COMPUTER REENACTMENT
A NEW FORM OF INVESTIGATION USING VIRTUAL REALITY COMPUTER
TECHNOLOGY
Compiled And Edited By Ralph D. Thomas

Talk with any good trial attorney these days about the latest cutting edge technology and the subject of digitized computer presentation is going to come up. This is so new, there really isn't yet a definitive name for it. Some call it Forensic Reenactment, 3-D Animation, Virtual Event Presentation or something else. It's really a form of virtual reality created with a computer.

Using 3-D rendering programs and an assortment of mathematical software that will project traveling objects such as vehicles, planes, bullets or even walking persons, these computer presentations can recreate action and impact in crime scenes, explosions, fire, and accidents of all types.

A typical example of a case was recently done by Engineering Animation, INc. out of Ames, Iowa. Here's a description of their case:

A multimillion dollar product liability claim is filed against the manufacturer of a gas well blowout prevention control system after anexplosion launches a wellhead into the air. Engineering Animation, Inc. of Ames, Iowa is asked by lawyers to create a three-dimensional animation which shows how the explosion occurred from several graphical 3-D perspectives. Thousands of data points are plotted to describe the exact locations of system elements.

Software simulation following the laws of physics shows how the explosion occurred in computer animation. For a population dependent on television and movies for entertainment and information and highly visually oriented, the trend is not surprising. When you describe an event to a person and he replies, "I see", the person has built a visual drawing of your description. The best way to produce the "I see" result has resulted in the awarding of huge verdicts for the clients of several astute attorneys.

Recently, an American Bar Association survey revealed that over 13% of lawyers used computer animation and 43% plan on using it in the future. Another survey revealed that there is a 650% increase in jury member memory retention with these types of presentations.

The sole purpose of the computer creation is to use for presentations in trials or for settlement attempts. It requires advanced computer knowledge with technical backgrounds in areas such as engineering. It's practical applications for specific types of investigations include auto accident investigations, explosions, crash analysis of all types, ballistic impact analysis or just about any event involving motion. The technology is a combination of digital 3-D rendering, motion and the right kind of mathematical formulas.

Although the effects of these virtual presentations are extremely effective, they are not inexpensive. They can run anywhere between a few hundred dollars per second of presentation to a great deal more than that. Therefore, this technology isn't cost effective for small cases or claims. However, for the larger cases it is being used more and more. To best describe what this new technology,let us look at the actual descriptions of several of these high tech services. We found several listed on online forums. Note that each take a specialized approach to what they do.

ADVANCED SOLUTIONS DESCRIPTION

Advanced Solutions is a three-dimensional, dynamic-modeling, computer-graphics company providing modeling and animation, services for the legal profession.

Located in the Pacific Northwest, Advanced Solutions was founded by two mechanical engineers with extensive backgrounds in aerospace engineering and high-volume, automotive air-bag production. Tom Groudle and Chin Seah (co-owners) have assembled a system, using PC based hardware, that creates graphics comparable to those created by more expensive workstations. Consequently, the cost of producing video animations is significantly reduced. This forms the foundation for the company's mission to provide superior-quality and cost-effective 3-dimensional computer modeling and animation services using state-of-the-art technology.

A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM

Our goal is to use computer graphics to make complex concepts understandable. Computer animation offers an effective way to describe the complex motion of devices for presentation to technical and non-technical audiences.

The operating principles of mechanical, electrical and medical systems can be complicated and confusing. Verbal descriptions of these system functions are often inadequate. Visual aids, such as physical models, charts, drawings and live-video, have traditionally been used to supplement a presentation. However, conventional models are expensive and can be nearly as complex as the original system. Another problem with these methods of illustrating the operating principles of devices was their inability to capture subtle motion and present the motion in an understandable way. Furthermore, the overlay of working parts would often mask from view the actual movement of the components. With 3-dimensional computer animations created by Advanced Solutions, the exact motion of specific parts of the system can be dynamically modeled and therefore visualized. Emphasis can be placed on critical portions of the system to fully illustrate the most intricate motion.

This was the case in a recent litigation involving a patent infringement claim in which two contesting parties sought to resolve the issue of infringement of a patented invention. By utilizing the 3-dimensional computer animation created by Advanced Solutions as well as the testimony of an expert witness, a successful settlement, on behalf of the plaintiff,
was negotiated by a prominent patent attorney firm in Seattle.

ACCURACY, CLARITY & 3-D MODELING
Advanced Solutions works closely with clients and encourages team-effort. This ensures that the finished product is consistently tailored to their specific needs and situation. For instance, when generating animations for the courtroom, accuracy is crucial. The animation must fully augment the testimony of the expert witness and accurately reflect the forensic data available. If a product or device is involved, as in a patent infringement or product liability case, engineering drawings and technical data form the foundation for the computer model. However, to be effective, the animation must not only tell "the complete story" but also be easily understood. To that end, Advance Solutions continuously strives to develop new and creative services to meet any project requirement a client might present no matter how complex.

