The Campanile Movie
SIGGRAPH 97 Electronic Theater

Images | Panoramas | Movie Download | Director | The Matrix | Awards and Venues | Press | Realtime Demo | Timeline | Trivia | Crew Pictures | Publications | Credits

Updated 11/2007
This page provides images and links relating to the Campanile movie, a short film directed by Paul Debevec made in the spring of 1997 that used image-based modeling and rendering techniques from his Ph.D. thesis to create photorealistic virtual cinematography of the UC Berkeley campus. This page supplements the articles "Putting More Reality Into Virtual Reality" in the Los Angeles Times, "Rendering Reality, Bit by Bit" in the Hollywood 2.0 issue of WIRED, and "Every Picture Tells a Story" in Computer Graphics World.

In February 2002 Mark Ramshaw wrote an article about the Campanile Movie for the "Looking Back" feature of 3D World Magazine.

The Campanile Movie and The Matrix

When I saw Debevec's movie, I knew that was the path.
     -- Visual Effects Supervisor John Gaeta, WIRED 11.05.

Campanile project Master's student George Borshukov was hired by Manex Entertainment where he and his colleagues applied the Campanile Movie's virtual cinematography techniques to create some of the most memorable shots in the 1999 movie The Matrix. Watch the backgrounds in the "bullet time" shots in the film (see Quicktime movies of the principal bullet time shot and the trailer at The Matrix website) to see how image-based modeling and rendering were used in the film. Articles on this technique and others that gave the film its mind-blowing effects are in the April 1999 issue of American Cinematographer magazine, the October 1999 issue of Cinefex, and the August 1999 issue of SoftImage Magazine. The techniques continued their use in films such as Mission Impossible II and The Matrix Reloaded.

The Matrix won the 1999 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The visual effects supervisor was Campanile Movie fan John Gaeta; the bullet time supervisor was Kim Libreri, and the director of research at Manex was Dan Piponi.

Download the Movie!

The Campanile Movie as seen at the SIGGRAPH 97 Electronic Theater (minus the introductory title screens) is available in the QuickTime 4 format using the Sorenson compressor. (Quicktime .mov, 39.9MB, 320x240, 30fps, 150sec.)

Also now available is the Campanile Movie prolog from the SIGGRAPH 97 Animation Theater, which explains the Facade photogrammetric modeling system. (2:17, DivX, 47MB)

Short clips from the film(Quicktime Cinepak, 160x120 15fps)

virtual <-> real

over the top

the computer model
1.8M 1.7M 1.0M

Stills from the film (Click for full-size versions)

A view from the movie, computer-rendered both as a polygon model and as a photorealistic image from sixteen photographs. The image on the right is completely computer generated. Newly developed techniques allow such images to be rendered in real time on standard graphics hardware.

A more extreme view near the end of the Campanile movie, just before the flight over the top.

A view of the Berkeley Campus model, constructed from 15 photographs. Since it was constructed specifically for the Campanile movie, it is more detailed near the tower and fades out in complexity further away. Forty of the campus's buildings are represented. The film model also includes photogrammetrically recovered terrain geometry that extends out to the horizon. Two more views can be found here and here.

High-resolution stills (972x720, click for full-size versions)



The photographs of the tower and the environment that were used as reflectance data to produce renderings. Four additional aerial photographs were used in the modeling process to recover the campus geometry. (Click on images for larger versions.)

Photographing the Tower from a Kite

As a key part of the production, several of the photographs used to produce the Campanile model were taken from above the Campanile using kite aerial photography by UC Berkeley professor Charles Benton. Benton documented the campanile kite aerial photography process as part of his extensive Kite Aerial Photography page.

Photographing the Environment

Most of the photos of the campus environment were taken from the lantern at the very top of the Campanile. The fisheye photo on the left offers an extreme perspective of the tower and campus. Many thanks to carillonist Jeff Davis for his assistance in acquiring the imagery as well as contributing to the soundtrack for the film.

The First Test Animation

This 10-second test sequence was the first animation from the Campanile Movie production effort rendered on April 10, 1997 (a full two weeks before the ET deadline.) Stand-in photographs of the Campanile from the SIGGRAPH 96 paper and stand-in aerial photographs of the campus buildings were used. The models are far simpler than those in the final film, and the animation path interpolation algorithm wasn't yet working correctly.

Some panoramic renderings of the Berkeley campus model.

Awards and Venues

The Campanile movie was shown at the SIGGRAPH 97 Electronic Theater August 4-7 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. It was accompanied by a short documentary feature in the Festival Screening rooms. Since then, it has appeared in several festivals and on television other venues, including the Premio Immagine '97 film festival Milan, TV NHK Japan, "Metropolis" TVE Spain, "The Digital Palette and the Independent Filmmaking Community" Sundance 1998 film festival, "Le Festival du Dessin Anime" 1997 Brussels, South by SouthWest (SXSW) festival Austin, Conduit '98 film festival Austin, "Science" television Osaka, and "Cyberculture" television Canal+ France. The Campanile Movie won the Industry Award at the Multimedia Content Association of Japan's "Multimedia Grand Prix '97" festival.

Our Production Log, a daily chronology of the 8-week production schedule.

Some Trivia about the film.

Some Pictures of the crew during and after the production.

Realtime Demo
The Berkeley Campus Model used in The Campanile Movie was shown as a realtime demo in Silicon Graphics' booth at the SIGGRAPH 97 exposition. The demo was also shown during the SIGGRAPH 97 paper "InfiniteReality: A Real-Time Graphics System" and for several years was an internationally touring InfiniteReality demo. For the opening of the Institute for Creative Technologies in September 2000, the demo was ported to a 3-Screen IR3 VR Theater using Performer by Jonathan Cohen.

Techniques used to create the Campanile Demo have since been used at MVFX for photorealistic, interactive shot pre-visualizations for films such as The Matrix and Mission: Impossible II.

Related Publications


The Campanile Movie was created by Paul Debevec, George Borshukov, Yizhou Yu, Jason Luros, Vivian Jiang, Chris Wright, Sami Khoury, Charles Benton, Tim Hawkins, and Charles Ying, with many thanks to Jeff Davis, Susan Marquez, Al Vera, Peter Bosselman, Camillo Taylor, Eric Paulos, Jitendra Malik, Michael Naimark, Dorrice Pyle, Russell Bayba, Lindsay Krisel, Oliver Crow, and Peter Pletcher, as well as Charlie and Thomas Benton, Linda Branagan, John Canny, Magdalene Crowley, Brett Evans, Eva Marie Finney, Lisa Sardegna, and Ellen Perry. The research behind the Campanile Movie was realized by Paul Debevec, Camillo J. Taylor, George Borshukov, and Yizhou Yu. The Berkeley Computer Vision Group, the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center, the Berkeley Computer Graphics Group, the ONR MURI Program, Interval Research Corporation, and Silicon Graphics, Inc. are all to be thanked for helping make this project possible.

Paul E. Debevec /