Museum of Brisbane

Getting geeky with Frank: Blends, warps and pixels


The 12 metre long animated vista of 1895 Brisbane has proven to be one of the most fascinating components of The view from here exhibition. It allows visitors to get up close to the image and see the city as it was in 1895. They can look for features they’re familiar with and see what buildings once stood on sites they work at, visit or walk past today.

What’s even more interesting is the behind-the-scenes work that went into creating the final image that allowed us to produce the ceiling high animated vista. During development of the exhibition it was discovered that Elliott had taken a number of images from the observation deck of the Windmill in 1895. Soon our team realised that these individual images when combined in certain way formed a panorama of Brisbane.

The goal then was to produce as large a reproduction of the sweeping vista as possible which would allow our visitors to get up close to the image and see the city as it was in 1895.

We asked Frank our technical officer to explain how this was possible as it sounded like no easy task……

“How do you make a twelve metre projection from 7 individual images? Simple….Well not really.

Creating the projection for the sweeping vista of The view from here presented many technical challenges for me.

Firstly 8 glass plate negatives were developed then the resulting images were stitched together. This image was then printed on projection material and installed in the exhibition as you see it now.

I then had the task of subtly illuminating and animating the grand, curved, panoramic print, which I had to do using a combination of 5 projectors, software and high performance computer hardware. This took many months of planning and half a dozen trials!

I then aligned, warped and blended the multiple projectors to have approximately 5,120,000 pixels working in harmony to create one digital canvas and this took over a week to instate.

This has been by far one of my most interesting projects to date and a major reason why Museum of Brisbane is such an exciting technical playground for a geek like me.”