In Henan, China, there is an immortal mountain: Laojun Mountain. With the snow-capped mountains and clouds surrounding the top, many Hanfu lovers visit here to take pictures of the fairyland in their hearts.
The @MediaStorm team, with 30 days and a total of 10,000 photos, used digital technology to replicate this magnificent scene and reproduce this "Cloud-topped heavenly palace".
Build a "Cloud-topped heavenly palace" with 10,000 photos
This famous Chinese mountain, which was formed 1.9 billion years ago, reaches an altitude of over 2,200 meters.
The team's first test was to wait patiently for the summit to clear due to the constant cloudiness.
After five days of waiting, the drone successfully took off. Gliding over the top of the mountain and through the porch, the entire mountain was incorporated into the camera amidst the roiling clouds.
A cloud-topped heavenly palace, accurate to the centimeter level, was built in its entirety with digital technology. It mainly records the architecture and surrounding scenery of the Golden Peak Taoist Temple complex.
When it comes to photogrammetry, many people are probably unfamiliar with it. Simply put, it is a modeling technique that digitizes a scene. It has long been used in many areas that are well known to the general public.
For example, in the action role-playing game Black Myth: Wukong, a large number of ancient Chinese carvings are perfectly restored by photogrammetry.
The physical scenes are recorded with 2D photos and converted into 3D models. Using digital technology to archive history is exactly what the MediaStorm team wants to accomplish.
Digitizing World Cultural Heritage
The amount of cultural heritage that has been destroyed for various reasons throughout history is quite large. And the use of technology to restore a disappearing history becomes a possibility.
For example, the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, China, were irreversibly destroyed in original form as a result of confrontation with the natural environment.
Under the leadership of Fan Jinshi, honorary director of the Dunhuang Research Institute, digital Dunhuang was launched to leave a wealth of visual material for future generations.
In 2020, Yuanmingyuan Park launches digital immortality. The staff uses technology to document its site. And virtual restoration through computer technology, photogrammetry is one of the many techniques.
Another example is Notre Dame de Paris, which was partially destroyed in the fire. Some institutions have started to work on its 3D digital reconstruction in an attempt to use technology to restore this precious traditional building to its original form.
Today, technology has the ability to create a digital ark that never dies. So, what about restoring history? After a successful first attempt, the @MediaStorm team embarked on a new challenge: Wudang Mountain in Hubei.
On this famous Taoist mountain, the team faced the rising sun and the whistling mountain wind countless times. Watching the drones hovering in the air amidst the ancient buildings with gray tiles and red walls. This, once again, is a record of the struggle against time.
Watching the images in the video, we can appreciate how the ancient people "Try to ascend the mountain’s crest, it dwarfs all peaks under our feet.", is such a surging heart. We can't help but look forward to the wonderful experience of the Wudang Mountains after digitization.
Objectively speaking, there are still many shortcomings in building digital cultural heritage through photogrammetry technology. Its fineness, accuracy, and ornamental value are hardly comparable to being there in person. However, such an attempt is very meaningful and deserves our most heartfelt encouragement.
We use technology to digitize and preserve the magnificent landscape, and even the cultural heritage, so that they can be passed on to future generations. Its ultimate meaning is only to hope that it will disappear slower and slower, and stay longer and longer.