A visual representation of a crime scene for training purposes
As a graduate student in The Ohio State University Department of Design, I have the opportunity to work in projects in collaboration with other departments and also enterprises. One of the most valuable experiences that I had was working with The Ohio State University Police Department. ACCAD (Advanced Computing Center for Arts and Design) members worked with the Department to develop a training video for current officers.
The video is intended for training purposes based on a real shooting incident. The main purpose of the video is to give overall information about proper procedures in a crime area. Therefore, a real incident is visualized in order to discuss what could’ve been done better to provide safety to victims, civilians, and first responders in and around the area. It is not open to public considering the sensitive content.
The 2008 incident took place in the Maintenance Building. A former employee who was recently terminated entered the building and shot 2 other employees. 11 OSU police officers responded to the crime scene and a 2.5-hour crime scene investigation ensued. The incident is recreated based on officer reports, statements of victims, and eyewitnesses. By using motion-capture and 3D-animation techniques an animation of the incident is created. Also several infographics were designed in order to communicate the key points of the incident, and time sequence of the incident and police response.
I created the infographics and an animated timeline that shows the key time frames of the incident. Considering the shooting happened in only a minute and the officers responded to the crime scene within 2 minutes, the timeline is key to visualizing the immediate actions taken by the officers. Additionally, I had a chance to learn the procedures of a crime scene investigation. Using the qualitative and quantitative data, I designed the timeline and infographics while considering the effect they create on the viewers through the visual representation. The end result being a quick but effective way of communicating the data.
Getting additional information from the officers that responded to the crime scene was also beneficial in terms of discussing the key points of their actions throughout the incident. Officers had an expectation about the things that they wanted to share and communicate. Meeting those officer expectations was a great challenge. Observing, researching, and learning from a shooting that took place in under 2 minutes, and was a catastrophic life-changing event for the victims, required privacy and sensitivity through the development process.
Collaborating and forming the work together with different contributors’ expertise created a successful final work. The strength of motion-capture and 3D animation enabled an almost identical representation of the shooting and police response. This helped the viewer to observe the environment, witnesses, and victims’ locations and responses during the incident. Moreover, it provides technical information about details like the exact shooting angle with visuals developed based on the police reports. Furthermore, the infographics provide a summary of the facts about the police department, the investigation timeline and a detailed visualization of the shooting moments.
All the components put together by different associates of the project provides a professional, versatile work that reflects the data documented by the OSUPD.