Introduced recently, HELIOS is the new camera-tracking beacon designed for all environments to enable extended and augmented reality for the broadcast, cinematic and touring industries.
Unveiled at ISE 2020 in Amsterdam, the new camera-tracking beacon, HELIOS, is a part of BlackTrax’s CONVRG camera automation ecosystem launched in April 2019. Mounted directly onto a camera to suit any filming needs, the unified ecosystem of BlackTrax, CONVRG and HELIOS will allow users the flexibility of placing BTSensors in vantage points and areas that best suit the specific environment of any production.
The system expands the concept of the smart studio that was part of Panasonic’s presence at NAB 2019. Yes, Panasonic! ProVideo Coalition published, then, one article entitled “Panasonic “Smart Studio”at NAB 2019 shows the future of live production” and one of the key elements of the presentation was the solution from the CAST. We wrote this: “Panasonic believes that at the Smart Studio you can experience the future of live production. From camera systems that can fill a multiviewer up with just one camera to tracking moving subjects in real-time with a Blacktrax system, create complex on-air moves and even create unique augmented reality integration for live programming with Brainstorm, the possibilities are endless.”
Smart Studio at NAB 2019
Inside a crowded Panasonic booth at NAB 2019, BlackTrax representatives facilitated visitors’ curiosities by explaining the inner workings of an automated studio, of which tracking played a central role. Visitors saw players of Giant Jenga and mini golf being tracked by studio lighting, 8KROI and PTZ cameras, broadcast robotics, and augmented reality graphics. The collaborative effort at NAB 2019 by Panasonic, BlackTrax, Brainstorm and Tecnopoint proved the practicality of the Smart Studio solution in reducing studio costs, labor, and general headaches.
Automated studios provide the type of flexibility and accuracy that would otherwise require immense amounts of manpower and attention to detail. Moreover, with the addition of 3D graphics, Smart Studios can generate AR content in real-time to expand the space, both physically and creatively, of any broadcast set. Inside a studio setting, the power of BlackTrax becomes multiplied and refined, especially when integrated with third-party systems.
Connects directly to Canon or Fujinon lenses
The new camera-tracking beacon HELIOS added to the system is a PoE device that gen-locks and integrates with broadcasting systems to standards worldwide, making it a versatile tracking solution that syncs with BlackTrax environments using the line-of-sight technology BlackTrax is known for. HELIOS automatically creates a five-point rigid body with five LEDs on each corner of the device, plus one in the center. Used in conjunction with lenses from such manufacturers as Fujinon, Canon and more, HELIOS connects directly with lenses to collect and synchronize lens data with tracking data, the resulting streams of which are gen-locked through HELIOS per worldwide standards.
Folded within a single ecosystem alongside BlackTrax and CONVRG, HELIOS is the perfect complement to any BlackTrax environment or system, significantly simplifying production workflows by removing the need for multiple tracking systems when gathering positional data from several sources.
A step further into the automated future
Andrew Gordon, VP, Business Development of CAST Group, elaborates: “CAST understands that as tracking data becomes more and more the linchpin and nervous system of productions, having everything under one umbrella becomes the essence of any quality workflow. We are confident that the combination of HELIOS, CONVRG and BlackTrax will not only help productions get to air quickly, but will help improve content interaction and overall, save time and money within any production.”
With the introduction of HELIOS, the CONVRG ecosystem can now merge real and virtual worlds, taking BlackTrax technologies another step further into the automated future. HELIOS is currently being beta-tested with select users worldwide, with the official public release scheduled for later this year.
A hands-on-course on BlackTrax
If you’re curious about the system and want to know more, there is a hands-on-course this week in New York, at See Factor Industry. This two-day course, BlackTrax Fundamentals, which costs $499, provides attendees with an understanding of BlackTrax, including core components and benefits of real-time tracking in various applications.
The course is for all industry professionals including designers and technicians who want an introduction to the system. By the end of the course, you will understand fundamental BlackTrax hardware and software components and how BlackTrax can be integrated within a production. On successful completion of our BlackTrax Fundamentals course you can progress to our Certified BlackTrax Technician course.