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Kineticorp Case Study – Skiing Collision

Kineticorp Case Study – Skiing Collision


[Jim Gigax]: This young man had jumped — had
just made a 360 without looking. He was just flying. Wiped out this gentleman, and came up and
was just screaming at him and the person who wiped him out had verbally abused him in the
presence of his wife. His life had been fundamentally altered to
the negative. My client was a 63-year-old dentist, a very
successful dentist. This incident broke his neck and he also had
his shoulder ruined and you can have your shoulder reconstructed, but it’s never going
to be the same. [Tomas Owens]: Some of the pieces of information
that we had from the beginning were injury locations. So, we know that one person was injured in
a specific part of their body and we have any idea of where that contact may have happened. In this case, we had one gentleman who had
a broken shoulder and the other one had injuries to his ankle. So, again, two puzzle pieces, I know they
have to fit together somehow. Most likely, and all the other evidence led
to the fact that this was sort of the contact point of what their impact configuration might
have been. So, we have to start with what physical evidence
do we have? Do we have any video reference? Do we have photographs from the time of? And pretty often that’s our biggest resource,
is the photographs taken at the time of the accident. [Toby Terpstra]: So one of the things we didn’t
know in this case was where exactly he came to rest. Fortunately, we had a couple photographs. Trying to locate where somebody came to rest
in the middle of a ski run, there’s not a whole lot of features. Not a whole lot of landmarks in the middle. You’d be lucky to find something to use as
a reference and really there’s nothing other than a berm up above and then the trees in
the distance in both of these photographs. [Tomas]: So, in this case, kind of the logical
progression we used was starting with videos and photos, and being able to use photogrammetry
to match up specifically where certain photos were taken and matching that up against the
evidence that we took [ourselves] being the 3D scan data. So, the fact that we were fortunate enough
to visit the actual site gives us a perfect one-to-one relationship of the digital world
to the actual scene itself. [Toby]: We actually took a radar gun out there,
too, and measured other people as they were coming down the slope just to get a feeling
for what the general traffic might be like. So, this guy is following his friends down
in a lot of his YouTube videos… You get a feeling for their style of skiing. It’s useful to be able to understand how they’re
moving as they do these jumps and so it becomes a great reference. [Jim]: We got the clients involved, we had
a meeting where we could show this animation to my clients who were in Tennessee and it
was done to be admissible and it was a good final product we did get into evidence. [Tomas]: My job as the animator is to create
the most realistic and honest representation of how this person would have moved from A
to B. So again the foundation gets us these sort of specific, hard coded positions that
we need to be in and then it’s my job to determine the flow of the movement. [Toby]: There’s a road that cuts through there
and it creates kind of a natural berm that the skier was using as a jump and that berm,
as you’re approaching it, you can’t see over it depending on where you’re at on the slope
from, you know, left to right. So, it is a blind area that he took the jump
over. And that visibility is occluded because of
that berm or that road that’s cutting through there. [Tomas]: One of the unique challenges that
we faced was getting two characters, two bipedal representations to interact with each other
and have physics take over. The fun of problem-solving this was getting
to hop to another piece of software that I know would be a solution for this, but integrating
that into our current workflow. [Jim]: You let people who understand physics
and are conversant with computer programs that incorporate physics and in turn that
generates numbers and then the computer software will take these calculations and data points
and that’s all run together to make it almost like a real video. [It’s] very important for the attorney to
put in the time to understand what’s going on, even though you have to rely on other
people to do the math. You’ve got to understand how these people
did their work in order to be able to explain it to a court so that the work product is
admissible. [Toby]: You don’t want to open yourself up
to anything that can be criticized. So, we’re using 3D scan data to understand
what the slope looks like and what the visibility is as you come over that berm from the roadway
and we’re using everybody’s witness testimonies in conjunction with each other to understand
how close other parties may have been. As you play through the animation, as you
go through that sequence, it is important to understand how fast he was going and how
close these other kids were and establishing the conditions at the time of the incident. What he did with his friends going blindly
off this jump was dangerous. [Jim]: Kineticorp was a key, strategic partner
for my client and I, and they were a key part of the successful outcome of that case.

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