CREATING SOMETHING NEVER DONE BEFORE
During the MLB Now relaunch, we were given the opportunity to design and create Virtual and Augmented Reality elements for MLB Network's new Studio 21.
The opportunity to blue-sky was fantastic and we developed ideas without regard for technology restrictions - think big first and working with our partners Motion Path and Avid to solve the technology. The goal was to create a naturalistic presence within the MLB broadcast and create illusions that truly felt "real" to the viewer. This approach suits both the spirit of baseball as well as MLB Network's approach to studio shows - keeping it real.
Understanding the narratives and features of the show in question MLB Now helped us brainstorm, develop ideas that worked for the show & produce mock-ups to illustrate our thinking
Here is one of the mock-ups done with 3DSmax. Mockups were extremely important to show the client how an element would be staged and an approximation of overall look. But also important not to over-produce as the end product was running off the Orad real time system and the look and rendering is different. The BIG IDEA: making VR + AR + physical space interact - creating an illsion that no one would notice
Converting approved designs to RT platform templates and onsite implementation
Once the mockups were approved our talented partners at Motion-Path built the real-time templates for each element that would run on Orad. Testing and full implementation of the templates onsite with reliable motion tracking data. Long nights and long days on set. Understanding the studio environment, MLBN brand, desired outcomes working tirelessly with MLB staff and Orad engineering to solve unforeseen issues
In the end we had a lovely illusion of players stepping through the monitor to enter the studio. Simple, elegant, natural. Yet technically very challenging and a first in VR set graphics. Key factors:
• Getting consistent green screen footage
• Working with internal/onsite graphics group to establish workflow/pipeline
• What is baked in and what is done live
• Approach all visualization from a VFX perspective