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Case Study - Laser Scanning

FARO Scanning Tech In Kiwi Music Video

Director Sam Peacocke’s stand-out new music video for local act Pacific Heights was created using FARO 3D scanning technology in a revolutionary new way.

The set of a music video might not be a common environment to find a high speed laser scanner in, but director Sam Peacocke has recently utilised one for his latest creation. The results are stunning enough to have seen the clip premiere on LVMH’s ‘Nowness’ website and be picked up by MTV Australia.

Shot in Wellington for local producer Devin Abrams’ (aka Pacific Heights) new track “Buried by Burden”, the video’s overriding production technique involved managing a unique combination of two disparate systems in order to combine scans of both moving and static objects in one environment.

In order to realise his vision for the clip, Sam utilised a FARO Focus3D X 330 scanner to capture a high resolution static scene into which was placed moving Xbox Kinect captures of the movements of singer Louis Baker.

“There is essentially a small version of a LiDAR scanner inside the Kinect system, which is good at capturing movement as it’s scanning 30 times a second and you can realise a very good moving point cloud with it,” says Sam.

“However the Kinect system has a very narrow field of view and can only scan between 1.5m and 4m away. This is where the FARO scanner comes in; it produces a fantastic high res scan of an entire environment and will consistently scan at a high resolution many, many meters away.”

Sam also says the FARO’s fast data acquisition rate, real-time visualisation and large scan volume made it the perfect tool to achieve what he wanted to capture in the environments for the video.

The project took about a month to put together and Sam worked with a global team to ensure the systems would deliver the exact look he was after. The director – who has helmed video projects for other notable Kiwi acts such as The Mint Chicks, The Checks and the Jon Toogood-led supergroup The Adults – collaborated with coders in New York and another colleague from Germany in order to stitch together the final product, which melds together two differing scanning systems within the same software.

Recon staff assisted Sam and his small team with expert advice and product knowledge, extending the project’s pool of collaborators further.

“Jeremy Neilson from Recon was fantastic; just amazing to work with on this. He could see the outcome I wanted straight away and was totally onboard from the beginning.

“When I started directing music videos I never thought the day would come where I would need to work closely with a survey consultant on a production, but the experience was great and Jeremy was a real asset to the project.”

Sam says he is keen to utilise scanning technology again in the future too.

“I’m absolutely fascinated by what is called ‘volumetric capture’, where live, moving three-dimensional scans of film sets are captured, allowing a virtual camera to be placed anywhere in the scene.

“It’s been a hard project to put together because we’re in the early days of this technology. I have no doubt that in 10 years time it’ll be a different story and we will look back at work like this video as the beginnings of something that will have evolved massively.

“We’re proud of what we have achieved though; the video looks great and has gotten a lot of attention. It helps that the song it is attached to is brilliant too of course!” Sam laughs.

The full video can be watched here.

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