import feature, where information from the IQ back (star rating, white balance) applied during capture was read by Capture One Pro 7 software, allowed the images to be seen straight away. This feature  helped my work flow go seamlessly. The IQ RAW files 14 stop exposure latitude is amazing, and likewise the resolution. There is such a vast amount of superb detail captured that makes the pictures stronger and again allow a vast range of output opportunities.Phase One Capture One Screenshot

The auto focus and workflow technique requires paying intention to it, but once you understand the “less is more” approach, it is an incredible creative release. I look forward to working with Teamwork Digital in the future. Their support, and the fact that the IQ2 range comes with a 5 year warranty, not only on the back, but also on the camera and lenses, meets all my needs. I know I will get the shots that both myself and my client want. They are already greatly impressed with the results and have plans to commission myself and Teamwork Digital at more major events.”

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