After finding the film location, I wonder if I could export 3D map data from Google Maps. Sort of like getting terrain height information to use in Houdini Height fields I use terrain.party). Turns out, there is not a way to export that data. Fortunately, there are plenty of tutorials of people taking screen shots and bringing those images into a photo aligning software. Which is sort of what I did!
Step 1 : Google Maps
The best way to get the cleanest data from Google is by using the desktop app, Google Maps Pro. When it's first opened, there is a lot on screen. These can all easily be turned off and the app put into full screen. The only that will mess up the data is the top bar and the Google Earth logo.
Step 2: Taking Screenshots
I took about 117 shots while moving the camera around.
Step 3: Photoshop
I opened up one of the images in Photoshop and created an Action. I recorded my edits. For this action, I only cropped out the Google Earth logo.
Step 4: Autodesk ReCap
Autodesk ReCap has an image limit of 100. I took out images that looked very similar.
Step 5: Getting the Mesh
When I've use ReCap in the past, I've always gotten back distorted mesh with holes. So when doing this scan, I had very low expectations. I when I final got the model back, I was blown away! This can capture so much detail! I was ready to use it right away.
Step 6: Refine the Mesh
Refining the mesh is simply removing parts that are unseen. For this particular project, I only need the buildings for scale. So this step wasn't
Step 7: Scale Tests
I compared the scale of the buildings with images from Google Street View. This was a bit challenging, because in the scene, everything looks so huge! One reason I this seems off is could be from the pivot of I'm scaling the buildings. Another could be that they are huge in person. But the ultimate test in checking with the camera!