Rockin’ Remote Sensing: Aerotec Provides 3D LIDAR Models for Ground-Breaking Music Video

July 22, 2008 -- Picayune, MS – Aerotec, LLC recently provided airborne color 3D LIDAR models (large outdoor scenes) to ZOO Films for the production of a new and innovative music video featuring the alternative British rock group RADIOHEAD and their new release, "House of Cards". The music video, which is the first ever to be premiered by Google, also achieved another first by being the first live action music video to be shot without the use of any cameras or lights, but instead only using lasers and scanners.

Two different types of technologies (from three vendors) were utilized for the video to produce the scenes:

  1. Aerotec, LLC

    The Aerotec system is an airborne LIDAR (remote sensing) instrument that uses a scanning laser to capture detailed 3D images at longer ranges in an exterior environment. Aerotec’s LIDAR system uses a single laser and scans in an elliptical pattern looking 20 degrees forward, 20 degrees side-to-side, and 14 degrees aft to completely scan three sides of each object over which it is flown. Approximately 200,000 LIDAR points per second are captured, thus producing a very detailed image of the scanned exterior scenes.
  2. Geometric Informatics

    The Geometric system scanner uses structured light to capture detailed 3D images at close proximity. In this video, the scanner was used to produce all the performance scenes.
  3. Velodyne HD Lidar

    The Velodyne system is a ground-based LIDAR (light detection and ranging) and has 64 lasers that rotate and capture in 360-degrees 900 times per minute. The LIDAR instrument is a laser-scan system that scans exterior and indoor environments in 3D and produced certain shots of the exterior and interior scenes.

Aerotec’s Jim Dow, William Wallace, and Casey Scott were pleased to be able to contribute to this ground-breaking, innovative work. “I’ve always thought of the geospatial industry as cutting-edge and innovative, but this brings it to a whole new level,” stated Jim Dow, Aerotec’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is great to see the technology being used so creatively and in a way that will reach a whole new audience.”

Directed by Hollywood-based Zoo Films director James Frost, "House of Cards" was shot over two days across Palm Beach County in Florida. Certain shots of the exterior scenes came from other parts of the US. "The whole video was a challenge since it's never been done before," says Frost. "We had to go in knowing this was a rather expensive experiment, but we also knew what was capable from the technologies as we’d done enough research to know we would get an image for sure, but exactly what kind of image was still up for debate," adds Frost.

The music video as well as a “making-of-the-video” and an interactive component where you can manipulate the technology used to create the video are posted at (


Aerotec, LLC is a value-added services company that uses state-of-the-art airborne remote sensing (data capture) and data analysis technologies to provide topographic maps and models to its customers throughout North America. Aerotec's primary technologies include Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR/laser-scan), digital photography, proprietary and commercial (off-the-shelf) software, and specialized engineering analysis packages. For more information, visit or contact Jim Dow, (205) 428-6444, Email Contact.


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