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On the Bright Side

June 3, 2014

Student builds rig for Met museum


Having the portable imaging rig allows the museum to take detailed, precise photographs in the galleries, and decreases the need to move delicate materials, the release said.

The rig was designed around a winch-driven lift, Sostack said. It can be raised 22 feet, is capable of panning and tilting and can run automatically or manually. It also includes a rail system that the main structure will move along, extending up to 29 feet. The horizontal and vertical traverse structures, rails, camera mounts and electrical system were all built and assembled at RIT.

“We lived in the machine shop,” Sostack said.

Barbara Bridgers, general manager for imaging at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said this was the first time the museum’s photographic studio collaborated with a group of students to solve an imaging issue. Museum officials were impressed with the students’ dedication and seriousness, and were pleased with the end result.

“They liked it a lot,” Sostack said. “They were talking about all the things they could use it for.”

Bridgers said she expects the rig to be used to photograph one of the museum’s exhibits of 18th-century rooms from English homes called the Croome Court Tapestry Room. The exhibit features elaborate tapestries that extend from the floor to the ceiling. 

The camera rig will work nicely for this task, Farnand said.

“It is elegant in its simplicity,” Farnand said of the rig. “They worked really hard and I’m impressed with the whole team, and the senior design program in general. It’s a great experience for the students. They get the opportunity to work with real customers and build things that these customers are actually going to use.”    

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