FEED Summer 2024 Web

e’ve always known that ‘nothing you see on television is real.’ But as extended reality (XR) increases its hold on the industry, this could often be literally true. The BBC can present its coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix from a studio in Manchester, a weatherman can report on a hurricane surge while up to his neck in flood water. In drama, the results can range from the epic – think The Mandalorian , an early pioneer of XR filming – to the frankly surreal: the Super Bowl simulcast for kids from the Spongebob Squarepants world of Bikini Bottom. XR is something of a catch-all term. It can encompass virtual reality (VR), where everything the viewer sees is computer-generated; mixed reality (MR), which combines real-life action and computer- generated imagery (such as live actors or presenters and a pre-recorded backdrop); and even augmented reality (AR), where computer-generated imagery is overlaid onto a view of real life. The concept of using imagery to defy the boundaries of studio or stage is nothing new, of course. When we see Humphrey Bogart driving a car, we know the moving background is just a back-projection. This works well enough for a static shot, where we are always looking over the driver’s shoulder. But if the camera moves, the perspective quickly gets out of kilter, as the camera is actually filming the rear projection screen a few feet away, instead of the real landscape disappearing to infinity. To retain true perspective, you would need to continually adjust the back-projection to match the camera’s movements. This is exactly what modern XR technology can do, rendering the content in real time and mapping it onto the backdrop to fit the camera’s perspective. It’s often referred to as 3D rendering, to distinguish it from flat, Bogart- style 2D backgrounds (which still have their place, incidentally – such as in more static, presenter- behind-a-desk studio settings).


Powered by