0221 Media produces live on location and enhances remotely with augmented reality elements using Ross Video’s Voyager system.
This January, production company 0221 Media celebrated its 10th anniversary of producing the 24H Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which is an established date in the international motorsport calendar. Taking this as an opportunity, the camera setup was expanded quite a bit compared to previous years. In addition to a live drone, a cable cam, live onboards and a larger number of cameras, viewers were also able to experience augmented reality elements in the livestream this year.
The production on location in Dubai was supported remotely by colleagues in the Cologne studio. Among other things, a creative virtual drone show was programmed in real time at 0221 Media’s AVXR studio in downtown Cologne and integrated into the program via the live production in Dubai.
Numerous racing-loving program viewers turned their eyes expectantly to a night-black Dubai sky, while only the stream and track TV of the 24H race actually showed glowing elements. The effect was outstanding and a complete success.
“People on site really ran out of the pits and offices and wanted to see the supposed drone show live. That’s what we hoped for during the planning. The fact that it actually happened was, of course, a great reward for our efforts in the run-up. I must once again explicitly praise our entire team in Cologne and on site,” says Sebastian Scholz, Managing Director of 0221 Media.
0221 Media not only looks back on a history of various motorsport productions, but also on a multitude of national and international live, music, sports and event productions. In order to create the conditions for professional broadcasting of the versatile formats, 0221 Media has relied for many years on the support of Studio Hamburg MCI and its large portfolio of manufacturers and solutions in the field of media technology for its technical equipment.
As with previous projects in the field of outside broadcasting, the decision to set up a studio for virtual production environments in Cologne fell on the Canadian manufacturer Ross Video and its high-performance rendering platform Voyager.
As a Diamond Elite Partner of Ross Video, MCI’s staff has a wealth of experience in building a new infrastructure as well as expanding an existing one with Ross products, allowing them to seamlessly integrate with 0221 Media’s infrastructure already equipped with Ross components.
Sebastian Scholz remembers: “Ultimately triggered by the pandemic development, we decided that we no longer wanted to place our service focus solely on classic outside broadcasting, but also to position ourselves more broadly in the area of VR/AR/XR. Perhaps a bold move during the pandemic, but we have a clear compass. When we move into our new location in Cologne in the first half of 2022, we will expand our capabilities even beyond that. A big step that we are very much looking forward to.”
In addition to the two OB vans and a flightcase control room, 0221 Media’s AVXR studio is developing positively. Today, it already holds numerous possibilities: In addition to completely virtual studio productions in a green screen or in front of an LED wall, it is also possible to supplement outdoor broadcasts from a single source with augmented reality elements. Live on location or from the control room in Cologne is irrelevant for 0221 Media. As shown in the current example, implementation is also possible completely remotely.
With the investment in the complete Voyager product family incl. Lucid Studio 0221 Media is expanding its portfolio to include Augmented Reality, Virtual Studio and XR Virtual LED Studio environments and has already been able to realize productions for German automotive manufacturers and telecommunications providers.
“Despite the fact that the year is still relatively young, various productions are already being planned and implemented this year. The requirements that the virtual environment brings are sometimes very challenging, but also offer almost infinite possibilities and advantages. It is not without reason that this approach is becoming increasingly popular with major sports events, even though the effort involved should not be underestimated”. Sebastian Scholz is pleased about the positive customer feedback.
0221 Media continues to pursue the philosophy of “everything from a single source with a single point of contact” in order to clearly define the interfaces for increasingly complex production requirements and make them as simple as possible for the customer.
Setting up, integrating, and using Voyager and its associated components was easy for technicians in an existing Ross environment and offers many advantages, as workflows already learned can be easily extended.
As one of the few graphics platforms for live productions, Ross Video’s Voyager series uses Epic Games’ powerful Unreal Engine 4.27, which enables the integration of augmented reality elements, Virtual Studio and XR Virtual LED Studio environments in real time during live productions, corporate events, e-sports and entertainment. Unreal Engine 4.27 uses graphics features such as particles, dynamic textures, real-time reflections and shadows, skeleton animation, and cloth animation to create realistic looks.
Thanks to Voyager’s integrated Lucid Studio control platform, the number of cameras and graphics engines can be scaled flexibly. Lucid Track also provides for the flexible combination of tracking devices, protocols, camera mounts and engines in the same environment. All this together ensures a realistic integration of the elements in live operation. Thanks to the intuitive user interface, the user does not need to know the Unreal Engine 4.27 to use the system, which further accelerated the integration into 0221 Media’s existing workflows.
With the addition of virtual and augmented reality content and remote-capable production environments, new creative design forms are emerging, with impressive graphic entertainment elements. In the future, 0221 Media will not only inspire its customers with flexible and innovative live broadcast production solutions on site or remotely, but will primarily surprise the viewers in front of the monitors with unique entertainment experiences – including the virtual roller coaster ride.