Photogrammetry: 64 Camera Array Used to Create “Living” 3D Art

Dubbed as being “fearless in his vision” by The Huffington Post, photographer Alexx Henry has always been a trailblazer. Early on in his career, his edgy, boundary-pushing techniques caught the attention of the commercial celebrity and entertainment photography industry, but Henry’s groundbreaking “Living Art” photography has thrust him onto the world stage as a master pioneer.

“Living Art” is a type of 3D motion photography that is achieved by photographing a subject in a 64-camera photobooth. The cameras are wirelessly synced to fire simultaneously and the photographs are then composited together and animated to create the illusion of print in motion. Sound crazy? Watch Henry in action here:

How 3D Motion Photography Works

To understand how Henry’s xxArray™ works, it’s important to understand the principles of photogrammetry, which consists of photographing a subject from different angles and then using 3D mapping software to create a 3D rendering of the subject and animate it.

“Take several high quality photos of the same subject from different angles, then compare points on each of the images,” Henry told Nikon Cinema. “Use those shared points to build a point cloud and depth map to solve the geometry.”

Henry is not the first photogrammetrist, but he is perhaps the first to engineer a more scalable and accessible photogrammetry system for photographing humans, with more than a little help from Nikon. The popular imaging company provided Henry with 64 Nikon D5200 cameras, each equipped with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens, an EH-5b power adapter and EP-5a connector, and a WR-R10 wireless transceiver.


3D mapping software is used to render the final images.

The 15 x 15 setup is relatively simple, although it took Henry and his team an entire two years to perfect the process. Each camera has to be strategically placed around the shooting area to achieve the highest level of geometric accuracy and texture. The cameras are wirelessly synced to a WR-T10 remote transmitter so that all of them fire simultaneously. Afterwards, the images, which measure just short of 15.5 Gigapixels per series, are automatically uploaded onto three different computers and a 12 core for post-processing.

xxarray nikon alexx henry 3d photobooth augmented reality motion still photography

Henry created this image as a moving still for VIVmag.

Based on current trends, Henry believes that 3D imaging is well on its way to becoming the standard in entertainment and commercial photography, especially with the increasing prevalence of tablets and mobile devices.

“This work may seem like a bit of a jump, but it’s really a natural evolution that uses technology to better tell stories,” he said. “Photographers can hop on board the 3D train at any time by harnessing that same curious spirit that got them started with imaging in the first place.”

Alexx Henry is based is Los Angeles. He has won numerous awards for his photography and videography and is credited with producing the first interactive motion feature on the iPad for VIVmag, the first motion movie poster ever shot on a cinema camera, and Outside Magazine’s first motion cover and editorial spread.

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