ABOUT THE PROJECT
The project 'Cinema Parisien 3D' (2015-2016) aimed to build a 3D visualisation of Cinema Parisien, one of the first purpose-built cinema theatres in Amsterdam, established in 1910 by cinema owner and distributor Jean Desmet (1875-1956). The goal of the project was to investigate the affordances of 3D modelling for presenting digital cinema heritage in a comprehensive, evocative form. In addition, it explored the opportunities of 3D visualisation as a research tool for studying the history of cinema. The choice for Cinema Parisien as a case was motivated by its historical importance as one of the first permanent cinema theatres in Amsterdam with a long, rich history that is extensively documented.
Using 3D visualisation as a research tool implies that the resulting model responds to the theoretical and methodological principles of archaeological and historical research as laid down in The London Charter: models are based on documentation and transparent regarding the underlying source material and the choices made. In order to achieve this transparency, a database was developed for storing the source material on which the model is based, as well as documentation that describes the decision-making process (defined in The London Charter as paradata). In addition to this database, a color-coded version of the model was developed which expresses the level of certainty about the design of specific parts of the cinema, with green expressing the highest level of certainty (for example, based on existing, physical remains of the building) and red expressing the lowest level of certainty (no evidence; visualization based on informed guesses). With these additions, an annotated version of the 3D model of the 1910 Cinema Parisien has been realized.
Upon entering the model, visitors can navigate the theatre as it may have looked upon its opening in 1910. While navigating the different areas of the theatre, users can at any point request the underlying documentation by clicking the left mouse button. There are a number of other functionalities (such as, switching between the 3D model and the color-coded level of certainty version; accessing the database; and providing comments or feedback), of which an overview is presented by pressing the F1 key.
The project was realized within the context of the research project Creative Amsterdam: An E-Humanities perspective (CREATE), at the Amsterdam Centre for Cultural Heritage and Identity (ACHI). CREATE project leader and principal investigator Julia Noordegraaf was responsible for the general coordination of the project and the resulting publications. Loes Opgenhaffen, 3D modeller within CREATE, was responsible for building the model, conducting additional archival research and contributing to the publications. Student-assistant Norbert Bakker assisted with the archival and literary research and the publications. CREATE programmer Ivan Kisjes was responsible for the creation of the database, the implementation of the 3D model in the Unity game engine and the realization of the Web version.
For more information on the project, including more technical information and an evaluation of the project's contribution to cinema historical research, see Cinema Parisien 3D: 3D Visualisation as a Tool for the History of Cinemagoing.