Lights, Camera, Action: Leap3D and the RIEGL VZ-400i for the Visual Effects (VFX) Industry

Leap3D utilized the RIEGL VZ-400i terrestrial laser scanner in a project centered around Visual Effects (VFX) which are computer-generated images added to live-action footage to create scenes that are difficult or impossible to film in the real world. The VFX industry is constantly seeking innovative ways to create realistic digital environments.

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Leap3D is a company specializing in highly accurate 3D laser scanning and modeling for civil constructions and buildings. With over 10 years of experience, they have become experts in capturing every detail to provide impeccable digital replicas of the real world. Their advanced technologies, including the use of RIEGL laser scanners, enable them to deliver exceptional accuracy and detail in their 3D models.

“Our collaboration with RIEGL has allowed us to participate in innovative projects, such as the virtualization of Leidseplein in Amsterdam for the VFX industry. This project, led by ReadySet Studios and supported by various partners, showcases the capabilities of RIEGL technology in creating accurate and immersive 3D environments for VFX productions”, states Karin Verhees-Notenboom, responsible for marketing & operations at Leap3D.

On November 14, 2023, a team of 25 people embarked on a unique mission, to create a highly detailed digital scan of the entire Leidseplein in Amsterdam. Led by ReadySet Studios, in partnership with the Dutch Film Fund, the City of Amsterdam, and Planet X Technologies, this initiative aims to “virtualize” existing locations. This effort helps alleviate the pressure on Amsterdam’s crowded city center by offering filmmakers an alternative option to film in a controlled studio environment.

For this operation, RIEGL VZ-400i terrestrial laser scanners were used as they are known for their precision and speed. This technology enables the creation of accurate 3D models essential for high-end VFX productions.

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Data collected by the RIEGL VZ-400i at Leiseplein.

A dedicated LiDAR crew, along with a ground photography team and drone pilots, collected over 40,000 images in one day. This data was processed into an immersive, controllable 3D environment. This approach allows filmmakers to shoot at any time and under controlled conditions, relieving busy locations such as De Wallen, De Dam, and Leidseplein.

Find here an impressive video done by Ready Set Studios showing the team during data acquisition at Leidseplein in Amsterdam along with some fantastic data captured with the RIEGL VZ-400i.

The pilot project at Leidseplein, conducted in collaboration with the City of Amsterdam, location manager Benjamin Hendriks, and the Netherlands Film Commission, marks the first step in using this innovative technology for locations beyond Amsterdam. The collected data was merged into a 3D model, creating a versatile asset for virtual production and in-camera VFX. Virtualizing a location of this scale is rare within Europe, highlighting the project’s innovative and pioneering nature.

ReadySet’s initiative to virtualize existing locations was nominated for a 2024 Global Production Award in the category ‘Virtual Production Innovation’, presented during the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

About Leap3D

Leap3D provides practical and flexible solutions tailored to the unique needs of their clients. Their as-built models are essential for architects, contractors and property owners, serving as a crucial foundation for efficient and cost-effective projects. They understand the challenges in the sector and strive to offer solutions that meet the specific requirements of their customer.


RIEGL is an international leading provider of cutting-edge technology in airborne, mobile, terrestrial, industrial and UAV-based laser scanning solutions for applications in surveying. RIEGL has been producing LiDAR systems commercially for over 40 years and focuses on pulsed time-of-flight laser radar technology in multiple wavelengths. RIEGL’s core smart-waveform technologies provide pure digital LiDAR signal processing, unique methodologies for resolving range ambiguities, multiple targets per laser shots, optimum distribution of measurements, calibrated amplitudes and reflectance estimates, as well as the seamless integration and calibration of systems. RIEGL’s Ultimate LiDARTM 3D scanners offer a wide array of performance characteristics and serve as a platform for continuing Innovation in 3D for the LiDAR industry. From the first inquiry, to purchase and integration of the system, as well as training and support, RIEGL maintains an outstanding history of reliability and support to their customers. Worldwide sales, training, support and services are delivered from RIEGL’s headquarters in Austria and in the USA; main offices in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, UK, and Germany; and a worldwide network of representatives.