Joel Newman is a Senior Designer at Fat Pencil Studio
A man leaves his hotel room and crosses a 4 lane highway to visit the market on the other side. The speed limit here is 35 mph, and there are no signaled crossings for a mile in either direction. He waits for a gap in traffic, timing his crossing to pass just behind a car in the third lane. Midway across, he sees a pickup truck approaching, also in the third lane. The driver is drunk and is driving over 50 mph– closing the gap too fast for the pedestrian to get out of the way, then swerving. The driver strikes the pedestrian and flees the scene.
Working with an investigator and accident reconstructionist, we created a 3D model of the crash scene, including evidence collected by police, and the location and field of view of a security camera at the hotel. Analysis of the video helped establish the truck's speed and the route taken– swerving too late to avoid a collision.
Our work was aided by a detailed 3D model of the road, created via photogrammetry with aerial images taken by a drone. We placed the paths taken by the truck and pedestrian into this model.
We set up a 3D model of the pickup truck to move along the truck's path. To simulate the pedestrian's view, we set up a camera on the pedestrian's path to "film" the approaching truck.
We then matched the animated truck from our model into video filmed along the pedestrian's path at the real-life scene. This video was filmed with a 360° camera, showing the view in all directions (including the camera operator and the bike he used as a mobile tripod).
The resulting panoramic video can be viewed using a virtual reality headset for an immersive experience, or as seen here, we can choose where to look within the footage– simulating looking left to check for traffic in the near lanes, then timing the crossing behind the car in the third lane, and finally, seeing the fast approaching truck.