Video: 3D reality capture for Pope Francis visit

By on 21 December, 2015


Production company ESM and Bentley Systems released the below video detailing the comprehensive 3D modelling performed for the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia during the week of September 2015. In planning the massive event, ESM needed to coordinate with Philadelphia’s many public services, as well as the U.S. Secret Service, Pennsylvania state agencies, and the local Philadelphia Catholic Diocese.

Bentley’s ContextCapture technology was released in November 2015 and is now available for commercial use.

Bentley’s reality modeling process involved three steps:

  1. Capture reality. Bentley’s ContextCapture software was used to build a highly detailed, photo-textured 3D “reality mesh” model from 28,000 digital photographs, with unprecedented geometrical accuracy. Base imagery was provided by Pictometry, high-resolution aerial photography was taken by helicopter by Australian company AEROmetrex, and ground footage was captured by Bentley volunteers – including building facades, street views, and the inside of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
  2. Engineer in context. The highly precise 3D model was populated with 2D and 3D maps and designs, resulting in a 28 GB dataset. The dataset was used to communicate the details for the 56,400 temporary structures, main and secondary stages and event seating, 33 miles of security barricade perimeter, special U.S. Secret Service security requirements, impact of local road closures to pedestrian traffic flows, and more.
  3. Enliven the engineered environment. Bentley’s Lumen RT software was used to add motion and additional content to simulate the expected operational experience, a great help to decision makers. The team added moving people in crowds, vehicles flowing in traffic, dynamic sunlight conditions, and seasonal trees and plants.

Scott Mirkin, co-founder and executive producer, ESM Productions, said, “In the end, we experienced dramatic risk reduction, better decision making, exceptional timeliness, and greater efficiency. The goal we set with Bentley to test the applicability of reality modeling as a mission-critical event planning technology was completely validated, and we are now planning to offer this new value to our clients going forward. We’ve already had conversations with many of the agencies and teams involved in the execution of this project and discussed the many benefits achieved by having a virtualized experience created through reality modelling.

For further information about Bentley’s ContextCapture technology, click here.

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