Mural paintings occupy whole walls/ceilings, often stretching across hundreds of feet. When photographed as a single picture, they do not make sense. It is too much painting on too little film. So they have to be photographed in many discrete parts. This way, they make even less sense! So, the ideal way to capture them is in several, small parts and then 'stitch’ them together to make a whole. Also, ‘digital stitching in full color depth, to actual size, is a very useful documentation technique necessary for the planning of the actual physical conservation of mural paintings.’ A sample is shown below of how the southern side of the Chengam mural has been shot in several parts and then stitched together. This stitch is only for example and is a bit crude. The actual photo-composite will be obtained after a thorough digital capture.

The digital capture at Chengam has several challenges. There are arching pillars that obstruct and make it impossible for the camera to get a full view of the mural. So we will use a combination of motion-controlled camera images and surface scans to realise the photo-composite.

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Above: The southern side of the Chengam mural photographed in seven parts. Below: The photocomposite of the southern panorama.