In Early 2014 ScanLAB Projects accompanied Windfalls Films, Military Historian Steven Zaloga and Colonel Len Fullenkamp, Professor of Military History and Strategy, to the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, France. The aim was to capture vast stretches of the beach and cliffs at Vierville sur Mer, together with the remains of military bunkers for use in a ground breaking documentary DDAY 360 for PBS. Using the recently launched FARO Focus X330 Laser Scanner ScanLAB were able to capture full colour pointcloud data for almost a mile of the beach, 750 meters of the troops exit route off the beach, a series of bunkers and gun locations in just 3 days on location.
After two years on the drawing board, D-Day was the most meticulously planned operation in military history, a logistical effort on a scale never seen before or since. On June 6, 1944, 3,000 planes dropped 23,000 airborne troops behind German lines, and 7,000 ships delivered around 20,000 military vehicles and 130,000 allied soldiers, who stormed five heavily defended French beaches in an all-or-nothing assault on Nazi occupied Europe. Once on the shore, the troops had to negotiate two million mines buried in the sand, 46,000 fearsome beach obstacles and hundreds of miles of barbed wire, while dodging the shells and bullets fired by 40,000 German defenders.
Focusing on the most important strip of Omaha beach that day – the exit at Vierville-sur-Mer – D-Day 360 strips D-Day back to its raw data to reveal how the odds of victory, in the greatest gamble of World War II, swung on what happened over a five-hour period on a five mile stretch of French coastline.
Data gathered through laser scanning, 3D computer modelling and eye-witness accounts bring the battlefield to life as never before. The film takes advantage LIDAR to re-create the landscape and allow viewers to switch effortlessly between the macro and the micro – pulling back for the big picture and zooming in to a close-up of a single soldier on the battlefield. It’s a new approach and perspective that tells the story with details never before available.