We look forward to applying our 3-dimensional dynamic modeling technology to enhance your case and support the testimonies of expert witnesses. Please write or call for more information as to how we can be of service to you.

ENGINEERING ANIMATION DESCRIPTION

A multimillion dollar product liability claim is filed against the
manufacturer of a gas well blowout prevention control system after an explosion launches a wellhead into the air. Engineering Animation, Inc. of Ames, Iowa is asked by lawyers to create a three-dimensional animation which shows how the explosion occurred from several graphical 3-D perspectives. Thousands of data points are plotted to describe the exact locations of system elements.

Software simulation following the laws of physics shows how the explosion occurred in computer animation. For a population dependent on television and movies for entertainment and information and highly visually oriented, the trend is not surprising. When you describe an event to a person and he replies, "I see", the person has built a visual drawing of your description. The best way to produce the "I see" result has resulted in the awarding of huge verdicts for the clients of several astute attorneys.

Improved technologies and reduced costs have resulted in the application of graphical representation techniques in a wide variety of cases."The technology can be used anywhere there is a dynamic event or a complicated technology to explain," states David Weinberg of Engineering Animation, Inc.

Fred Morris of the Minneapolis firm of Leonard, Street and Deinard successfully used computer graphics to win a case in which a plaintiff's family had been exposed over several years to low levels of carbon monoxide which were below the OSHA permissible limits in the workplace of 50 parts per million. Morris used the computer animation to illustrate the plaintiff's theory of a defective residential furnace and the circulation of CO contaminated air throughout the residence. Plaintiff's family members suffered headaches and other symptoms associated with the CO exposure. A jury returned a verdict of $570,000 including interest.

Denver law firm Holland & Hart likes the results it has achieved achieving two of the five largest verdicts recorded in the state, according to trial attorney John C. Tredennick, Jr.

David J. Adams of the Chicago law firm of Lord Bissell and Brook successfully settled a case during trial involving an airframe manufacturer in a patent infringement suit in the Fall of 1991 in the United States District Court for Arizona. Adams used computer animation to show that the air flow over the wings of an airplane was affected by more factors then just the device claimed by the plaintiff. Adams says he plans to use computer animation in an upcoming large case to show how chemical and radioactive pollution occurred in many sites over a period of time.

The use of video laser discs has made a variety of images available - documents, charts, graphics, videotape, photos, and animation - as many as 54,000 electronic images per disc with the stroke of a bar code reader In the future smaller storage-rich mediums will be used to produce enhanced effects.

What of admissibility issues arising in the offering of this
demonstrative evidence? Since the motion in computer-generated animations is based on other scientific evidence.

Admissibility becomes an issue decided in pre-trial motions. David Weinberg, EAI director of litigation services, states that under the Federal Rules of Evidence, computer evidence can be obtained through a FRCP 379(a) motion to compel discovery. The risk of failing to disclose is exclusion of the evidence under FRE 803(24) and FRE 403. Many states have adopted the Federal Rules.

Astute trial lawyers have always used demonstrative evidence techniques effectively. Use of improved technologies now has made the use of computer graphics in the courtroom more cost effective. Attorneys planning to stay ahead of the competition today will want to use advanced technology to allow juries to better understand the facts of a case and obtain the highest results for their clients One major way to accomplish this goal with visual-oriented juries is through computer animation Increasingly the result is shown to be high verdicts.

Engineering Animation, Inc., ISU Research Park,
2625 N. Loop Dr., Ames, IA 50010

FORENSIC MEDIA PRESENTATIONS

Forensic Media. P.O. Box 2783. Davenport, IA 52809. (319) 326-4886
(800) 356-SHOW (that's 356-7469)

Announcing Forensic Media, a company specializing in persuasive courtroom graphics.

Forensic animation is the "hot" topic now and we offer high tech 3D animations to help your case. Our philosophy is based on the idea that a picture is not only worth a thousand words, but can be worth a BIG settlement. Our animations are photo-realistic (they look real) they put the jury in the drivers seat (so to speak) for accident reconstructions, crime scene recreations, and they're great for product liability cases. (we have a demo tape that shows off these effects) The most effective way to get your point across lies in the most basic of all presentations; show and tell - and what we offer is the high tech version of the preschool standard.

We work directly with the lawyer or with reconstructionists, we have reconstructionists who we use on a regular basis or we can use someone you have already lined up and are confident with. We want to achieve the highest level of accuracy possible to help ENHANCE you case.

Along with the 3D animation, we also offer simpler 2D (cartoon like) animation, which can be just as effective in quite a few cases. We also use our graphics capabilities to create photo-realistic storyboards of any size, in full color or black and white, these poster size graphics can really drive home your point to the jury. (we can send you letter size samples!)

What kind of cases can benefit from Forensic Media: Just about any case which deals with complicated information, including scientific, or complex timeline information. Product liability to show the faults or to disproof criticism of a product design. Wrongful death - especially accident reconstruction, faulty construction, etc.

