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Building a VR studio around Ultimatte 12 and other Blackmagic Design solutions

The Ultimatte 12 real time compositing processor, allowing the addition of augmented reality and virtual environments to any broadcast is a key element when building virtual reality studios.

Building a VR studio around Ultimatte 12 and other Blackmagic Design solutions

When Italian creative agency ViSo Video Solutions decided to upgrade its virtual reality studios, the company chose to add the Ultimatte 12 and URSA Broadcast cameras to its workflow.

ViSo Video Solutions, an Italian creative agency that produces national television commercials and shows for clients such as Sky Italia, Mediaset, ESL and Netco Sports, has upgraded its virtual reality studios, relying on Ultimatte 12 compositing processors and URSA Broadcast cameras to create its workflow, announced Blackmagic Design.

Ultimatte 12, world’s most trusted keyer, features one touch keying technology that analyzes a scene and automatically sets over a 100 parameters, allowing for faster workflows, essential for live production. Blackmagic Design says that “One touch keying is dramatically faster and helps you accurately pull a key with minimum effort. That leaves your operators free to focus on the overall program with less distractions, while Ultimatte 12 takes care of the rest!” Now, ViSo Video Solutions takes that approach, too.

Building a VR studio around Ultimatte 12 and other Blackmagic Design solutions

A 130 square meters VR studio

Founded in 2010, the company not only offers clients its VR services, it also creates all computer generated (CG) and 3D assets needed in house, and provides all post production which includes editing and grading in DaVinci Resolve Studio. It was only logic that, when building virtual studio sets, the company looked at the extensive portfolio of solutions from Blackmagic Design to create a complete chain for acquisition and control, using elements that would easily work together.

“Augmented and virtual studio environments bring so many benefits to productions,” begins Luigi Nino, general manager at ViSo. “We chose to develop our VR system in house so that we could control every aspect, and customize materials, lighting, animations and effects for each clients’ specific needs.”

The studio’s VR set is 130 square meters and uses three tripod mounted URSA Broadcasts as well as a dolly mounted 4.5m jib on a six meter track. An ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K, with ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel, is used for live vision mixing.

Building a VR studio around Ultimatte 12 and other Blackmagic Design solutions

Using a dedicated Ultimatte with each camera

“When you have multiple cameras like this shooting from different angles, it can be quite easy to miss a bit of spill, however having a dedicated Ultimatte attached to each camera chain, paired with the correct lighting, ensures we always get the best possible key,” adds Luigi.

He continues: “We’d used Ultimatte previously and made the decision to upgrade to Ultimatte 12 as it is much better at dealing with green spill. Not only that it can also create quick and very accurate garbage mattes.”

On moving CG objects in a set, Luigi explains, “We have our own in house software that essentially takes control of all 3D/CG elements in the scene and allows us to edit them. You can visualize them in real-time and if something needs changing you can import models, pre-visualize them, move them, make them bigger or smaller, anything you want.”

Once they decide on how the scene will look, it will be ‘frozen’ and it is ready to be recorded with the help of Ultimatte.

Building a VR studio around Blackmagic Design solutions

A complete solution at an amazing price

“One of my favorite examples is ESL Italy’s fortnightly magazine show, called House of Esports, which is shown on DMAXHD. We put the host and guests in the game being discussed and they can then get up and walk around the set and it just looks incredible.

The scene is full of characters, effects and animations with elements in both the background and foreground to create a very realistic virtual set.”

Luigi concludes: “Since Blackmagic Design acquired Ultimatte, I have been astonished at the improvements made to an already fantastic chroma keyer. Combined with all of our other Blackmagic hardware, we now have a complete chain for acquisition and control at an amazing price point which ensures we achieve our quality objectives.”


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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…
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