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Italian fresco captured in 9.85 Gigapixel photo  
Monday, June 25, 2007 | by Rob Galbraith
HAL9000, an Italian group that specializes in art restoration, preservation and high-resolution art photography, has once again used a Nikon D2X to create an ultra-high resolution composite of an Italian fresco that fills the curved ceiling of a church in Rome. The 9.85 Gigapixel final photo, which is viewable online at full resolution, is a stunning example of the use of stitching to create photos with incredible detail.
 
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Billions of Pixels: HAL9000's composite of Apotheosis of St. Ignatius. (Photo by Agostino Temporelli, Vincenzo Mirarchi and Mauro Gavinelli - HAL9000 S.r.l. - Novara, Italy)
 
A total of 1188 frames - shot with a Nikon D2X and Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED AF VR (set at 400mm for all frames) fixed to a Clauss Rodeon VR Head - were captured overnight during a 14-hour stint on February 15, 2007. The camera was set to NEF+JPEG; JPEGs were used on site only for checking progress, while the NEFs were processed to 16-bit TIFFs through Capture NX. Key processing settings included Color Mode II and Adobe RGB. Three members of HAL9000 were involved in the setup, shooting and teardown of the equipment: Agostino Temporelli, Vincenzo Mirarchi and Mauro Gavinelli.
 
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Inside Job: The Church of St. Ignatius in Rome (Photo courtesy HAL9000) On Location: Nikon D2X and Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED AF VR attached to a Clauss Rodeon VR Head (Photo courtesy HAL9000) 
 
HAL9000's Gavinelli says they used a mix of commercial and proprietary software to assemble and crop the final image of 149,307 pixels x 65,984 pixels. Processing was done on a Windows computer sporting four AMD Opteron 885 dual core processors, 16GB of RAM and 1.8 Terabytes of hard drive space.
 
The photo is of a late-17th century fresco by Andrea Pozzo entitled Apotheosis of St. Ignatius, which is about 35 metres (115 feet) across and graces the vaulted, barrel-shaped ceiling of the Church of St. Ignatius in the heart of Rome.
 
In 2006, HAL9000 created an 8.6 Gigapixel photo of the fresco Parete Gaudenziana, which covers an entire wall inside the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Varallo Sesia, Italy.
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