Film-making process

Laser scanning

Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) is a technology that uses laser pulses to create ‘point clouds’ to collect measurements, and in the process capture a detailed 3D structure of an environment. This technique is increasingly used in tree measurement, making for innovative and in-depth studies of forested environments which contribute to new environmental understandings. 

Point clouds 

Working with Jens van der Zee at Wageningen University, we took scans of fourteen trees in Rotterdam for Alice’s book. Whilst looking at the resulting point clouds, it was clear that the TLS machines captured the surrounding area—buildings, bridges, parks—in incredible, millimetre perfect detail. Trees took the form of architectural monuments in their own right; a fundamental part of the city. 

Five tree scan-series were stitched together to create a 3D map of Rotterdam; a vast scene that could be navigated and filmed with a virtual camera at all angles in virtual space. This enabled exploration that would be otherwise impossible—even using the most advanced drone technology—using a one-shot movement that captured the dynamism of the trees in their environment, and so creating an unprecedented multi-layered narrative of the trees in Rotterdam.

Expert interviews

Four experts were interviewed to give their different perspectives on trees in the city; an architectural historian, a tree advocate, a naturalist and the city council tree expert. We wove together their stories, along with a series of thought-provoking questions. This offers the viewer multiple ways of understanding and thinking about the natural-urban environment, whilst exploring the city from above and below. 

Experts: Herman van Bergeijk, architectural historian TU Delft / Ronald Loch, tree expert, Municipality Rotterdam / Kees Moeliker, Director of Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam / Charlotte van der Heiden, Cool Down City.


Terrestrial Laser Scanning equipment

Caption 2
Jens van der Zee scanning trees at Hoffmanplien, Rotterdam

Exploring pointclouds in a virtual environment

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