Augmented reality and real-time visual effects are the future of digital content creation, sharing similar technological processes to blend computer-generated imagery with the real world. One has been in use for 20 years, but the other is completely new and yet both are part of a new augmented reality technology drive that will impact many aspects of our lives.
In broadcasting, it is typically referred to as virtual graphics and virtual sets, but generically it’s still augmented reality (AR). A piece of magic required to complete this and any other AR illusion is keeping the 3D graphic pinned to a position in the real world so it looks like it’s actually there. That’s where a six-year-old British company called Ncam excels. Ncam provides an AR camera-tracking solution that uses computer vision techniques to work out where the camera is in 3D space, where the 3D studio graphics should be and, importantly, what view of the 3D studio graphics needs to be shown for the illusion to work.
But it’s in the world of visual effects for film and TV production that the combination of Ncam’s AR camera tracking and games engine rendering is providing not new technology, but new workflows to drive production efficiency. The consumption of visual effects-laden films and TV has grown exponentially over the last ten years, but visual effects content takes a great deal longer to create and it’s this throughput challenge that Ncam is helping to address.
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