Friday, April 2, 2010

Glo Bible - Review Part 2 - Easter Gallery Sampler

I started my review of the Glo Bible  here, and this time I'd like to say a bit more about the media included. I'm prompted by the Easter Gallery they have shared online, and it will give you a good idea of the type and quality of media provided. [HT: Todd Bolen at BiblePlaces] 40 images and a video will walk you through the events of Holy Week and are accompanied by relevant Scripture texts. The images are of high resolution, and you can see how helpful some of them are, such as the depiction of 1st century CE Jerusalem.

In the program, there are "Virtual Tours" that provide interactivity so that you can click on hotspots and delve deeper into the setting. E.g., the picture of 1st century Jerusalem above is provided with the hotspots off. Here's what it's like with them turned on:
Clicking on any one of them will zoom in and offer some brief information and further hotspots. In this way, one can pretty much 'walk' up to the Temple via the southern Triple Gate into the Court of Gentiles, via the Hasmonean Gate and around to the east, through the Beautiful Gate into the Court of Women, through the Nicanor Gate into the Court of Israel, to the Court of Priests, into the Temple, and even past the curtain into the Holy of Holies. All of this is done with the ability to zoom in/out and move around in a 360 degree environment. Tours like this are very helpful for giving a sense of place... Note that one can get to this resource through any number of paths: Scripture, maps, articles, etc.
According to their description, there are 550+ such virtual tours along with 3.5 hours of HD video, 2300+ photos, and 140+ maps. They don't list how many pieces of artwork are included. As an example, a search on "crucifixion" returned 32 photos, 21 artworks, 28 virtual tours, 1 map, and 2 interactive documentaries (in addition to the 11 Scripture links, 92 articles, and 11 web article links). 
  • The photos, all of excellent resolution, include most of the Jerusalem sites one might hope to see, some generic pictures of crosses/trees, and, interestingly, a few pictures of the famous archaeological find of the heel bone of a person who had been crucified with the nail retained in the bone. (Many of the photos provided by BiblePlaces.)
  • The artwork includes images, many of which are viewable on the web, by artists like Tissot, Dor√©, Brueghel, and others. 
  • Some of the virtual tours are more along the lines of illustration with explanatory hotspots. [One such illustration provides a closeup of the sign above Jesus on the cross. The Latin comes from John 19.19, and the Greek is from Matthew 27.37. I can't make sense of the Hebrew at all other than it has "Jesus" in it, but it doesn't have "king."] Others are photos of actual spots with explanations. 
  • The maps are based on satellite imagery with descriptive overlays, some of which are animated. (The images are the same as the ones used in Microsoft's Bing maps, such as this one of Jerusalem.) Glo's acknowledgment page indicates the Dr. Leen Ritmeyer worked on the maps and illustrations. 
  • The interactive documentaries are indeed high quality video using a variety of experts and represent a range of historical and theological/devotional reflections.
It's very easy to take a 'snapshot' of any screen and save the image, but I am having difficulty finding information about what restrictions there are on using the photos and images and such in my own work. I'll report back when I find out...

Glo does continue to update the program, now up to version 1.6. I occasionally encounter glitches, but it is basically stable. As noted before, the program is not 'fast,' especially when dealing with transitions to visuals. It is acceptable, however, and keep in mind that I'm running the media from an external hard drive.

All in all an impressive collection of media objects that are widely cross-linked. Take a look at the Easter Gallery for an idea of the range the Glo Bible offers.

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