PARMA PROJECT: CASE STUDY 2
Parma: From the 17th Century to Modern Times.
by Doug DeRusha, Michelle Bienias
This is the second installment of a two-part case study on the Parma Project
Ascom (Italian Association for Commerce) through the INPARMA Internet portal, which was designed to offer a comprehensive online reference to the cuisine, accommodation, theatre, arts, shopping, real estate, conventions and services available in Parma, Italy. The portal is uniquely structured to integrate and coordinate specific information for not only the inhabitants of Parma and the province, but for the increasing number of tourists who are making this historic city a preferred travel destination.
This was an extremely large project with five full screen VRs in the second phase alone, eight in total.
We’ve divided our assignment into two case studies, each with particular challenges and solutions. In the ‘Parma Project: Case Study I’, we covered the Duomo, Baptistery and Square. In this article, Case Study II, we will cover the production and post-production of VR's of the Teatro Regio, Teatro Farnese and the Paganini Auditorium in the city of Parma, Italy.
Our challenges and goals were slightly different this time around:
--Greater time constraints.
--Add an interactive map showing previews of all the buildings from the project and linking to the Baptistery and Duomo web site.
--Add a Flash interface and VR for maximum compatibility, in addition to the full screen and Zoomify formats.
Media Integration/Project Leader
Marco Lüthi (email@example.com)
The city of Parma is located in north central Italy, mid-way between Milan and Bologna. Known as the city of art and music, it is nestled in the fertile valley of the Po River in the Italian province of Emilia-Romagna. Here, grain and vines are cultivated, the silk culture is highly developed, as are the leather, cheese, and tobacco industries. Parma is steeped in art and culture, and has been the home of many famous people over the centuries. One of the great Italian composers, Giuseppe Verdi, was born just outside Parma in the town of Roncole, and the Archduchess Marie Luise, Napoleon's second wife, was passionate about her city. Antonio Allegri - known by art lovers as Correggio - called Parma home, and one of the most admired symphony conductors of all time, Arturo Toscanini, was a native of this fair city.
Teatro Farnese (Farnese Theater)
On the first floor of the Palazzo della Pilotta lies the largest baroque theater existing inside a building, the beautiful Teatro Farnese, built in 1618 by the architect Giovanni Battista Aleotti (1546-1636). Famous before it even opened, the new theater mesmerized 17th century aristocratic Europe on opening night in 1628 with a six-hour performance of ‘Mercury and Mars’ with the music of Monteverdi. It was used only nine times in the next 104 years. After a performance in 1732, the theater was left to decay until 1913, when it was reopened for the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Verdi’s birth. A bomb destroyed it during WWII and restoration work was completed in 1962, but not to the original colors and the original trompe l’oeuil effect was lost.
Teatro Regio (Royal Theater)
One of the most famous opera houses in the world, the neo-classical Teatro Regio was commissioned by Maria Luigia, second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, and built in 1829 by Nicola Bettoli. It was inaugurated in 1829 with the opera Zaira, composed for the occasion by Vincenzo Bellini. In 1843 Verdi dedicated the opera I Lombardi to Duchess Maria Luigia.
The theater hosts an important opera season (September to May) and the annual Verdi Opera Festival (July to October) and its archives house all correspondence and artwork relating to the theater.
Named after Niccolo Paganini, considered the greatest violin virtuoso of all time, the Paganini Auditorium was built on the site of an old sugar factory and converted in late 2001 by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano, who left the building’s original brick exterior untouched. It was inaugurated with a concert of the Scala Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. The project cost 14 million Euro and was funded by the Italian government, Parma city council and local pasta multinational Barilla
Since some of the venues in this phase of the project didn’t require extremely high resolution, we thought it would be an interesting side-project to do a comparative test between the Fuji FinePix S2 Pro and a high-end consumer camera like the Nikon Coolpix 990.
Fuji FinePix S2 Pro Digital Camera
Fuji FinePix S2 Pro was used with the Teatro Farnese shoot and the second VR of the Paganini Auditorium. The S2 Pro utilizes a newly developed Super CCD sensor that has 6.17 million effective pixels and is capable of producing 12.1 million (4256 x 2848) recorded pixels. The 3rd generation CCD is coupled with a proprietary Noise Reduction Technology, providing improvements in sensitivity (up to 1600 ISO) while significantly reducing degradation due to noise - often a by-product of shooting in low light situations. The S2 also sports dual media slots for SmartMedia and Compact Flash type II (IBM Microdrive compatible), and IEEE1394 FireWire and USB connectors for image transfer.
The S2 Pro has a Nikon F mount that is fully compatible with all AF-D, AF-G, and AF-S type Nikkor lenses, which are widely recognized for their superior optics. For this shoot, the team employed a 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S Nikkor, as wider lenses provide greater overlap with fewer exposures. The camera also offers four image capture resolutions (4,256 x 2,848, 3,024 x 2,016, 2,304 x 1,536 and 1,440 x 960 pixels) in three file formats (TIFF-RGB, CCD-Raw and JPEG).
Nikon Coolpix 950
Nikon Coolpix 950 was used for the two Teatro Regio VRs and the first VR of the Paganini Auditorium. The Nikon 950 is the pro-sumer industry standard but also produces very good results with Stitcher and is excellent for taking panorama shots at the beginner level. It’s also the only consumer-level camera that can use a fisheye lens.
