In February of 2020, I had an opportunity to develop a mobile virtual production cart, but Covid shut everything down the following month, and working in the office was not an option.

So after moving everything into my home with my family, I began building the mobile cart and developing the hardware and software workflow. The cart was a piece of plywood with hinges for the table top and rear door cable access, a tool cart from Home Depo, with Caster wheels from Harbor Freight, a folding shelf on the side and a duel monitor stand mounted to the back of the cart.

Never in film or broadcast have we ever been able to get a production to be cheaper, faster, and better…that was until virtual production.

The next step was setting up the hardware and software for the project. The addition of understanding how genlock worked and getting the right camera, HTC Vive trackers, real-time keyer, sync generator, and several other pieces of hardware and software to start working together in sync proved to be easier said than done.

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After a couple of months of trial and error, we were finally able to achieve a sync between the hardware but the Vive needed to be constantly recalibrated which slowed everything down substantially. We decided to try the Antilantency tracking system that works along with Aximmetry but the week we received the system Covid hit again and everything came to a halt.

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As a result, we had to move on to what the system did well at the time and that was real-time characters using the Unreal Engine. We could push that small cart around and be set up and ready to go in under 30mins, hit run, and walk away as the talent drove the character for the presentation.

In the end, the cart served its purpose of delivering a mobile real-time industry-standard virtual production system. Hopefully, in the future, there will be a smaller and better-developed virtual production system that we can incorporate into our existing workflow. Until next time, take care!


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