The possibilities are endless, and the ways in which we can ENHANCE you case are numerous.
1-800-356-SHOW (that's 356-7469) Paul Kakert. Forensic Media. Design Director

PROGRESSIVE COMPUTER SYSTEMS PRESENTATIONS

Progressive Computer Systems, Inc., 3809 E. 82nd Street Indianapolis, IN 46240. (317) 577-7069 or (800) 577-7069 FAX (317) 577-4687

Progressive Computer Systems, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana, has launched a forensic design team catering to the legal profession. Specializing in 3-dimensional animation, video and audio, Progressive Computer Systems, Inc. forensic design team offers the following services:

Dynamic Modeling: Photo-realistic 3-Dimensional animations (for both computer and video) Superb Graphics for Poster Displays and/or Storyboards Computer and Display Rental for Trials

With the advent of photo-realistic 3D modeling and animation for the PC and MAC environments - it is now cost-effective for law firms to strategically ally themselves with Computer Design Engineers such as ourselves who can meticulously create Animations and Graphics capable of demonstrating to the jury both visually and audibly the subtleties of the given issues at hand. Coupled with the necessary verbal descriptions, an audio-visual aid is becoming more and more necessary as juries are unknowingly influenced by visual stimuli more often than any of us might like to think or admit. Demonstrable evidence can now be effectively translated into animations allowing the jury to view and hear realistic simulations of actual events or processes that had to previously be verbally explained and/or necessitated the use of astronomically high-priced video presentations that were awkward at best.

Our team of engineers and graphic designers are well-known in their respective fields and can work diligently with you and your clients to strategically put yourselves in a position to more effectively get your point across to the jury.
Progressive Computer Systems, Inc. has been professionally servicing the Midwest for two years in the areas of Multimedia, Networking and Accounting. (Written By: Tim Wagner. Senior Consultant/Forensic Design Team Videmation, Incorporated. 1305 East Waterman. Wichita, Kansas, 67211. Phone (316) 269-4181)

VIDEMATION PRESENTATIONS

A short time ago, CBS Evening News aired a segment showing examples of animations as court exhibits. Animations are, if properly founded and produced, a valuable tool for putting expert or eyewitness testimony into a true time context.

Animations on the forefront of public attention today are produced on computers using sophisticated software and skilled
operators. We suggest that for applicable cases Videmations are superior to computer generated animations for these reasons:

1) Videmations are produced on 3-dimensional models. A substantial portion of Videmation production expenses are for a
model. Models are especially constructed for shipment to court. Computer generated animations yield no model.

2) Videmation production is a totally open process. All software and hardware used to produce a video tape was gener-
ated by Videmation, Inc. Your may realize substantial savings of deposition and witness expenses because your expert
can testify to all aspects Videmation illustrating your testimony.

3) Videmation scenes, compared with those aired on the Evening News, are more realistic. If we are illustrating
eye-witness testimony, credibility of a, "That's what I saw!" response is immeasurably enhanced if the presented scenes
are what jurors would expect to see.

4) A figure stated during the Evening News segment alluded to costs of up to $5,000 per second of finished video. If one
includes model costs with total costs of producing a Videmation, a series of Videmation scenes rarely exceeds $350 per
second. Some clients have experienced costs as low as $200 per second. If the model is considered as a stand alone
exhibit separate from video production, video animation costs are still lower!

We have produced a number of video tapes which demonstrate Videomations and provide tools for arguing admissibility issues. These are available on request at no cost. Videmation, Incorporated, is an experienced, full service forensic exhibits production facility. In addition to building models and producing video animations, we will assist in exhibit planning and production to best serve your client's needs.

Videmation, Incorporated, has developed this exhibit production procedure for over four years and approximately 80 cases. We are now seeking qualified representatives who can appreciate the value of true time exhibits. These individuals would be users and/or participants in marketing this unusual product.

If you are interested in viewing sample video tapes *or* discussing representative opportunities, please write or call.

VIDEMATION, INCORPORATED, Robert L. Nuckolls, III, General Manager

There are company start-ups across the country that are specializing in this sort of thing. Here are a few of them that that are included in this paper.


Engineering Animation, Inc., ISU Research Park, 2625 N. Loop Dr., Ames, IA 50010
Videmation, Incorporated, 1305 East Waterman, Wichita, Kansas 67211. Phone (316) 269-4181
CT Video & Animation. 1050 E. Southern, Suite F-5 Tempe, AZ 85282, Phone (602) 968-7922 Fax (602) 968-7927
Forensic Media, P.O. Box 2783, Davenport, IA 52809 (319) 326-4886, (800) 356-SHOW (that's 356-7469)
Progressive Computer Systems, Inc.. 3809 E. 82nd Street. Indianapolis, IN 46240. (317) 577-7069 or (800) 577-7069
FAX (317) 577-4687
Advanced Sulutions, L.L.C.: 15600 Redmond Way, Suite 200 Redmond, WA 98052-3852. (206) 869-4978
Fax:(206) 883-8807

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