If you’re looking for an extended reality solution today, you’re likely to face a choice between an expensive, high-maintenance bespoke package, or a proprietary hardware solution that needs numerous tweaks to make it work for your needs. Pixotope XR offers a third way.
In this blog, we’ll explain how Pixotope extended reality (XR) solutions can provide a robust standard workflow and system, without the need for heavy engineering or a high hardware overhead - democratizing the virtual production space for all.
Bucking the trend: an affordable, accessible XR alternative
Today, there tend to be two main options for extended reality solutions:
- Designing a bespoke solution using Unreal Engine, with custom changes made to meet a show's exact requirements. The problem here is the need to have eight to ten engineers on site for setup and maintenance while running the show. This is not a scalable solution for anyone who doesn’t have an ILM’s budgets, high staffing levels, and a requirement for ‘the first time, every time robustness.
- Using proprietary hardware and specific engineering support as a part of an XR solution, or molding together a bunch of Epic’s tools along with a very basic user interface and multiple render engines to make it work.
Neither of these options is in keeping with the direction of travel of the broadcast industry in the last ten to twelve years. During this time, galleries have been automated, creative and engineer involvement in the running of a show have been heavily reduced, and the reduction of proprietary (and non-proprietary) hardware has become a preferred strategy.
Almost all broadcast solutions have become less complex, require fewer operatives, and have a focus on making the user experience clear and concise rather than complicated and frustrating.
At Pixotope we believe in the democratization of the virtual production space. This democratization should be software-led, focused on sustainability, and be accessible to all. So we have designed a simple, user-friendly extended reality solution that’s affordable, accessible and simple to use.
Introducing Pixotope Graphics XR: increased automation with a simple workflow
In April 2022, we announced the coming release of Pixotope Graphics XR edition.
With our XR edition, we are increasing the amount of automation for set-up and operation, focusing on broadcast and film workflows that minimize clunky steps and reduce the number of “boxes” required. These boxes will continue to be non-proprietary COTS with sustainability in mind. With the introduction of the new Pixotope Graphics XR edition, our mission is to provide XR customers with the same user experience they have come to expect with our augmented reality & virtual studio solutions.
Key benefits and features in the XR Edition include:Unique Color Match Functionality for AR<->XR Workflows
This unique color-matching tool enables users to quickly and easily match the colors of in-camera visual effects (ICVFX) and those appearing through the LED volume for seamless AR/XR workflows and effects. This is particularly useful when augmented reality (AR) is used alongside XR for set extension or when adding virtual elements to a scene as color reproduction is affected by both the camera and LED volume, making it difficult to accurately color match.
LED Mesh Import and Automatic Alignment
By combining procedural geometry creation tools and tracking technology, users will be provided with an automated method for converting CAD and geometry representations of LED volumes to virtual LED projection surfaces. These will be further refined using computer vision to ensure perfect registrations for XR and AR set extension, which will significantly reduce setup time.
Multi-Input Switching in Software for Changing Perspectives
When using more than one camera in an XR setup, the images on your LED volume and your AR rendering need to synchronously change perspective when switching between cameras in a single frame. With in-software switching, Pixotope ensures this operation is accurate and hassle-free without the need for additional hardware.
Multi-Wall Support to Optimize Hardware Use
With multi-wall support, Pixotope can drive several LED walls from a single server/workstation. This not only reduces the amount of hardware needed, and therefore cost, but also mitigates many common issues such as output synchronization and sharing of assets over multiple machines.
Health and Diagnostics Monitoring for Failover and System Resilience
Failure in a live virtual production is not an option. With Pixotope, the clear and comprehensive health and diagnostics monitoring enables users to proactively address any issues that might arise and quickly troubleshoot and, in the case of a system failure, seamlessly failover to a backup machine.
See our extended reality solutions in action
Over the past year, our extended reality (XR) solutions have been used across the globe, offering broadcasters a system that’s robust and reliable, without the need for a team of engineers or expensive hardware. Check out the live XR graphics that Pixotope produced for China’s state television channel, CCTV.