RT Software Adds Ncam Support

RT Software now supports Ncam Technologies (Ncam) camera tracking within its tOG-VR3d solution for virtual studios, augmented reality and sports stadium on pitch graphics.

RT-SoftwareNcam real-time camera tracking enables live virtual broadcast graphics in studio or on location, with one of the key benefits being the range of camera mounts supported – supplementing the more established support for ptz heads, jibs & cranes with handheld, Spider Cam and Steadicam options. This combines perfectly with the quality of graphics possible with RT Software’s rendering capabilities, resulting in a compelling real time broadcast experience seamlessly combining the real with the virtual.

RT Software has gone beyond the support of Ncam’s Free-D protocol and is the first broadcast graphics company to integrate its SDK. This provides a rich real-time data stream including timecode, optical parameters, distortion maps and parametric camera models plus support for future features. The most immediate benefit of this is a fast procedure for working with lenses new to the system.

“We are seeing increasing demand from all tiers of broadcasters for virtual and augmented graphics” comments Mike Fredriksen, Commercial Director – RT Software. “And increasingly our clients are looking for high production values. In the studio that can mean quick rig / derig times, flexibility on the choice of camera mounts and in the stadiums that might involve putting graphics on the pitch in new and exciting ways using spider cams and the like. Ncam is unique in that can deliver in these traditionally difficult to achieve aspects of VR”.

“The success of the RT Software integration is fantastic news” says Kingsley Cook, Business Development Executive – Ncam Technologies. “It’s a great pleasure to be associated with RT’s powerful software. The emergence of virtual broadcasting is beginning to rapidly take centre stage across the world, with many networks now seeking out new ways in which to rapidly deploy not only a superior quality of graphics but a more challenging visualisation of VR/AR. With the combination of RT Software’s capabilities backed up by a wealth of experience and Ncam’s advanced tracking capabilities, boundaries are being pushed to higher levels. This means the delivery of quality graphics in new innovative ways and it’s a pleasure to achieve this with such a key player in the industry as RT Software.”

ERR Estonia Use RT Software and Stype Grip For First Virtual Studio Transmission in Estonia
Estonian state Broadcaster ERR selected RT Software’s tOG-VR virtual studio solution combined with a StypeGRIP kit fitted to a Jimmy jib to provide virtual inserts to their daily children’s entertainment program “Lastetuba”, the first ever use of Virtual Studios in Estonia.

Going on air during the run up to Christmas 2014, ERR’s concept was to bring discussions to life by inserting virtual scenes into the real studio. As presenters discuss a topic, the camera pans to show a real scene relevant to the discussion as if they are part of an infinitely extended studio. RT Creative provided two scenes in response to ERR’s brief, a sunny Beach Scene with rolling waves and a wintry Forest Scene complete with falling snowflakes and a beautifully lit village in the distance.

StypeGRIP provided the camera tracking data via one of their kits fitted to a Jimmy Jib, allowing good freedom of movement of the studio camera around the virtual graphics.  RT Software’s tOG-VR inserted the virtual scene into the studio with the sand and snow merging seamlessly with the real studio floor. In order to look convincing to the eye, the real and the virtual needed to be locked together at all times. This was achieved by combining the accurate camera tracking data available from Stype with tOG-VRs ability to handle lens distortions as the camera zoomed in and out – the results over the entire wide range of camera movements  possible with the jib were flawless.

“Not only were we impressed with the way tOG-VR was able to render such complex and realistic scenes, but also by the support given by RT Software’s creative team in the design and implementation,” says Risto Sirts, ERR CTO. “With the design done at RT Software, all that was required was a two day visit to ERR from one of their team and we were confident enough to go to air the following week.”

“This job was special for us since it was the first one on which RT software used our new protocol and the new way of calibrating the lens,” says Stjepan Cajic, Stype CEO. “We are glad that people are starting to grasp the value of great calibration performed inside the Stype kit. It enabled the creative guys to focus all of their energy into creating the effects and not having to worry on locking the graphics to the floor. No one had to mention the tracking which made  us very happy. Thumbs up to RT software experts for a quick support of our newest development.”

Whilst RT Software and Stype integration has already been used for on air productions in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the first use in Europe.

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