Once can see the difference in quality when comparing the two VRs of the Paganini Auditorium. While the Nikon produces terrific results that are sharp and definite, there is some noise in the picture, particularly noticeable on the yellow wall between the windows. The Fuji VR is sharper, the colors are softer and there is no noise.
Kaidan QUICKPAN III SYSTEM Spherical Camera Bracket
The Kaidan QUICKPAN III Spherical Camera Bracketenables quick and accurate single or multi-row photography through a unique adjustable friction mechanism, which keeps the camera arm solid and stable during shooting. The mechanism ensures accurate positioning of the camera while keeping the center of the lens fixed around both axes of rotation - a necessity for accurate alignment during shooting, which ultimately aids in reducing post-processing time with tasks such as multi-row stitching.
Apple Macintosh Computers
The following Apple computers were used by our photographer while on the road, and by our postproduction team.
Dual 1.25GHz PowerPC G4Mac OS X v10.2 "Jaguar"
256K L2 cache & 2MB L3 cache/processor
167MHz System Bus
2.0GB PC2700 DDR SDRAM
120GB Ultra ATA drive
SuperDrive & Combo drive
NVIDIA GeForce4 Titanium
56K internal modem
Monitor: Cinema Display 22"
Dual 1.25GHz PowerPC G4
Mac OS X v10.1.5
256K L2 cache & 2MB L3 cache/processor
167MHz System Bus
512MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM
120GB Ultra ATA drive
ATI Radeon 9000 Pro
56K internal modem
Monitor: La Cie Electron Blue 22"
Titanium PowerBook G4
Mac OS X v10.2 "Jaguar"
800MHz PowerPC G4
1MB L3 & 256K L2 cache
133MHz system bus
1GB SDRAM memory
60GB Ultra ATA drive
Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
ATI Mobility Radeon 7500
w/32MB DDR video memory
56K internal modem
1 FireWire & 2 USB Ports
Adobe Illustrator 10
Adobe Photoshop X
Macromedia Dreamweaver MX
Macromedia Flash MX
Click Here Design Cubic Converter 1.04
Click Here Design Cubic Connector 1.04
Bare Bones Software BBEdith 6.5
REALVIZ Stitcher 3.5
In order to stitch and render the captured TIFF files at the highest possible resolution, the team elected to use REALVIZ Stitcher 3.5. The world of Macintosh panoramic stitching options was dramatically improved when REALVIZ entered into the market with REALVIZ Stitcher 3.0 for the Mac in 2001, a product providing an intuitive and elegant interface designed to automate the tedious stitching process and dramatically speed up production. The next iteration of the product, Stitcher 3.1, addressed many of the shortcomings of the previous version and added improved memory management and additional export formats such as Cubic (QuickTime 5) and Shockwave 3D. REALVIZ continued with significant product improvements in version 3.5 such as lens distortion management, image sharpening, artifact removal, render cropping, hot spot generation and batch rendering (Mac OSX).
In Case Study I, we talked about using Stitcher for the six 10,000 x 10,000 faces. In this second part of the project we didn’t need that level of resolution but generated a spherical panorama picture with each face rendered at 5,200 x 2,600, or +-1,300 x 1,300 for each of the 6 cubic faces.
REALVIZ has recently introduced Stitcher EZ, a new product that utilizes the same powerful stitching engine found in Stitcher 3.5, and offers a one-click solution for even the most novice of would-be pano creators. The REALVIZ Stitcher EZ is slated for shipment in early November 2002 for both Mac OS X & Microsoft Windows at a MSRP of 59 Euros ($59).
Again, one of the most important aspects of this project was to make the content accessible to all over the web. Zoomify was chosen for those without Quicktime and/or a low bandwidth connection.
Zoomify takes a practical approach to solving these problems by allowing us to have the best of both worlds - resolution and size - managed efficiently for practical web delivery, even at a humbling 56K. This is accomplished through a serverless image streaming technology that allows the viewing of very high-resolution images using resolution-on-demand. The Zoomify technology enables incremental access to images at any level of quality for any part of the image. As users zoom in and pan to explore fine details, only the image data necessary for the level of resolution being viewed for the part of the image that fits in the desired display area is delivered.
One of the founders of Zoomify, Pete Falco, was on the original QuickTime VR Engineering team at Apple from 1994-1995, while co-founder David Urbanic worked with companies such as Borland and Live Picture, where he led the product team for Internet client/server imaging solutions. We only mention these bios because this degree of experience and creative vision is directly related to the quality and sustainability of a product in the marketplace, and as customers that's what we want to know. Zoomify have clearly established themselves as leaders in the field of high-resolution imaging, and are taking a serious shot at making their technology a standard in the industry. This project could not have been fully realized without the significant benefits provided by Zoomify technology.
Zoomify has recently announced their newest offering, Zoomifyer for Macromedia Flash™ which allows content creators to integrate fast, interactive access to large images - even gigabytes in size - into any Flash movie. Zoomifyer for Flash includes the converter droplet, viewer component, complete documentation, updates, and support for $129.00
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