Re: Animated Fly-by on Videotape? How much?

- - The original note follows - -

From: [email protected] (Robin B. Lake)
Subject: Re: Animated Fly-by on Videotape? How much?
Date: 16 Jan 1994 16:22:42 GMT

In article <[email protected]> [email protected] writes:
>I just got a call from a client who wants to get a "beautiful quality" 30
>second fly-by of a skyscraper they're putting together which may be used
>for a television commercial. I'm wondering how much I should charge for
>doing something like this along with what kind of hardware/software I
>would require? Also, since there's a big chance that I wouldn't be able
>to even do this project myself considering the propable investment, I'd
>also be willing to sub-contract it out - in which case if people/firms would
>like to e-mail me estimates (or questions) in the next couple of days,
>that'd be cool.. (I need to get back to my client by Wednesday)

I can't tell you what to charge. I never like to leave any money on the
table, but given that the architecure firm is PROBABLY going to use this
for either a competitive presentation or to sink their hooks into a major
client, I would charge TWICE what I normally do --- whatever that might

History: I used to work for a major corporation who kindly provided a
Stardent Titan dual-processor visualization system, running AVS. We had
the opportunity to visualize data coming in a WIDE variety of formats and
that included architectural-type data.

What will take the very most of your efforts will be to get the architectural
information into the format required by your visualization/rendering
software. I would not take on such a project without AVS and a 50 - 100
MIPS class machine. The typical measure of performance is "number of
triangles" in the underlying structure. For example, the Titan could do
50,000 triangles in a VERY interactive way, but 150,000 triangles got
on the edge of usability for interactive work.

In AVS, you can script your flight path, peel off the building skin, establish
a viewpoint from inside the building (nice push to show the prospective
client what the penthouse view will be, control the lighting, set up
16 lights of different colors/diffusivity/intensity, etc.). If I seem
like an AVS chauvanist, I am, 'cause I've never found a package that let
me get my thoughts to a screen as fast and with essentially no coding, like
AVS does.

On the output, you may want to consider a high-end video converter, such
as the Folsom "OTTO" (which takes RGB into S-VHS, VHS, PAL, NTSC, etc. and
has color balancing controls, zoom, crop, etc. etc. etc.). Figure $20,000
or so for the high end converter. You might also want to consider using
a SONY videodisk recorder for frame-by-frame capture. If not, you'll need
a time-base recorder/corrector on your VCR system.

On the input data conversion, if the building drawings are in AutoCAD,
there is some hope of converting the AutoCAD data into another format.
There was a small firm in Texas that specialized in AutoCAD conversion
software packages. There was a FAQ in one of the newsgroups that had the
information. We did not go for that approach, as the original AutoCAD
data we had, although for a 3-D object, was not done in a 3-D AutoCAD

On the other hand, you could ask us to do it for you! :=}}}

Rob Lake
Environmental Modeling Inc.
[email protected]
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