Thursday, July 23, 2009

Computer Animation of Helicopter Tragedy- Channel 3 & Channel 15

It was a day that will forever live in the minds of Phoenix residents, when an unthinkable tragedy took the lives of four people who seemed like family members to many in the city.

On July 27, 2007, two television news helicopters crashed into each other while covering a high-speed chase in central Phoenix, killing the crews in both. In the aftermath, it was difficult to determine how something like this could happen — but necessary to resolve the legal issues surrounding the crash.

That’s why Pat McGroder of Gallagher & Kennedy, which represented the victims’ families from the Channel 3 helicopter in the case (Bowerbank/Cox vs. US Helicopters, ET AL.), brought in Kitchen Sink Studios to help.

The studio, renowned for its work in graphic design and computer animation, was asked to create a video re-enactment that would clearly show how the incident unfolded.

The footage, based upon scientific evidence such as radar data, live audio and video from each of the helicopters as well as physical evidence from the site, became a chilling representation of what happened — and a representation that was critical to the settlement of the lawsuit surrounding the crash in favor of the plaintiffs in the case.

And the video will serve as an example of how cutting-edge computer animation technology can help resolve even the most complicated legal cases, and perhaps even help bring closure to those affected by such tragedies.

“It was a sad and somewhat difficult assignment for us, but we are proud that we were able to use our resources, skills and technology to bring a resolution to this difficult case,” said Nick Hower, Partner in Kitchen Sink Studios. “Our team really dedicated itself to combing through the evidence from the crash and determining just what took place.”

Working with expert witnesses, Kitchen Sink was able to develop several different vantage points of the crash, and render those vantage points with stunning realism, including the layout of the ground below and the paths and relative speed of each helicopter.

The computer animation was overwhelmingly compelling, and used throughout the mediation process. The final result was an
undisclosed settlement sum for each of the victims’ families associated with the News Channel 3 Helicopter.

"Kitchen Sink represents the finest of a new breed of technological genius," said Pat McGroder of law firm Gallagher & Kennedy, the lead attorney on the case. "Their creativity and ingenuity is only surpassed by their recognition of the meticulousness required by legal standards.The technology allowed the viewer to put himself/herself at the scene in a position to clearly see and evaluate what happened in the case. Any viewer of the animation could only come to one conclusion and that conclusion was determinative in the resolution of this case."

To view the presentation in its entirety, please click below for immediate viewing, or visit or YouTube.

For inquiry or comment, please email or call our studio: or 602-258-3150


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