Broadcast Television Services of Austin, Texas

Videoranch 3D

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In October 2009 I was brought on to be a part of an Austin team to create content for

The basic concept was for me to increase Chroma Key resolution for the inserted live band onto a stage in the virtual 3D environment.

In addition they wanted “magnificams” (jumbotrons) above the stage like a traditional live festival stage. I started with several resolution tests to determine losses in signal during encoding. I found several challanges to work out and found good solutions.


Here are a few images of the live shows we did in January 2010. As you can see the inserted band are creating shadows against the virtural set. The following three images are of the Larry McMurtry band during one of our first VR3D shows in Austin. These are all in world images captured from a participant. Shadow and light direction was a incredible incentive. Notice the avatars and slight stage light variations.


On a more technical note....

Videoranch during the South by Southwest Festival.

We shot 15 bands and three clinics during our five day schedule. We shot at Austin Studios which used to be a private plane hanger at Muller airport. At one point I heard that 51 countries and 10k folks showed up during one of our shows. The following photos are of the stage and projection screen for the band.

The Set

This is looking from the back of camera 2. This is house lighting so the green screen looks uneven.

This is looking from center stage to the right a little. The floor DJ works at a console to the right. The band will see a chat line on the lower third of the projector screen for in world communications. The band can also see the avitars dancing with this view. It was a large challange to keep the stage lighting from obstructing the bands view of the projector.


Here the green screen is lit and Ed is on Camera 2. You can see Warren (DJ) to the left. Notice how even the lighting is. Also, now days the lighting ratio is 1:1 which makes green screen much easier than in decades past.

The Shows

Asleep at the Wheels' Ray Benson is shown here on the magnificam. The trick to directing this show was selecting the appropriate background for each magnificam shot. Camera 2 and 3 required different backgrounds for both position and focal length. I think I had a pool of 40 or so background images.

This shot was taken by a flying avatar. The band is Little Joe & La Familia.

Sometimes the backgrounds became confusing. I look at this image and still think something is wrong. Actually it's correct from the camera 3 position. I think what is misleading is how far camera 3 is to the left. On the wide shot you see the lead singer is looking stage right. On the magnificam she's looking stage left. Pretty good illusion considering we only had three cameras. The banding of the background proves location.



The desk is basically split down the middle with directing and engineering on the left and the encoding, graphics and in world camera on the right. Audio was in a separate room. We used 2 quadcores and 2 dualcore machines, my office editing G5 and three laptops. I used three broadcast video switchers with 13 channels of keys to output 720p to two separate internet streams which were flash and windows media. I engineered the whole affair and directed all the shows.




These shots are during a show. I'm on the left and Ben Bays is on the right. During the show it was fairly simple to run. Most of the work was done before and after shows. We networked graphics into the switchers and could tweak things live if needed.