New Pixotope Fly Ushers In Markerless Tracking For Live Use

Pixotope
(Image credit: Pixotope)

OSLO, Norway—Pixotope has unveiled its Pixotope Tracking – Fly Edition (Pixotope Fly), a new camera tracking solution that simplifies creating and tracking augmented reality (AR) elements with drones and cable cameras.

The markerless technology eliminates the complex setup and creative restraints imposed by tracking markers. It enables productions and live events to engage audiences with dynamic, real-time aerial graphics, the company said.

“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Pixotope Fly,” said Pixotope chief revenue officer David Dowling.

“It eliminates the resource-intensive set up required of existing drone tracking technology; it needs no specialist sensor cameras, markers or proprietary hardware to work, and it’s deceptively simple-to-use. All you need is a drone or cable cam and the software to get started. What would have previously required a helicopter and Hollywood blockbuster caliber post-production can now be achieved with a single software solution in real time.”

As a markerless, through the lens (TTL) tracking solution, Pixotope Fly uses computer vision technology to leverage video from the onboard camera to identify anchor points in the natural live environment, such as rocks, trees and buildings, to lock onto and track against 3D graphics, the company said.

The software uses these natural anchor points to generate a virtual point cloud set of digital tracking markers that responds and adapts to changes in the environment. This means producers can add AR graphics anywhere a drone can film, indoors or outdoors, with greater creative freedom and a more dynamic viewer experience, it said.

Among Pixotope Fly’s key benefits are:

  • Streamlined setup and operation
  • Untethered creativity
  • Reduced risk for live productions.

Silver Spoon Animation used Pixotope Fly during stock car race coverage. One application was when a Pixotope Fly-calibrated drone pulled away into a wide shot, an animated graphic of the winning driver next to his car, surrounded by real-time particle effects, was shown, the company said.

“Thanks to its software-based TTL tracking technology, Pixotope Fly enabled us to go beyond what was previously possible in real-time and achieve extraordinary live effects for the client,” said Dan Pack, managing director at Silver Spoon Animation.

More information is available on the company’s website (opens in new tab).

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.