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For the last few months Noho have been getting their digital hands dirty with a massive model of Ancient Rome. Rome Reborn is an international project based at the University of Virginia, which aims to create a digital model illustrating the entire urban development of ancient Rome. Its director, Bernie Frischer, asked us to get some nice HD video out of it. The model is a massive 600 million polygons – for those of you who live in the “real world,” that translates to “pretty darn big”! The project has been ongoing for some time (since 1997, in fact) but these renders added elements never included before: some people, some dirt, smoke and some of the latest models from Bernie’s modelling team. The statistics in terms of data and rendering were astronomical, worthy of Ancient Rome itself, but Klemens managed the monster as efficiently and smartly as we would expect from him. Rendering was a massive task and used up all our machines for a good while, as render farms across the world shuddered at the sight of such a massive data set. Another interesting boast, we hooked up Louis’ (aged 9, one of our youngest member’s of staff) Kinect to the machine for some motion capture. Klemens (Austria’s answer to Russell Crowe) created a gladiator sequence which is used in the Colosseum shot. For those of you interested in geurrilla-style motion capture we did a lot of fiddling around to get it going but once it was up it took about an hour. The rest of the motion capture was supplied by our friends in GV2 in Trinity who kindly donated some walk and talk sequences. Overall, we’re delighted with the results and the footage we created will be used for a touring show around Europe on Roman Technology. It was a truly international experience: an Austrian working for an Irish company in Dublin creating shots of Ancient Rome for an American client, and supplying them to a Dutch company for a tour of Holland, Belgium and Germany! Next up on this project is to create a DVD Rom, iPad and iPhone versions, wish us luck!
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