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Completed Project

By Earth and by Sky: Spherical Panoramic Architectural Photography

Karly Andreassen ’20 and Andrew Tallon (Art)

This summer I worked with Professor Andrew Tallon on his project to document architecture with the possibilities offered by droning and new 360-video technology for an enhanced interactive experience.

Flying a drone with a GoPro camera mount in front of the Vassar library. From left to right: Professor Andrew Tallon, Karly Andreassen, Amy Laughlin

Over the course of this project, I became familiar with the controls for flying drones in both indoor and outdoor settings. I learned how to shoot 360-video and gained an understanding of the mechanics behind the production of spherical photo and video. It was also necessary to learn software specifically for synchronizing, editing and stitching 360-video. With little documentation and many issues to troubleshoot, becoming familiar with this technology was an uphill battle.

Our tests with both 360-video collection and droning then became the foundation for the methods that were used on Professor Tallon's trip to France where he shot a video sequence on the roof of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame showcasing some of the damage the cathedral has sustained over the centuries.

Example of what can go wrong when stitching spherical video. Due to the current limitations of these cameras, parallax errors occur where videos overlap, leading to these distorted images which must be manually edited out of the final product.

As the result of the building’s acquisition by the French state in 1905 and the defunding of maintenance to the cathedral after budget cuts, many structural and decorative aspects of the building have become susceptible to damage based on environmental factors, such as acid rain. The foundation co-founded by Professor Tallon, the Friends of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, seeks to raise funds for the ongoing restoration of the cathedral. Besides editing the video tour, I took on the challenge of redesigning much of the FNDP website to be more user friendly over the course of the summer.

The footage collected this summer has now been published on the website for the Friends of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in the hopes that it will increase public awareness for the current state of the historic structure. By allowing the viewer to interact with the building in real time, this experimental footage allows for the cathedral to come alive for people who previously did not have access to such a space.

If you would like to learn more about the cathedral and the ongoing restoration effort please visit the FNDP site.