Digital Cameras

New York captured from the air in 100-megapixels-per-frame, 12K panoramic video

Aerial footage of New York City in 12K by Phil Holland
Aerial footage of New York City in 12K by Phil Holland
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Aerial footage of New York City in 12K by Phil Holland
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Aerial footage of New York City in 12K by Phil Holland
Aerial footage of New York City in 12K by Phil Holland
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Aerial footage of New York City in 12K by Phil Holland
Shotover's JP de Lespinois pulls the gimbal pin before the 12K film rig gets airborne
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Shotover's JP de Lespinois pulls the gimbal pin before the 12K film rig gets airborne
Three RED Weapon 8K VV Monstro cameras, arrayed sideways in a Shotover K1 Hammerhead gyro-stabilized gimbal
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Three RED Weapon 8K VV Monstro cameras, arrayed sideways in a Shotover K1 Hammerhead gyro-stabilized gimbal
Three displays in the helicopter cockpit let the team get a preview of what the combined image will look like
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Three displays in the helicopter cockpit let the team get a preview of what the combined image will look like

New York is one of the most filmed cities on Earth, but rarely has it been captured in such detail. This staggering footage from cinematographer Phil Holland shows the Big Apple from above in ridiculously sharp 12K image capture. That means every frame is a 100-megapixel photo.

Filming the footage was no small endeavor. Holland used three RED Weapon 8K VV Monstro cameras with Tokina 35mm T1.5 prime lenses. The cameras were mounted in a Shotover K1 Hammerhead gyro-stabilized gimbal, each on its side to capture a slice of the action in portrait orientation. The cameras were painstakingly aligned and synchronized to operate off a single control unit, and the whole thing was rigged up onto a helicopter.

Shotover's JP de Lespinois pulls the gimbal pin before the 12K film rig gets airborne
Shotover's JP de Lespinois pulls the gimbal pin before the 12K film rig gets airborne

After footage from the three cameras was shot over the city, the challenge was then to combine the three images for each frame into a single panoramic image. The first step was to align, warp, stitch and blend the images. The resulting frame was then put into a rectilinear projection to remove a bulging fisheye effect, then that projection was cut down into a 12K rectangle and hit with some mild perspective correction.

Aerial footage of New York City in 12K by Phil Holland
Aerial footage of New York City in 12K by Phil Holland

The results? Mind blowing. Full-screen the video below on the biggest display you've got access to. It's been downsampled to a mere 8K for display on YouTube, but we feel like you can make do, given that even the largest seven-story-high IMAX theater screens still only project digital video in stereo 4K.

You can see people buzzing about in the windows of skyscrapers. You can read the billboards and count the cars on Seventh Avenue. It's absolutely magnificent, provided you don't struggle with vertigo. Enjoy.

Above NYC - Filmed in 12K

Source: PHFX Phil Holland

3 comments
guzmanchinky
I have a 4k laptop display and it's stunning. But can the eye even differentiate 4k and 8k or yet 12k on something even as large as a movie theater screen?
MikeVidal
Incredible detail, can't wait to watch this on my 4K UHD tv
Jason Catterall
And after all that, it's uploaded to YouTube of all places, and at a lowly 1080p! What's the point?