Analysis of Filmmaking Techniques for Architectural Animations

Alvarado, Rodrigo Garcia
Digital animation provides a new possibility to exhibit architectural projects, but it must address some features to properly show the building design. This paper exposes a review of diverse moving images presentation of architectural environments in order to identify principles to be considered when display building projects through digital animation. It studied scenes of twenty productions; eight famous movies from different ages, like examples of major filmmaking efforts; six documentaries of historical buildings, as specific productions targeted to display architectural environments; and six digital animations remarked or prized in recent contests, like examples of new technologies in the professional realm. The paper describes in particular the scenes of two movies (“Metropolis” and “Bladerunner”), one documentary (on “Basilica of San Marco”, Venice) and one digital animation (“Urban Prototype”). The review was based on three scales of cinematographic representation: the composition of image, the takes or sequence of images, and the general montage of scene. Making a record of takes during the sequence, extracting some frames, getting the point-of-views and drawing the environment or building filmed. It analysed graphic properties of images, cameras’ location and movements, duration of takes, sounds, transitions, order and meanings developed according overall production and cultural situation. The main characteristic revealed was visual fragmentation of the display of architectural environments, expressed in the graphic diversity right through different takes to the scattering of camera views in the environment filmed. However, the presentation of place is sustained by a perceptual and narrative integration during the sequence. Therefore, the analysis identified cinematographic characteristics that could be used in animated presentation of architectural models to develop an expression of both spatial conditions and meanings of the design. Besides it suggests that exhibitions on time should evolve from a mere chronological prolongation to become an expressive construction.


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Citation Formats
R. G. Alvarado, “Analysis of Filmmaking Techniques for Architectural Animations,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 133–149, 2008, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: