Marc Breakstone was working on a case where he didn't think words alone would properly advocate for his client. Rita Traybman had been struck by a bus while in a crosswalk in busy downtown Boston, and had lost her leg as a result. Knowing that verbal descriptions and even photographs wouldn't be enough to ensure a jury would completely understand the horror of his client's accident, he approached Framework Media with the idea of using 3d animation as part of his courtroom presentation.
"Framework Media successfully translated a vision into compelling 3d animation which became the touchstone of my case."-Marc Breakstone
The project got off to a quick start, as there were many photographs of the accident scene from which to reconstruct the Boston intersection. The first step was to create a storyboard to identify what visual elements were going to be shown in the presentation. The storyboard was a great value and allowed Breakstone, an expert narrator, to identify early on which visual elements should be the focus of the jury. A three-dimensional model of the accident scene, including Ms. Traybman and the bus, was then constructed using police photographs and diagrams supplied by an expert witness.
Because Ms. Traybman was in motion as she was struck by the bus, her body had to be modeled and animated walking and reacting to the vehicle impact. Additional animations were added for traffic lights and for virtual cameras to view the accident from multiple viewpoints. During production, updates were securely viewed online for efficient design reviews and quick (sometimes daily) turnarounds.
The animations, each showing the accident from a different viewpoint, were nearing completion, but they needed to be packaged for utmost clarity to the jury. To convey the correlation of the reconstruction to the actual scene, each animation sequence ended by matching up with an actual photograph taken from the day of the accident. This had the added benefit of connecting the events of the animations back to the real-life tragedy being explained in the courtroom.
As Breakstone reviewed the animation with test audiences, he pondered the best strategy to show negligence, to illustrate the bus driver's improper turn. A new sequence was added, overlaying the diagram of an ideal turn from the driver's training manual on the top of the 3d accident scene.
This late addition turned out to be one of the most compelling parts of the presentation, and helped win Ms. Traybman record damages for loss of a limb. Marc Breakstone noted that the animations played a crucial role in explaining to the jury exactly how the accident happened and were an integral part of his winning case.