Friday, March 28, 2014

Imaging the Iliad - Video Summary

The Iliad by Homer is a book which speaks crudely about the Trojan war, specifically about the role the Greek Hero Achilles played in that war. The following video is about a photoshooting they made of the oldest existing complete book of Homers Iliad, Venetus A. I hope you enjoy it!

Venetus A was stored in Marciana Library in Venice for around 500 years. A group of scientists, photographers and scholars decided that it was time for modern technology to tell everybody about it, to let the world see this book and people have free access to it from wherever they are. Their objective was to be able to image the whole book and upload it to the internet, but the "how" was still not completely decided.

After all, they decided that the best way of fulfilling their objective was to keep the book in a completely controlled environment, photographing each page from the same angle, and creating a 3D computer image by using a robotic arm able to "read" 3D objects and replicate them virtually. The camera they used was of the highest definition possible, and all the lighting in the room where the book was held was planned to get the best shots while not damaging the book.

They began working very slowly and they were really  careful trying to avoid  damaging  the book, but eventually they were able to gain confidence and hurry up, because at the pace they were going at first, they would never be able to finish. The temperature of the room and near the book was greatly controlled, while there was an specialist who told when the book could and when it couldn't receive light. When they were about halfway through, they discovered something extremely discouraging, a terrible mistake they had done: their fingerprints could be seen on the pages they had already imaged. They took the news very professionally, and decided that the best way to solve this problem was to use UV light on the book. They explained how UV light would be able to make the ink more readable, in a way you could see every detail of the book as if it had just been written. The specialists had to be very careful when in the room, though, so they had to wear sunscreen FPS50 and solar lens when they were inside.

After all the hard work, they got astonishing results. They created a Google Maps interface for people to zoom in and out of the different book pages, and where able to upload the complete book with  each page's 3D model. Here, you can see things you wouldn't be able to see with naked eye, such as different colors of ink used in the book (enhanced by the UV lights) and the original strokes of the letters. If you want to see the book, you can find it on the next web page, you just need to follow the instructions.

"This is what happens when scholars and scientists work together."

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