Capturing the Old Chapel

Sabrina Kozikis

In yesterday’s Digital Humanities class we got to go outside and capture the Old Chapel for ourselves. At first I was simply excited to just have the opportunity to be outside on such a beautiful day, but then I realized that there was more to this activity than getting fresh air. As I walked around the building, taking as many photos as possible on my phone, I realized taking the pictures was not as easy as I expected. I could barely see the screen due to the sun and every picture I took had to be taken at such awkward angles to capture the whole area I was focusing on. Also, trying to get a picture of every part of the Old Chapel was a challenge. I wanted to make sure I was getting the corners, not just the sides, but it was a tedious task, making me think about how challenging photographing a building or artifact is for people who actually work in the field of digital humanities.

After taking the photos we headed back to the Digital Humanities Lab where Prof. Poehler pulled up PhotoScan and the photos some classmates took to create a 3D image of the Old Chapel. Being someone who is not too good with technology, I think PhotoScan is a very interesting tool because I’ve never seen anything like it. It takes matching points in a collection of photos to try to create a 3D image of the building or artifact that was photographed. Personally, this technology seems crazy to me. So, upon uploading the photos into PhotoScan, we let the program run to see if we were successful. After the images were produced, though, we realized that we were not too successful in our task of capturing and re-creating the Old Chapel. While we didn’t have success, I thought it was interesting to still see what PhotoScan could do and what it picked up on. We were still able to see some resemblance of the Old Chapel, which I found to be quite interesting.

Looking back at the activity, I can’t help but think about how tedious and frustrating working in the digital humanities can be. We only took a handful of photos which translated into blobs in PhotoScan; I can’t imagine how many pictures of such preciseness one has to take to create an accurate end result in PhotoScan. There would have to be hundreds of pictures from all sides and angles with all the right lighting to get an accurate model. And what happens if you don’t take enough pictures? There is so much time and effort needed to have some sort of success within PhotoScan; I can’t imagine what it would be like to upload the photos only to get a blob. How frustrating! Overall, though, I definitely find the process fascinating and really enjoyed participating in the activity. It was fun to be able to have some more hands-on experience with the tasks involved in the field of digital humanities.

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