Applying sophisticated technology to unusual conditions separates the average provider from the superior.

Last year, 3D Imaging Services spoke to Sight & Sound Theatres about scanning and modeling the interior of their 2,000+ seat theater in Pennsylvania. ( One of the largest theaters of its kind, Sight & Sound produces elaborate, sophisticated renditions of Biblical events. A new production requires months of work, and the audio and visual engineers and artists need an accurate model of the stage, back stage, the floor, the catwalks, tunnels, and more.

The complexity and size of the theater, and especially its surfaces, make laser scanning problematic. The ceiling is black. Hanging below the catwalks is a net that holds numerous lights. When asked, other scanning companies had told Sight & Sound, "We can't do that."

Theater Point Cloud

3D Imaging Services has more than eleven years of experience in scanning and modeling in difficult circumstances. After discussion with our client, we agreed to tackle the job. This past summer, our team spent three days (actually nights) using two different scanners, to scan the theater.

We will not minimize the difficulty of this project. Conditions were less than ideal. The matte black ceiling did not reflect the beams well. The netting blocked a substantial proportion of the beams and made certain oblique scanning angles impossible. Consequently, registration was more difficult.

Sight & Sound Theatres makes extensive use of platforms above the main floor and the stage, and these are above the netting. The designers of the production position an extensive array of sound and lighting equipment on the platforms and the various railings. Each platform, railing, stair, and piece of equipment had to be modeled in addition to the floors, walls, passageways, and the multiple areas that are below, to the sides, and behind the main stage. Of course, the difficulty in scanning contributed to the difficulty in modeling.

More than a thousand objects were included in the model. This first image takes a viewpoint from just behind the stage, looking towards the audience. For reasons of safety, many of the objects modeled are not shown in these images.

3D Laser Scanning, Entertainment Industry
3D Laser Scanning for Theaters

Although the project took longer than expected, 3D Imaging Services is gratified at the outcome. We worked with a fine team at Sight & Sound who understood the difficulties we all faced. They were thoughtful and helpful in making the project a success. Making the project a cooperative venture, we were able to deliver an excellent product where others had said, "We can't do that."

Do you have questions about how this technology might be applied to your business or area of study? Give us a call or drop a line.