ARRI Opens Doors to New UK-Based Mixed Reality Studio
ARRI has opened its new mixed reality studio in the UK. Equipped with an LED volume comprising 343 square meters of LED wall, installed in partnership with NEP Live Events production and technical specialist firm Creative Technology, the studio is one of the biggest permanent mixed reality production spaces in Europe.
“Collaborating with best-for-purpose suppliers of all the varied required technologies has enabled ARRI to deliver a full solution for mixed reality in our Uxbridge studio,” says Jannie van Wyk, Managing Director of ARRI Rental. “These industry-leading hardware and software tools could not be better complemented than with ARRI cameras, lenses, stabilizers, lights, and workflow support, which can be provided to productions as a package deal on site. Unsurpassed in image quality and all-round technical solutions, ARRI products are ideally suited to mixed reality shooting. ARRI’s engineers will continue to learn and innovate to improve their integration into the virtual environment.”
Located at ARRI’s UK premises in Uxbridge, with camera, grip, and lighting packages available on site from ARRI Rental, the 708 square-meter (7,621 square-foot) studio is being offered for hire to short and long-form productions of any kind, as well as for events, education, and R&D.
“ARRI has made a global commitment to be at the forefront of the exciting possibilities opened up by mixed reality shooting,” says Markus Zeiler, ARRI Executive Board member. “In addition to this commercially available studio in the UK, we have also built LED volume stages at our facilities in Burbank, California and Munich, Germany, providing space for our technicians and clients to conduct R&D, testing, and demonstrations. As one of the most trusted brands in the industry, ARRI, with its partners, is here to help filmmakers embrace mixed reality and use it creatively, just as we were with the advents of digital camera technologies and LED lighting.”
The volume consists of a main, ‘in vision’ curve that is 30 m wide by 5 m high (98.4 ft x 16.4 ft); two moveable and tiltable side screens, each 3 m wide by 4.2 m high (9.8 ft x 13.8 ft); and a height-adjustable ceiling of 9.6 m by 9.6 m (31.5 ft x 31.5 ft). A back curve measuring 18 m wide by 4.2 m high (59.1 ft x 13.8 ft) completes the fully encapsulated yet adaptable space, and can be programmed to display 360-degree imagery that even when not in frame, casts dynamic, fully integrated lighting effects onto the performers and the scene being shot. The ‘in vision’ curve is constructed from ROE Visual Ruby 2.3 panels, while the side screens, ceiling, and back curve use ROE Visual Carbon CB5 panels.
“We at Creative Technology are thrilled to showcase this exciting new solution, bringing together a combination of best-in-class engineers and technology,” says Tom Burford, Head of Technical Services at Creative Technology. “Leveraging CT’s unparalleled experience of display technology, signal processing, and media playback with ARRI’s world class camera and lighting technology, we have designed and built this volume specifically for mixed reality productions. The shape, rigging solutions, choice of hardware, and signal distribution have all been very carefully considered to produce the most flexible shooting environment possible.”
Much like the modular facilities, technical support can be tailored to the requirements of each production, with the full weight of expertise from ARRI, Creative Technology, and their respective partners available in the form of preproduction advice and creative production services. For productions new to mixed reality, technical support can extend to a full script-to-screen service.
Studio design and systems integration came from the ARRI Solutions Group, which can facilitate complete turnkey installations globally. Other cutting-edge technology companies have contributed to the construction and workflows of the stage and continue to provide ongoing support. Creative Technology designed and installed video walls, playback systems, and a number of powerful control solutions; Mo-Sys supplied a StarTracker camera tracking system and VP Pro XR; Epic Games provided its flagship real-time 3D creation tool, Unreal Engine; and Nvidia’s RTX A6000 GPUs power the image processing.
“The capabilities provided by these new technologies, when in the hands of visual artists, allow for the production of outstanding results that are very difficult to achieve in other ways,” says Buford. “Shooting in the stage is a truly emotive, immersive experience. The sense of being fully surrounded within a virtual environment really does need to be felt first-hand.”