A Vitec Group brand
As competition for viewer eyeballs heats up, those responsible for movie, television and web production are pushing the boundaries of technology to remain fresh, new and entertaining. This “goldrush” in technology, has resulted in the world’s leading studio and field camera support manufacturer, Vinten, teaming up with the world’s leading motion tracking technology company, InterSense. By combining forces, this unique duo have created a precision camera tracking solution, ImageTrackerÔ IS-900, an important advance in virtual reality production for broadcast and cable television, as well as the web.
Commenting on this major development, Robin Howe, Chief Executive of Vinten, said “Through both our manual and robotic camera supports, we are constantly trying to improve the shot quality and creative options. Now, with the addition of InterSense technology, we can offer a product package that enables the widespread adoption of enhanced images for Producers and Directors to create ever more engaging content.”
In support of that sentiment, Charlie Miller, CEO of InterSense, stated, “The convergence of high power computers, 3D graphics software with precision motion tracking is turning the promise of virtual sets into reality. This partnership provides the enabling technology to fully utilize the latest graphics packages without many of the inhibitors that have traditionally been associated with Virtual Environments.”
Camera tracking, an integral piece of the virtual set solution, determines the position, orientation and lens settings of a camera so the graphical background perspective matches the live camera shot, merging the real and virtual worlds into a seamless scene. Virtual sets are used in news broadcasts, Hollywood feature films and the rapidly growing market for real-time Web broadcasting applications.
What distinguishes InterSense technology from other motion tracking platforms on the market is that it uses inertial tracking as the core technology. Inertial tracking, used for years in the defense industry in aircraft and ships, was unsuitable for adaptation to broadcast, until InterSense developed a way to shrink it down to a form factor small enough to be used on computer input devices and headsets. This resulted in a precise solution accurate within millimeters. InterSense then combined inertial tracking and acoustic sensors with SensorFusion software, to create precision motion tracking without the drift, jitter or lag inherent in other motion tracking technologies (optical, magnetic), thereby perfectly replicating the quality of motion required for normal broadcast.
For Production Studios and Broadcasters, the new partnership will provide several important benefits including seamless integration with 3-D computer graphic environments in real time, which will in turn reduce the time and cost of programming.
In addition, Vinten’s ImageTracker IS-900 has been engineered to ‘know’ the camera’s position in relationship to 3D graphics or a virtual set. The ‘smart’ tracked pedestal or head stays in perfect ‘sync’ and orientation to the virtual set. As an example of this, if a ‘virtual couch’ on your virtual set is seen from a ‘head on’ shot, when you arc the camera right, you will see the side of the couch and the set in perfect perspective and orientation.
Webcasters can also enjoy these important benefits, which will allow them to easily automate their productions to facilitate 24 x 7 broadcasting, as well as provide remote ‘on line’ supervision.
In general, Vinten’s ImageTracker IS900’s precision motion tracking technology helps TV stations and film studios save money by having reporters and actors inter-relate with computer generated backgrounds or virtual sets as an alternative to filming on location or constructing sets. Once created, the digital graphic sets and elements become a toolbox of items that can be used or modified for future virtual productions. For example, by using a tracked wand, a director can call up pre-produced computer graphic element and accurately position it in the virtual set prior to a shot.
The Vinten-InterSense alliance will take virtual reality production to the next level
by delivering precise and accurate wide-area, interference-free, camera, tool and talent tracking for the most demanding applications. In addition, it will provide all position and orientation information of both real and virtual elements to the production in a unified, real-world coordinate system. Plus, it will offer an easily installed system, auto-calibration hardware and software, wide software support and backward compatibility with InterSense¹s full product line.
Looking to the future, Vinten and InterSense plan to expand upon ImageTracker technology in Field/OB and Studio applications. In Field/OB, it will offer ‘Slaved Head Functionality’ in which automated cameras are ‘slaved’ with the use of Head Mounted Displays allowing cameras to be mounted in difficult to reach positions to capture unprecedented camera angles and creative shots. In the studio, the precise nature of InterSense’s inertial tracking will transform Vintens robotic camera supports into intelligent pedestals that always know exactly where they are on the set. No longer will cameras have to be taken ‘off-line’ when ‘on air’ because whenever the intelligent pedestal gets out of alignment it automatically detects it’s incorrect position and realigns itself to the correct position.
For information on Vinten’s ImageTracker IS-900 or other Vinten products call 1-888-2-VINTEN (U.S. and Canada).
Vinten Inc. manufactures Autocam Television Camera Robotics systems used in broadcasting, cable, legislative, religious and corporate television facilities worldwide.