2. Outline Production Proposal

The 10 minute film will consist of four distinct image types: computer graphic animations rendered at MIT, live footage shot on location in Barcelona using IMAX camera technology, composits of computer graphic renderings and film images, and historical photographic or film images of the early history of the Sagrada Familia. Each are described as follows:

  1. Computer Graphic Images (approximately 3 minutes)
  2. Live Footage Shot on Locatioin in Barcelna (approximately 5 minutes)
  3. Composited Live Footage and Computer Graphic Rnderings (approximately 1 minutes)
  4. Historical Photographic or film Images (aproximately 1 minutes)


A) Computer Graphic Images (approximately 3 minutes)

Antoni Gaudi spent the last 12 years of his life working exclusively on the design of the Sagrada Familia. During this period he developed an extraordinary new approach to design based on complex but precise geometries and their intersections. Unlike the organic Nativity Facade, this new period of Gaudi's work resulted in forms which can be described mathematically using the transformations of a limited number of geometric forms: the hyperbolic paraboloid, the helicoid, and the hyperboloid. Modern computer graphic systems are ideally suited, and indeed critical, for the precise and efficient description of Gaudi's new approach to design as will be revealed at the Sagrada Familia. The world has not yet seen the results of Gaudi's new thinking. MIT researchers will generate hyper-realistic animation of the Sagrada Familia which simulates the complex play of light and materials at the Sagrada Familia. The film will allow viewers to experience the extraordinary space of the sanctuary, and the completed exterior in the context of Barcelona.

Portions of the interior have not been fully resolved as yet by the architects of the Sagrada Familia. The MIT-Sagrada Familia project will provide the means to expedite the resolution of important areas of the design. The MIT Sagrada Familia Team and the architects of Sagrada Familia have developed a strategy to complete the design and computer modeling of major portions of the interior to allow computer animation to be developed of the unfinished interior.

click here Computer Graphic Images

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B) Live Footage Shot on Locatioin in Barcelona (approximately 5 minutes)

Completed portions of the Sagrada Familia will be filmed in IMAX 3D. Key personnel from the US will coordinate the filming, and a local crew will be contracted for. We have made initial contacts with camera operators experienced in location IMAX 3D film making. IMAX film of the building and its context will likely include:

The Junta Constructora del Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia has expressed its support for the filming of the existing church, to serve as a permanent record of the construction process of the church. They have agreed to make the entire construction site available for live IMAX filming. The Junta has recommended that the ideal time of year for filming is in May or June of 1998, when the leaves are at their greenest. They also expect that by this time, the scaffolding of the main nave space will be removed, leaving the space clear for unrestricted location filming.

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C) Composited Live Footage and Computer Graphic Rnderings (approximately 1 minutes)

It is essential that the film distinguish between computer graphic simulations and live footage to insure the full impact of the presentation. This distinction will not be obvious without careful storytelling due to the convincing quality of the simulations we expect to produce. We will, therefore, develop strategies for making this distinction, thereby revealing the extraordinary work involved in this production. Emphasis will be placed on developing compelling transitions from construction site views to mated computer graphic simulations. Another strategy is to develop hyper-realistic renderings of impossible views, such a sections sliced through the building. These techniques will involve the compositing of real life live footage with computer graphic imagery. Composited sequences will make strategic transitions between live footage and completely synthetic views.

Computer Animation frames composited with images shot on location of the existing Sagrada Familia is the most time consuming and expensive portion of the film. 70mm film must be scanned and converted into digital format at a cost of up to $500 per second. Synthetic and real world imagery must then be digitally composited in a seamless and convincing manner, with precisely matching light and textures of materials. This may include compositing built and unbuilt portions of the building together, or inserting human figures into digital environments. For example, an image of the Sagrada Familia seen through the rooftop arch of Gaudi's famous Casa Mila could transition to an image of the church with completed apse and massive central towers. Live figures filmed in the open air construction site of the Sagrada Familia interior could dissolve to the same figures inside the completed space. The obviously synthetic images of the building sliced in section down the centerline could vanish in perspective with real life imagery, complete with occupants roaming the interior. The completed exterior rendered at night with dramatic lighting could be placed in the context of an active street scene. A focused search light in the dark interior space and could follow the flow of the main structural elements of the uniquely shaped walls and columns.

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D) Historical Photographic or film Images (aproximately 1 minutes)

A wealth of archival material exists of the church, including still photographs, film, and plaster models from Gaudi's time. MIT researchers will investigate techniques for a compelling integration of this material into the production.