3-D Cameras for Matrix Sequels!

FORGET Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman, the Hollywood spotlight is falling on a new Aussie.

I-SiTE Laser Imaging Camera is revolutionising the film-making, crash investigation and mining industries by creating something never seen in photographs before – A 3-D image.

Developed in Adelaide over five years, I-SiTE can capture a digital, three-dimensional image of a room or scene.

The image can be manipulated by a computer, zooming in or out and rotating through the scene.

It can be pieced together with other images to create a 360-degree internal and external picture.

The camera package including survey set-up, computer, control and modelling programs has a Hollywood price tag – more than $200,000 – although like most technology this is likely to reduce with time.

I-SiTE is used by Manex Visual Effects and will be used in the Matrix movie sequel to be shot in Australia this year and will star in the new Spider-Man movie with Tobey Maguire.

I-SiTE is also being used by big-name production companies, to assist in visual effects.

For example, if a film is set in New York, camera operators go to New York and take pictures with I-SiTE of buildings or sites they want in the film.

Instead of building these sets in the studio, they simply project a 3-D image on to a blue special effect screen, cover it with a high resolution digital image and a set is ready-made. The Transport Research Laboratory in London uses the I-SiTE camera as part of its rapid response investigation vehicle, which is usually among the first on the scene in a car accident.

I-SiTE’s parent company, Maptek, has been involved in the mining industry for 20 years, so I-SiTE also has mining permutations. With a range of 350m, the camera is able to survey mining sites from a safe distance.

Operations manager Michael Watson said the Frewville-based company was hoping for revenue of $65 million a year within three years, employing an additional 85 staff, at present only 12.

How it works

* I-SiTE collects real-world spatial data by emitting a laser at a rate of 6000 pulses a second.

* Each laser pulse is reflected back to the camera when it hits the surface of an object. The data is transferred to a computer and a 3-D image is constructed.

* Software interprets the data and allows the user to view the image from every angle and merge other scans of the same scene, to give a 360 degree view.

From Rebekah Devlin of The Advertiser

Source: I-SiTE 3D Laser Imaging