Inauguration From a Balloon at 500 Ft.

Inauguration From a Balloon at 400 Ft.

Inauguration From a Balloon at 400 Ft.


If you’re like me, when you saw the Obama Inauguration, you immediately thought: I’d like to see a video of this scene from a balloon about five hundred feet up.

Well, we here at Loon Theory can help you out with that. (CNN does the satellite image, Loon Theory does the balloon.)

 I think it’s really cool that someone thought this was a good idea.

Digital Design + Imaging Service,  who also do some pretty amazing photography and the 4d pictures with Microsoft Photosynth, are kind enough to provide access to the balloon shots.

The balloon link above goes to the original Inauguration video and this link goes to the balloon video menu.


It seems the primary purpose of the balloon cameras was to assist in crowd estimates and to provide otherwise unattainable angles for the 4d images CNN used to asemble “The Moment”, a multi source, digitally stitched together set of images using Photosynth.

From an article on cnet by Elinor Mills :

Crowd counting is an art,” said Curt Westergard, president of Digital Design and Imaging Service, which took photos of the event with 360-degree spherical panoramic cameras attached to balloons bobbing 500 feet above and a few blocks away from the White House. Fiber-optic cables tethered the balloons to a special launch trailer, which transmitted live shots to CNN.

“We’re trying to contribute some of the oblique-angle photos of the scene that might see things under trees that satellite photos might miss (or) people standing in alcoves,” he said.

The cameras took the shots between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. EST, when they were forced to shut down due to air space regulations. The balloons, which measure about 12.5 feet in diameter, only rose to 500 feet instead of 800 feet because of issues with President Bush’s helicopter, according to Westergard.

Photosynth requires registration and a download which I did not do so  check it out at your own risk.

I have not yet found out how “Main Concept” enters the picture.


OK, so Main Concept , with the same logo as on the video, create audio and video codecs.


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