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Revolutionising stock imagery: Getty’s latest technologies and interview with Hannah Peters

Stock photography: It’s not just cheesy images of actors doing stupid things.

Getty Images, one of the leading global stock agencies, took over one of the “pre-event” wings at the top of Auckland museum last Friday, revealing to those present a package of innovative technologies the agency has been recently cooking up.

From drone technology to interactive 360° content, a number of new technologies were unveiled to the public, including on-trend developments such as real-time distribution and virtual reality.

Flying with my Phantom from AlexD75 on Vimeo.

The most interesting technology was the Interactive 360° gigapixel content – spherical, interactive photography that have been used to cover events such as the London Olympics.

Shooting high quality images in 360°, all of the images are collated together and stitched into a single image, allowing viewers to zoom in and out, as well as tag themselves.

Click here to see a 360 of the Auckland museum (via Stuff.co.nz)

A partnership with Oculus VR has also meant users will be offered “a deeply engaging virtual reality experience of enchanting creative stills, alongside some of the world’s biggest moments in news, sports and entertainment”, according to a press release.

Creative In Focus: 2015 Visual Trends from Getty Images on Vimeo.

The Creative In Focus book is Getty Images’ annual predictor of the most impactful visual and cultural trends for the coming year. It sets the stage for what the world will look like tomorrow, based upon the research and insights our global creative teams are tracking today.

This video touches on the six trends that will be featured in advertising and visual communications in 2015 and beyond.

Discover more about these trends in the full Creative In Focus eBook here: gtty.im/2015visualtrends


Hannah Peters

Hannah Peters, an Auckland-based staff photographer with Getty Images, sat down with Idealog for a short chat on what it’s like to be shooting down under and how technology is changing the landscape of commercial photography.

Idealog: So what’s like going from film to digital?
Well, it was a massive step for everyone. People think I’m too young to do film, but I did it for a few years, and digital has just changed the way everyone works. People’s demands went up for speed – I predominantly shoot for sport, and that’s all about meeting deadlines. Shooting pictures and delivering them instantly; editing as you’re shooting, basically.

For large events such as the Olympics or FIFA World Cup, Getty has everything all cabled up, so the images are all going instantly to editors. The 100m final was run, and [Getty] had an image out within 10 seconds of Bolt winning. It’s high-pressure, and because at that top-end situation it’s very competitive. It’s all about who gets the pictures out the fastest. Back in the film days, you never had that.

Now with 360, virtual reality stuff, it’s just really exciting. It’s a new way to interact with people and showing a new way to see an image or bring people in. It’s really cool.

You guys are shooting in some very remote locations, and the photos are still getting out almost instantly.
Yeah, definitely. I guess now it’s all driven by customer demand. So if everyone’s wanting the images the moment it’s happened – a skier winning a gold medal – you want [the image] off the slopes instantly. We have tech guys at those big events that will spend days in the snow pre-event cabling the whole mountain. It’s a huge thing – cabling the whole course, setting up wireless hubs and ports for us to plug in to – I’m sure it’s just going to get better and faster.

And as the cameras improve, it will get better. We do wireless transmit, so I can be shooting a game in Auckland and have an editor in Sydney editing my stuff. As long as I have a strong wireless connection, it can go out just like that.

The last one I did was the Super Rugby final. We had the winning picture out within a couple of minutes of the whistle being blown. And that was a guy sitting in Sydney just waiting. It’s impressive, and it’s the way you’ve got to do it to keep up with the demand.

There’s a bit of a nostalgic look to what photography used to be and what it is now. What’s your take on it?
I think there’s still something about film, from a purist sort of angle. I think a true photographer always appreciates the way it always used to be. But I guess it’s so competitive the industry is now, you just have to go with it or you get left behind.

I’ve got a friend doing wet plate photography, which is basically how photography started, and people are trying to bring that back. But people aren’t necessarily going to be making money out of it. It’s a fine line, I guess.

It’s taking a turn for the more artisanal, hobbyist sort of thing?
Yeah. I have a medium-format film camera, but I’d only use it for a special portrait shoot. I wouldn’t be using that for my day-to-day job. Plus, it’s really expensive.

So what’s it like being a photographer down in the bottom of the world?
It’s mostly about having good communication. My boss is located in Sydney, and we’ll get together about once every year, and go through portfolios, talk about business, that sort of thing. The coolest thing about working from here is that if I get to go to a major event, I get to be a part of a massive group of photographers, and you all get together. You feel faraway sometimes, but then Getty are quite good at internal communication, and we’re all looking at each others’ pictures anyway, so you sort of know what everyone else has been up to.

And you put in as much as you get out, really. You could be secluded, but these days I don’t find Auckland to be as remote as people might think. And there’s a good group of photographers here – we all see each other on the weekend at sporting events.

How would younger photographers get to where you are now with an international agency?
Practice. A lot of perseverance. A lot of the pros I know haven’t been to university; they’ve just learnt on the job. If you’ve got that natural passion, you’ve just got to stick with it.

And practice, practice, practice.

What’s your go-to kit out on assignment?
For sports, a 400m F2.8 [lens] with a Canon 1DX [body]. I’ll usually be running the sidelines with a 400m lens in one hand, and a 70-200m lens in the other.

That’s heavy!
Oh yea. All the staff at Getty has a 400 – that’s part of our standard kit. It’s the main long lens I use.

What about the dream kit for a passion project?
Oh, I’d just take a 50m F1.2 lens. I love that lens. Or the new 24-70m lens. It’s versatile, it’s sharp, and it’s lightweight.

Seconds out @p_i_tt_y #super8 #boxing #fightnight #fight #bradpitt

A photo posted by HannahPeters (@hannahpetersnz) on

The jack-of-all-trades minion who kind of does a bit of everything, he's also our former resident geek and Reddit fiend. He's now disappeared off somewhere in to the Matrix, but every now and then he resurfaces for a random guest article.

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