Purpose-built augmented reality sound stage opens in London

Posted on September 10, 2020 by Alistair Hardaker

A new purpose-built mixed and augmented reality studio opens its doors to the global creative industries this month, offering a high-tech alternative to green screens.

MARS offers virtual 3D environments, mapped onto an LED stage which enables performers, actors, presenters and products to be blended into a photo-real or imaginary virtual environment in real time.

Created by Bild Studios, which previously worked on live experiences and high end productions for the likes of  Beyoncé and Cirque du Soleil, MARS combines video game engines, camera-tracking technology, mixed reality workflows and LED screens to create its performance stage and studio.

British art historian and BBC presenter Dr James Fox worked with the creative team at The Experience Machine and the technical and production teams at Bild Studios to produce Masterpiece, a 3D representation of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks painting.

The scene was created as extracted 3D geometry with detailed layers of texturing added; partly handmade, partly AI-generated, that would resemble the brush strokes of the painting style.

Finally, the 3D scene was imported into the game engine Unreal Engine and rendered in real-time based on the position of the physical film camera on the MARS stage.

Commenting on “Masterpiece”, Christopher Pearson, founder and director of The Experience Machine (TEM) says: “Access to high-end xR platforms such as MARS alongside advances in game engine software has opened the opportunity to craft narrative journeys from an entirely new perspective; the inside of an artwork.

“Considering the painted canvas as an environment that a viewer can walk into has never been more possible. Working closely with Dr James Fox we have been able to reimagine how a painting could exist as a 3-dimensional world. This process has allowed the technology to reveal insights into the painting that have never been considered before.

 Bild Studios co-founder, David Bajt explains: “…we have been working hard behind the scenes to develop the world’s leading xR production technologies and know-how, working with globally renowned musicians, entertainers and presenters to break beyond the physical dimensions of the traditional film location, event venue or broadcast studio, through realising the full potential of xR”.

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