ARRI has opened a new state-of-the-art mixed reality studio in the UK. Equipped with an LED volume comprising 343sqm 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.
Located at ARRI’s UK premises in Uxbridge, with camera, grip and lighting packages available on site from ARRI Rental, the 708sqm studio is being offered for hire to short and long-form productions of any kind, as well as for events, education and R&D.
The volume consists of a main, ‘in vision’ curve that is 30m wide by 5m high; two moveable and tiltable side screens, each 3m wide by 4.2m high; and a height-adjustable ceiling of 9.6m by 9.6m. A back curve measuring 18m wide by 4.2m high completes the fully encapsulated yet adaptable space and can be programmed to display 360º 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.
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 pre-production advice and creative production services.
For productions new to mixed reality, technical support can extend to a full script-to-screen service.
The ARRI/CT volume includes two moveable side screens and a height-adjustable ceiling
Credit: ARRI / Landscape plate: David Noton
Studio design and systems integration came from the ARRI Solutions Group. Other 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 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.
Jannie van Wyk, managing director of ARRI Rental, commented: “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. These industry-leading hardware and software tools could not be better complemented than with ARRI cameras, lenses, stabilisers, lights and workflow support.”
Markus Zeiler, ARRI executive board member, said: “ARRI has made a global commitment to be at the forefront of the exciting possibilities opened up by mixed reality shooting. 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.”
Tom Burford, Head of Technical Services at Creative Technology, explained: “We at Creative Technology are thrilled to showcase this exciting new solution, bringing together a combination of best-in-class engineers and 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.
“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. 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.”