dock10, the UK's leading television facility and home to iconic television shows including The Voice, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Blue Peter and Countdown, has announced a major expansion of its Virtual Studio capability. The facility now enables creative directors to use any of its ten studios as a virtual environment where they can seamlessly combine physical, virtual and augmented reality elements to create otherwise unachievable photorealistic worlds. Using the latest graphics processing technology, the photorealistic virtual environment is generated in real-time, enabling creative directors to see the combined 'finished' output live as it happens – either on a screen in the studio or via secure remote viewing.
This next-generation technology is a really powerful creative tool for delivering even greater onscreen value, enabling much more innovative and content-rich sets to be created. Existing sets, built in any 3D modelling package, can be imported into the system and a wide range of pre-made assets can be easily sourced, adapted and added into the design. Absolute realism is achieved through small but essential details such as shadows and reflections, while even the thinnest physical objects, such as strands of hair, are perfectly interwoven with the virtual space so as not to shatter the illusion of reality. The result is a completely convincing visual experience.
All ten studios at dock10 have been enabled to run this industry leading Virtual Studio technology, giving creative directors the flexibility to choose the perfect sized space for their production. This ranges from dock10's smaller studios of 1,000 sq ft, up to their 12,550 sq ft flagship studio, HQ1, the biggest multicamera studio in the UK.
Andy Waters, Head of Studios at dock10, said: "With the success of our virtual studios for Match of the Day and BBC Bitesize Daily, we had enquiries from creative agencies wanting to take advantage of the technology for advertising shoots, live events and corporate films. However, creative directors also wanted the flexibility to work in different sized studios to include a wider range of live performers, physical sets and mixed reality. To meet this demand, we took our experience of deploying a virtual studio into a standard studio and supersized the possibilities by adding that capability across all of our studios – enabling producers to choose the right sized space for their production."
Richard Wormwell, Head of Production Innovation at dock10, said: "Nobody else in the UK is offering this to the market - the ability to combine the real world with all the latest virtual and augmented reality, and all with real-time processing! This is a total game changer for the way content will be made in the future. It not only expands the horizons of creativity, but it does so without complicating the production process. There's no waiting for weeks to see how a shot looks as all the interactions between the real and the virtual are visible on screen as the action happens. If you don't like the camera angle, lighting or the interaction between the actors and the virtual set then you can make changes there and then, just as you would with a traditional set. That's really simple, really clever and really exciting!"