NewTek Talks Out-Of-Box Virtual Set

The interest and use of virtual sets are on the increase especially in show formats where there are one or two presenters. The need for more content is something that producers are acutely aware of and in places that are limited on physical space, virtual is really the only option available. This is especially true in smaller market news stations, independent productions and developing countries. The push to serve this segment will certainly be shown at NAB and NewTek, with its TriCaster, is among those with the most complete live production platform for the cost. TheBroadcastBridge talks with NewTek’s Senior Video Specialist, Will Waters ahead of the show.

What is the biggest challenge in blending real and virtual elements on set?

Will Waters: Difficulties arise when trying to match the camera image in the virtual environment. The objective is to frame the real subject with the proper perspective and scale of the virtual elements. While subtle, those differences can fatigue the viewer and increase the opportunity for distractions. Interactions in the virtual environment are expected to parallel real world references. In TriCaster, we have provided the user with tools to help frame the talent within the out-of-box virtual sets. Using these as examples, a user could then create their own with these elements in mind.

What are some of the best approaches to designing with AR in mind?

Will Waters: Any virtual environment will benefit from a design that respects the physics of the real world. The tools available today allow for many creative elements to be inserted into a video production environment, but the viewer will always be referencing what they see in the real world.  Virtual sets can be incredibly eye-catching and enhance video production value, as long as the attention to detail provides a consistency to our everyday experiences.

When does AR / VR not work?

Will Waters: The biggest challenges arise when the viewer is presented with something that is alien to them in terms of physics. Size, scale, casting of shadows, etc. Once that has been mitigated, the possibilities of virtual sets are potentially limitless. NewTek provides the means to create believable, architectural environments for the virtual platform. For the novice user, we have templates based around our out-of-box virtual sets. Additionally, we provide tools that can fit into the professional 3D architect’s pipeline.  This is of even more value to firms that design for studio environments. 

How do you best prepare talent to work with AR/VR?

Will Waters: Working on green screen and without physical props can be a challenge for even the best talent. The best case scenarios usually result in some combinations of real and virtual elements. When the talent has a reference, it translates into something that is much more natural to the viewer and adds to the realism of the shot. Examples include a real desk that the talent can sit behind, or studio elements that they can interact with. At the very least, having plenty of real time monitoring for the talent to see themselves is a must.

Working on green screen and without physical props can be a challenge for even the best talent.

Working on green screen and without physical props can be a challenge for even the best talent.

NewTek is exhibiting at NAB booth SL3312

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