Pancam is a way of taking very long panoramic images.
With Pancam you can make a 25m long image depicting the whole of Oxford Street that equals a 7 minutes bus ride. Or you can compress a 50 minutes boats ride on the Thames into an image of 8 metres.
How does Pancam work? A sequence of images is taken from a moving vehicle. Central stripes of each consecutive frames are then cut out and joined together to one long image. The whole process can be automatised with common digital devices. A standard DV camera takes on the recording of the image sequence, a PC application takes the video feed and turns it into a static image.
Motion can be represented by displaying a sequence of static images in fast succession. Pancam reverses this process by turning recorded movement into a static image. As such Pancam can only create recognizable images if either the camera is in motion or if the recorded objects are in motion. In contrast a still object becomes an abstract blur of horizontal stripes because only a thin visible stripe of the object gets repeated again and again.
Similar to common photography Pancam demands the user to select and focus on what he wants to capture. The visual movement of objects passing by depends on the movement of the vehicle the camera is mounted on, but even more on the distance between object and camera. The larger the distance for example the slower the 'visual' movement of an object. Think of the mountains close to the horizon which don't seem to move in comparisson to the trees on the roadside which you can hardly see when looking out of a car window.
||Whether close objects or objects far away get joined together coherently is thus dependent on the width of stripes and on the frequency of capturing these stripes. At the same time stripe width and capture frequency also affect the length of the outputed image and as such the mapping between time, captured space and represented space. Both parameters can be adjusted in realtime within the software.
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