epic Delivers 3D Fly Through Animation for Westbury Christian Sports Complex Capital Campaign

October 14, 2011 - Imagine a private high school trying to raise over 7 million dollars for a new sports complex in today's economy. Talk about a challenge! How do you help sponsors, alumni, families and friends understand your vision for converting a run down YMCA facility into a state-of-the-art athletic facility? This is the task given to Silver Rock Productions for their client, Westbury Christian, a private school in southwest Houston. Silver Rock was charged with creating a video for a capital campaign gala with Bobby Bowden, the famous coach of University of Florida, who would MC. This would have to be one emotional video to get the financial support they needed to buy and rebuild the old Y.

Silver Rock asked epic to meet with Westbury Christian to determine if it would be possible to create a 3D animated fly through of the YMCA with all the specific detail they had in mind.  The head coach and Headmaster at the school had been thinking about their new facility for some time, and they had just about every part of it figured out. But at this point it was all in their heads - the only source material we had to work with was a small 2D graphic created for a post card the school used to promote the event. To make it even more interesting the gala was scheduled just five weeks from our first meeting. They did pledge to help us with the visualization every step of the way, and that made all the difference in the world.  Here is how we did it.

We began with a second meeting at Westbury Christian School just a couple of days after our initial meeting. I was told this was a unique school, and special in many ways.  Five minutes after being there, I could understand why.  Westbury Christian is a college preparatory Christian school for ages 3 to 12th grade.  The learning experience at WCS is enhanced with an environment nurtured by Christian principles. Bible is taught every day and chapel is an integral part of school life. All academic classes, social and athletic activities, as well as spontaneous events, are conducted with Christian perspectives in mind. The students all wear uniforms and respect is part of the culture.

We began by taking photos of all of the items that are specific to Westbury Christian (logos, signage, fonts, uniforms, etc.).  These reference items would help our artists and animators develop a style for the presentation.  Next, we visited the YMCA that was for sale.  Here we took measurements and more reference photos.  Since a design for the new sports complex had not been created, the Headmaster at the school took us to several sports fields in the area that had elements they wanted to incorporate into theirs.  Scoreboards, entry signs, stands, dugouts, concessions, landscaping elements, etc. were photographed at each field. 

Using these photos, our artists and animators began making 3D models of each of the elements needed for the video.  We worked closely with the school to insure our work was in alignment with their vision.  We used Google Maps to get an overhead view of the complex and surrounding area. This became our template for placing all of the individual elements on the fields.  It also ensured that our dimensions were accurate and reflected the real world.  One benefit of building a virtual set is that elements can easily be moved around.  For example, the school realized it could add an additional concession stand in the future if it just moved the one it had planned back a few feet.

Once all the 3D elements were built, placed and approved, we took the recording of the script and moved a virtual camera through the set to get the timing right.  Next, we began the rendering process. A video runs at 30 frames per second, so just over 2000 individual frames had to be created for the 66 second animation. The rendering for this job took three powerful machines almost a week to produce. 

The animation was delivered to Silver Rock Productions where the final editing was done.  The video was a big success and the capital campaign goal for the school was achieved.  

Category: Animation,