Virtual Studio for on-air broadcasting made easy – Ventuz and VioTrack

Date: 1st August 2013
Agency: VioTrack
Market: Broadcast, Technology: Augmented Reality, Motion Graphics, Virtual Studio

At NAB Ventuz, Molden Media and TrackMen joined forces to demo an interactive virtual studio setup on our booth. It combined a virtual studio, on-air graphics and touch devices for broadcast studios of any size. Let us explain more of how it was created.

Modular Broadcast Virtual Studio
The VioTrack virtual studio technology by TrackMen is based on the idea that broadcasters of any size should be able to integrate a virtual set into their studios. Following this idea, TrackMen developed a modular system that can be extended depending on how advanced the studio should be.
To provide for the modular nature of the system, the camera movement is calculated inside of the filmed image. On the green screen there are colored markers that can be easily keyed out and are therefore not visible in the final TV signal. These markers are detected by the tracking software and are used to determine the movement of the camera in real-time. This is the most basic version of VioTrack and has its limitations: it should only be used with fixed cameras, because the software cannot detect the difference between a zoom and a camera movement.
The second module of VioTrack bridges this gap by providing a sensor for the focus and zoom functionalities of the camera. The third module consists of a second camera, which is mounted on top of the normal TV camera. This second camera is used for all sensor work, which makes it possible to go into super-close-ups.
Flexible and adaptable broadcast technology
What we enjoyed about this technology is that it correlates wonderfully with our own philosophy of flexibility and adaptability. Just like Ventuz, the VioTrack system can be used with the broadcaster’s existing hardware and doesn’t require a complete system-change. It can easily be integrated into a studio and extended flexibly, according not only to the needs at hand, but also to the budget.
At NAB 2013, we had the chance to experience first-hand how easily VioTrack and Ventuz work together. Setting up a scene for the virtual studio is incredibly easy. All that needs to be done is adding the information from the tracking system into the camera-node – and that is pretty much it.
Add multi-touch technology
What made the NAB demo especially interesting was that Molden Media also added a touch screen to the experience. Now, they used their own software there, but naturally a simple Ventuz scene would have done the trick just the same. We haven’t seen a slimmer, smarter way to integrate a full virtual set into a broadcast studio. If you know one, post about it below, we would be happy to look at it.
VioTrack will officially be released in the fall of 2013. For more information, visit TrackMen’s website. Thanks again to everyone involved in this demo. It was a pleasure to have you on the booth.