November 7, 2008

Ancient Rome Returns In 3D

Ancient Rome is being brought to life on the big screen in an effort to bring new understanding of the historic culture to tourists.

The visitor center, just off the Colosseum, is set to open its doors to tourists on November 20.

Visitors to the center will have the chance to witness a 3D rendering of ancient Roman life thanks to a collaboration of Hollywood animation and video-game technology.

The characters were brought to life using so-called "motion capture" technology, which utilizes body sensors to trace the movements of human models in order to make them more realistic.

Tourists will get a feel for ancient Rome during the 30-minute production that takes them through the streets, into the middle of a Senate debate, through the plebian district Suburra and eventually into a dramatic gladiator battle scene in the Colosseum.

A preview audience kitted out with 3-dimensional glasses leapt back when evil gladiator Bestia shoved his sword at them.

Commentators and trumpets bring it to a climax when the audience screams for a thumbs-up or thumbs-down from Maxentius with shouts of "Mitte!" (mercy!) or "Iugula!" (kill him!).

There is even a financial crisis that may ring a bell with modern viewers.

"Oh no! My life savings! I could have earned more by keeping my money under the mattress!" moans Sapientus, a toga-clad 3D guide to Rome.

"When the audience watches the show they get a really immersive feeling of how it was like to be in ancient Rome as if you were an actor on the stage of history," said Joel Myers, the managing director of the hi-tech entertainment firm Virtuality.

Image Courtesy Wikipedia