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NewTek Studio | Interactive Demo

Mastering Virtual Sets Part 3: Making a Holographic LiveSet™ in Virtual Set Editor

September 03, 2019 by Don Ballance, video; Chuck Baker, text

Another unique capability of NewTek TriCaster® LiveSet virtual set technology is the Holographic LiveSet: the ability to turn a panoramic image into a virtual environment in which talent can be positioned and move about as though in the real location. Several Holographic LiveSets are included in TriCaster content and in Virtual Set Editor content. A number of example panoramic images are also included in the VSE content. Tutorials on ways to create your own panoramic images for use in creating Holographic LiveSets are listed below.

Here’s what NewTek production expert Don Ballance shows us in this tutorial:

  • The VSE content contains a template project “Panorama” in which you can load a panoramic image to create a Holographic LiveSet
  • Among the VSE content is the Holographic LiveSet “City Hall”
  • Panoramic images can be cylindrical (a sequence of images made simply by turning in a circle on one spot) or spherical (images that capture the entire spherical view from one spot); City Hall is spherical
  • Virtual navigation of the spherical image is demonstrated:
    • Left-click to rotate the view - move side to side or up and down with the mouse
    • Right-click to zoom the view - push in and out with the mouse
  • This set has two talent positions
    • Input A Talent on the steps of City Hall
    • Input B Talent on the sidewalk by the street in front of City Hall
  • Both talent inputs can be resized and positioned as desired
  • A mask has been created for a railing on the steps; this allows Input A talent to be placed behind the railing
  • The demonstration moves from the City Hall project to the Panorama project
    • A panoramic image is selected from the available library and loaded into the project, automatically turning the image into a Holographic LiveSet
    • A talent location is automatically created for the new Holographic LiveSet; this can be repositioned and resized to any preferred location in the set
    • The talent location is not restricted to the choice you make in VSE - you can move talent location at will in the M/E in the TriCaster as well
  • A Holographic LiveSet offers complete freedom of movement for the virtual camera at the center of the set.

TriCaster Holographic LiveSets are a secret weapon that many types of show could take advantage of to add incredible variety and stunning looks to their appearance, at almost no cost. As one example, local stations could easily and inexpensively “bank” every location they go to for future use. On the lifestyle programming side this can add a fun option for sharing the best places to see in the city, or let you do the cooking segment in the courthouse square. On the news side - “We have a team on the way to cover this breaking news, but let’s give you a look right now at that location from our Virtual San Antonio library,” - and the in-studio reporter next appears to be standing right in the location, giving viewers the lay of the land and the initial reports on the developing story, then switching to the live team on site when they are in place and transmitting.

Talk shows don’t have to restrict themselves to a single indoor set. Variety shows can set each act on their own custom dressed stage, or for that matter anywhere in the world. Independently produced films and scripted television shows can offer absolutely any number of locations, interior or exterior, at whim. The capability to use masking for elements within a Holographic LiveSet to allow talent to appear to move around that element in physical space sells the illusion completely for viewers.

In addition to the panoramic images provided in the VSE content, vast numbers of such images are available both free and commercially on the internet. You can also easily make your own original sets from any exterior or interior location, as many cameras include panoramic image creation options, and for those that don’t you can use image stitching software such as Microsoft ICE, which is free. You can even create and render imaginary environments, photoreal or artistically stylized, in computer graphics software such as LightWave 3D®.

So, unlimited locations, minimal expense, maximum impact visually for the stories you want to tell. What are you waiting for? We have loads of articles on green-screen production - here’s one to get you started: Simple Green Screen Setups on a Budget.

Previous: Mastering Virtual Sets Part 2: Customizing Sets in Virtual Set Editor

Next: [Mastering Virtual Sets Part 4: Using Virtual Set Editor for Multi-layer Effects] (Link Coming Soon)

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Virtual Set Editor Content Library with two of the Holographic LiveSets marked.


Virtual Set Editor Content Library showing some of the available panoramic images.


City Hall Holographic LiveSet views zoomed in on Input A and Input B talent positions.


City Hall Holographic LiveSet views zoomed out to show both Input A and Input B talent positions, with talent keyed into the set. Note that Input A appears behind the railing.
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