Help bring Hong Kong's lost buildings back to life
I'd love to see some of the old buildings that have long ago been demolished - be able to look all around them, and get in close to see details. Which one would you choose?
I suggest the old KCR terminus - the station building that stood in TST where the Cultural Centre is today.
Now you might agree with MrsB as she shakes her head at the odd things I find to waste / fill my time with, so let me try to present a decent defence:
- It's another way to bring history to life, to relive some of Hong Kong that we'v missed the chance to see. And for some of our older readers that have fond memories of the original building, it gives them a second chance to see them and maybe to share some more memories with us, like oldtimer's recollection of using the old station building not long after the war: Grandma used to take me on her frequent trips to Guangzhou our home town. What impressed me were the train bumpers mounted at the very end of the tracks on concrete platform. Each time, the thoughts would come up in the little boy's mind: "This is where the exciting journey starts".
- Then there's a satisfaction that's harder to explain. The way that we can bring together lots of small pieces of existing information that are currently unrelated, and link them together to maybe show us something quite different.
- And ok, I'll admit there is the geek-appeal. There is some remarkable technology behind this - something like our panoramas on steroids.
Next, on to how it will work.
Here's the first video I saw of the Photosynth tool we'll use. The whole video is only eight minutes long, but if you just want the key section watch from 03:38 to 05:04. It shows the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral :
Photosynth is something I've been waiting for for several years. The tools we use to make the panoramas were a step in the right direction, but they are still very limited in what they can do. This video showed what I was really looking for - a way to throw in a bunch of photos taken by different cameras, from different angles, at different times, and build it back into a recognisable 3D structure.
But, after seeing the video last year I found they were just teasing us - that Photosynth wasn't available for public use. Fortunately, last week it was announced that the tool was available to the public at last.
So can we build a similar 3D view of the old KCR terminus, like the cathedral in the video?
I'm not sure, but I'd like to give it a go. My first attempt used the photos we already have:
But unfortunately the photosynth tool wasn't able to link them together. I guess there wasn't enough overlap among the photos to link them all together, so we need lots more photos of the building. Do you know of any? If yes, please leave a comment below with the links (if the photos are on the internet), or send them to me via email (if they aren't). My email address is mrb at batgung dot com.
Obviously the clock tower and / or station should be clear to see in the photo. (so no point sending in recent photos that show the clock tower with the cultural centre). From what I understand it shouldn't matter from which angle the photo was taken.
I''ll try rebuilding the photosynth view every time we get a few extra photos, and let you know once there is a successful version to look at.