You Oughta Be in Pixels

Media Morph: GigaPan

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WHAT IT IS: You've likely seen the images but not known exactly what they're called or how they're made. GigaPan is a technology that helps you take "gigapixel" -- or really high resolution -- panoramic pictures. Created by Carnegie Mellon and Nasa, with support from Google, you'll most likely recognize it from the shot that floated around the internet after Barack Obama's inauguration. Zoom way in to see security cameras mounted on the top of the Capitol dome; zoom all the way out to get a view of the hundreds of thousands assembled on the National Mall. The size of the image, according to photographer David Bergman, is 59,783 by 24,658 pixels.

HOW IT WORKS: It's a simple camera mount, with a cost ranging from $379 to $449, that can be affixed to any digital camera and shoots hundreds or thousands of simultaneous images. Once the images are downloaded to a computer, software called the "GigaPan stitcher" combines them into a single panoramic image. is a site where users can host and share their images.

THE MARKETING ANGLE: Recently, Unilever's Axe became the first brand we know of to use this technology for marketing purposes. It worked with Mekanism to create a GigaPan-based prank, where users could insert their friends' photos into a GigaPan image of the infield at the Kentucky Derby doing any number of embarrassing things. (They called it "the biggest face uploader ever created ... shot at one of the dirtiest places on Earth.") Users then send the image to their friends with a message and, upon zooming in to check out the crowd, their friends would stumble upon themselves.

"There are so many face uploaders out there, going back over the past two to three years, we wanted to do something new," said Creative Director Andre Riccardi.

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