World Trade Center

Type: Previs, Techvis, Postvis
Director: Oliver Stone
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Location: Los Angeles

It’s difficult to explain what happened while working on “World Trade Center”. It was profound and deeply moving. It was one of those moments that doesn’t occur often in life, but when it does, it makes an impact.

Proof’s task on “World Trade Center” was to build a map-of-the-world so that Oliver Stone (Dir.) and Seamus McGarvey (DP) could understand where the individuals were in relationship to each other, and to the towers, throughout the chaos of the day. Our team gathered architectural plans of the towers, the plaza and the underground mall and built an accurate 3d model of the entire 16-acre complex. We also found detailed Lidar scans that were taken immediately after the collapse of the towers and combined the two models into a single scene that provided a clear before and after snapshot.

One day Will Jimeno walked into my office. Will was a 9/11 first responder and “World Trade Center” is the story of what happened to him that day, and how he and Sgt. McLoughlin survived. I walked him through our 3d model showing him where he and his team entered the Trade Center complex, and where they were when the first tower collapsed. Will stopped me and asked me to explain what he was looking at. On my computer screen he was seeing an overlay of the underground mall and the Lidar scan of the collapsed site. Will and Sgt. McLoughlin were found next to a service elevator, buried beneath tons of rubble. They, along with Dominick Pezzulo were the first to reach the elevator, with the rest of the team following a few steps behind. What Will saw in that moment was that where he ended up remained more or less in place, while the hallway leading to the elevator collapsed and fell over 80’ into the subterranean levels of the foundation.

He looked at me and explained that it wasn’t until that very moment that he understood how it was that he and Sgt. McLoughlin had survived, while the other members of their team were never even found. It was just a few steps between the safety of the elevator shaft, and being pulled down into the collapsed foundation.

With tears in his eyes Will stood up, shook my hand, and gave me a hug. And I will never forget how I felt at that moment.