Making It So
The world may not revolve around
Star Trek, but it can be inspired by it
It's fitting that the world's first primitive holodeck
(I assume there are no others) is being used to create a Star Trek experience – a Borg attack on a space ship you, the viewer, get to visit.
A digital effects company in Santa Monica, Calif., has created a 3-D movie that not only gives the illusion of a world in front of you, but all around…
The technique is being used in a seven-and-a-half-minute film that is part of "Star Trek: Borg Invasion 4D,'' a 22-minute attraction…
"It gets harder and harder to come up with something to encourage people to leave the house," said Larry Kasanoff, the chairman of Threshold. "We needed to create a film that would last for years and that people would fly in to see."
…To reduce eyestrain, the company shot each scene so that both the foreground and the background were in focus. The filmmakers could then create parallel planes of action, allowing viewers to scan the frame to discover unconnected activities going on throughout the ship.
To create the overhead action, Mr. Johnsen and his colleagues wrote an algorithm that would put the computer-generated animation in proper perspective. While the ceiling screen is at a 90-degree angle to the vertical wall, a spaceship passing overhead would need to appear to spread out as it passed above and then receded in the distance.
This visually rich environment required a lot of computer processing power to render…
To avoid getting stuck with a big hardware investment that could be obsolete in a matter of months, Threshold contracted out their rendering needs, leasing time from I.B.M.'s Deep Computing Capacity on Demand center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and sending files to it through high-speed T-1 lines.
Kasanoff is right about the increasing difficulty of luring people to Las Vegas. Imagine how hard this will be when holodeck technology
Posted by Stephen Gordon at May 6, 2004 09:16 AM