ATLANTA—The Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State University’s College of Arts provides both an opportunity to generate revenue as well as a way to teach students first-hand how to operate as engineers and artists in media and entertainment. Among our facilities are a production studio, digital post-production with audio capture and digital sound edit suites. We’re also pushing into technologies and exposing our students to work in virtual reality, with a demo lab and “VR Cave.”
We recently built the 4D Views Studio, a volumetric capture space to teach students how to create augmented reality elements for the commercial market. This is also the first 4D Views Studio in the United States. I am working with 20 new student engineers in the first state-certified volumetric curriculum in the country.
‘A TRUE STUDIO EXPERIENCE’
The studio, which is about 30x50 feet, is outfitted with a 32-camera 4D Views system. The cameras are grouped in pods of four, and each pod has three individual LED lights surrounded by light boxes. These independent lights have to be married with the lighting grid, and Professor of Practice Herb Kossover and I decided ARRI SkyPanels were the ideal fit for the system. ARRI lights are relatively easy to use, and we’ve been able to complete the core component of instruction in a single three-hour class. All our engineers have quickly adapted to the ARRI SkyPanels with professionalism and ease.
We have nine SkyPanel S60-Cs installed on the grid, with a couple tripod-mounted for floor-based lighting scenarios. Another reason we decided to go with the ARRI SkyPanels was quality. ARRI is the industry standard; it’s what most studios prefer and, in my experience, you’ll find them more often than not on location. We want to give the students a true studio experience, so we bring in the hardware we believe will give them that.
UNDER THE LIGHTS
Since opening, we’ve produced several commercial projects in the 4D View Studio for Santander Bank and Arcturus. The most recent project was really exciting: working with the NFL and United Way on a Super Bowl project to create a volumetric digital character for an interactive virtual reality piece at Atlanta’s Centennial Park. We captured NFL legend Jerry Rice for a piece called “Character Playbook,” which has the digital Jerry teaching middle schoolers about how to “make the right call” on topics like bullying.
In capturing him, it was crucial that the specific color temperature of the ARRI lights tied into the color temperature of the LEDs coming off the pods. The two systems had to work together to ascertain Jerry’s very distinct and recognizable look. Light and reflection were also important; we had to control the amount of reflection coming off his head and face and maintain a high level of control. The ARRI lights were a perfect solution.
We’ve found that flexibility of the ARRI SkyPanels helps on our multi-use stage. We can roll up the volumetric system, move it off, change the entire stage configuration, and the ARRI lights just work. Having that flexibility is paramount for us. I’m also confident that the lights will be robust. In the year we’ve had them, they’ve been pretty much maintenance-free.
James Martin is professor of practice in the Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State. He has been working in animation services since 1999 and has worked on animation and graphics for film and TV projects. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit arri.com or call 845-353-1400.