stories in stone #2
Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Retirement Plan

Loaded 18 December 2014.

Stories in Stone

This is the latest in a series that celebrates the intersection of human culture - great music and mighty tales told in stone; or in this case, 2500 year old terracotta.

Years ago we had been blown away by a travelling exhibition of the Terracotta Warriors at the Art Gallery of NSW ... and now we were going to get up close and personal with the whole army.

Romeo and Juliet

Nearly two years ago I'd negotiated permission with the SSO logo Sydney Symphony Orchestra  to use their Wikipedia logo Romeo & Juliet "Dance of the Knights" (Prokofiev)  in an other "Story in Stone", as yet incompleted.

There is a long story behind that negotiation, but not for now. Romeo and Juliet is perfect for the Egyptian "Book of the Dead" but this subject so suited the music I've jumped right into it. I'll still do the Book of the Dead to Romeo and Juliet, but it requires a higher level of technical competence and more time.

So for now, enjoy the gutsy music and a Retirement Plan to end all retirement plans!

The Afterlife!

For me, the most amazing revelation from moving amongst these nearly 2500 year old artefacts is the similarity of human imgination and need when it comes to the afterlife. The similarities with the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians are astounding. And as far as I know the 500BCE Chinese had not been influenced at all, or at least not overtly the way the Greeks were, by the 2500BCE Egyptians.

But even the far more modest paleolithic burial sites in Ireland which we saw in 2006 and which pre-date the Egyptians speak strongly of the same belief system: There is a next life. A chief in this life will be a chief in the next. The worldly goods and comforts of this life must be transported to the next life. ... And a little differently for Qin Shi Huang, so too must your entire army!

Fly in and fly out

If you've seen my other work, you know I love the fly in and fly out, so I am trying to perfect it. This time I think it is a little better but still not as good as I hope for.

I forgot a lesson from SOUNDSCAPES #1  so look for the wildly keeled over Earth on the fly in. On the fly out, I solved differently by having the Earth roll back to have the equator where it should be. I actually like the effect and may well keep it in the future. The zoom up from detailed photos, with the flags, is starting to look quite spiffy. I over engineeded by preparing twice as many composites as I ended up using. Lucky they are fast to create. And this time round I managed to cut images from the source in a much more orderly manner, helping the illusion a great deal.

Photoshop City

This video is all about photoshopping. Whiting out ugly roofs and pillars. Blacking out backgrounds for mystical fades. Cutting away clutter. Hiding reflections on glass cases. ... and so on. Many of the raw photos can be found in the Gallery SIS-2 .

Technical Snippets

When will I get a project that is not problematic?

The big one here was that my video edit / composit program was just not up to it. In so many ways! I'd bought a new composit program for SOUNDSCAPES #1 but had used it only where needed. For this video, I did the entire project in the old program but had to abandon it and do it all from scratch in the new program. So now I am near knowing how to use the new program. Yay!


I hope you enjoy "Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Retirement Plan". Did you notice how much faded colour there is on the Warriors. Imagine how awesome they looked two thousand three hundred years ago! The warriors are part of the UNESCO UNESCO logo Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum World Heritage Site. Only a tiny portion has been excavated.

The Earthmaps used for the fly-in / fly-out sequences can be found at NASA logo Visible earth  specifically Blue Marble  along with a whole lot of other goodies.