Panoramic photos and video and how to create them

For some time now, newsrooms have taken advantage of web technology to add interactivity to panoramic photos. Interactive panoramas can display a larger image in a smaller amount of space. As panoramic technology becomes more advanced, some news media are pairing 360° panoramas with video to create an immersive experience.

Notably, CNN used interactive video panoramas to illustrate the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti. As the car moves along the street in the embedded video below, online viewers can click and drag the image to change the angle of the camera.

Immersive Media has even more video panoramas from Haiti, including interactive views of damaged streets and crumbling buildings.

The interactive video panorama below was created by Yellowbird, a Netherlands-based company that specializes in interactive 3D technology. BBC News (via) has a detailed explanation of video panoramas, including the special cameras used to create it.

Panoramic photography isn’t limited to video. Interactive photo panoramas have become a popular tool among news media and photographers and don’t require tons of money or complex equipment to create.

For example, The New York Times also created a panoramic view of Haiti by stitching together various photographs and importing them into Flash to create one long interactive panoramic image of Boulevard Jean-Jacques Dessalines. The unique effect pairs the impact of still photos with the sense of space communicated by panoramas.

There are many more interesting interactive panoramas on the web. Panoramas can be used to illustrate a variety of news stories such as this interactive image of a crowd gathered to see U.S. President Barack Obama speak in Berlin or this interactive image of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. This 360° view of Prague, billed as the world’s largest spherical panoramic photo, is hosted by which contains many other captivating panoramas.

While video panoramas are relatively new and require specialized equipment, photo panoramas can be created with just a few tools and a little bit of ingenuity. Check out this previous post for tips on creating interactive panoramas, including how to shoot them with your iPhone.

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