TV TECH: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trends at the 2021 NAB Show?
MICHAEL GEISSLER: We anticipate that technology to support virtual production in all its variations—virtual studios, LED volumes, augmented reality, mixed reality and full CGI—will be a hot trend at the 2021 NAB Show. Interest in virtual technology has been rising and continues to rise exponentially, for movies and particularly for television. The key driver is the huge amount of content now being produced, with new players in the market like Amazon and Apple joining Netflix in investing very large sums in high-quality programming.
Mo-Sys is looking to help the creative world understand the possibilities and practicalities of virtual production with remarkable tools like Cinematic XR Focus, which allows a director and DoP to use the visual language they have grown up with, directing the viewer’s eye through the use of focus on different parts of the frame. This is the way that movies have worked for a hundred years, and technology must support it rather than work against it.
TVT: What will be your most important product news?
GEISSLER: We’re looking to bring our cinematic and broadcast experience and innovations to the virtual production industry with new features to showcase for our Cinematic XR initiative that will revolutionize the way cinematographers and directors can seamlessly merge virtual and real worlds.
TVT: How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?
GEISSLER: We were able to release VP Pro 4.27—the latest version of our complete solution for virtual production with a full suite of creative tools, which embed directly in the real-time graphics engine with some stunning new functionality—on the same day as Epic released Unreal Engine 4.27. That is because we have a very close relationship with the developer who gives us great insight on what they can offer. We combine that with our equally close relationship with the creative community, so we tailor our developments to meet real-world demands.
A good example is the way we now calibrate the virtual graphics software to match the individual lens. We offer our users an online portal to a lens database, so they can very quickly set up accurate lens calibration—a real time-saver on set.
The big news in VP Pro 4.27 is our NearTime cloud-based re-render engine, which is so impressive it won a highly coveted Engineering Excellence Award from the independent Hollywood Professional Association, the authoritative voice for technology in the creative industries.
NearTime allows directors and DoPs to enjoy all the practical benefits of final pixel shooting so the actors and cameras know what the final result will be. To that end, it adds uncompromised image quality at 4K Ultra HD, with the automated re-rendering starting the instant at “turn over” from the beginning of the shot. Everyone on set is happy; all the speed and throughput advantages of final pixel shooting are retained, which is that there is no post production required, but with the added benefit of maximized image quality. The method is completely against the current trend of filming and rendering in real time. Productions immediately see the benefit. We see this becoming mainstream soon.
TVT: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your company's business over the past year and half?
GEISSLER: Having enjoyed a boom during the pandemic thanks to immediate necessity, virtual production shows no sign of slowing down, offering cost efficiency, reduced environmental impact and creativity. Mo-Sys is leading the way in technology-led innovation in this field and so the company has been able to expand during the pandemic at a time when many have scaled back activities, furloughed staff or made redundancies.
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