A virtual set in a typical television studio consist os a blend of real-time of people an /or other real objects and computer generated digital environments and objects in a seamless virtual reality-like manner. A key point of a virtual studio is that the camera can move in 3D space, while the of the virtual camera is being rendered | in real-time from the same perspective. There exist many technical solutions for creating virtual studios, but most of them include the following components.
- Camera tracking, that uses either optical or mechanical to create a live stream of data describing the exact perspective of the camera.
- Real time rendering software, that uses the camera tracking data and generates a synthetic image the desired background. For example a TV studio or a board room, or a doctors office or anyplace that the production team desires.
- A video mixer, such as he TriCaster 450, TriCaster 455, TriCaster 850 or TriCaster 855 which perfectly combines the video from the camera(s), The Tricaster 850 and 8555 combine up to eight HD camera inputs) with the video from the real-time rendering software in the TriCaster to produce a final video output or “program out”. One of the most common ways to mix the video to replace a chroma key background. This is now usually accomplished with the TriCaster or a hardware /software combination usng a program like AE5 or AE6.
- Chroma key compositing, or chroma keying, is a special effects / post-productiontechnique for layering two images or video streams together based on color hues. The technique has been used
heavily in many fields to remove a from the subject of a photo or video – particularly the news casting, motion picture and videogame industries. A color range in the top layer is made transparent, revealing another image behind. The chroma keying technique is commonly used in video production and post-production. This technique is also referred to as color keying, color-separation overlay (CSO; primarily by the BBC), or by various terms for specific color-related variants such as green screen, and blue screen – Chroma keying can be done with backgrounds of any color that are uniform and distinct, but green and blue backgrounds are more commonly used because they differ most distinctly in hue from most human skin colors and no part of the subject being filmed or photographed may duplicate a color used in the background.
A major difference between a virtual studio and the bluescreen special effects used in movies is that the computer graphics are rendered in real-time, removing the need for any post production work, and allowing it to be used in live television broadcasts.
The use of virtual TV studios allows broadcasters to appear that they have larger facilities, more staff, and many appealing locations while reducing production costs and setup time.
A virtual television studio is composed of a virtual set (video recording area with a chroma single color background) and a background video or image, which allows a simulated room or graphic background to be merged with other video objects (such as people) to produce media programs such as news segments.
Broadcasters can even buy or rent a complete virtual studio set (“The TriCaster or studio in a box actually containes not only al the hardware and software to integrate real people into virtual sets it actually supplies the virtual sets free of charge with the purchase of the unit. The new sets in the TriCaster 855 and 455 are quite good.) which contains all the necessary equipment to place actors or reporters in the center of an amazing virtual location.
Simple virtual set templates can be purchased for as little as $100 for existing templates while complete turn-key virtual studios, complete with backdrops, can be less than $20,000.
Virtual TV studios may well use video keying (color background replacement) control systems that allow for the selection, processing and merging of multiple media signals to produce a professional television program.
Virtual sets are simulated rooms or graphic backgrounds that can be merged with other video objects (such as people) to produce media programs that appear to be at locations. Virtual sets have evolved from low quality backgrounds to virtual reality sets that allow the scene to be filmed in proper perspective at any camera angle. Virtual sets may use computer created images (virtual sets) or photos (real sets), or they may be created with multiple dimensions (virtual reality).
The various TriCaster models referenced above are the TCXD300, TCXD450, TCXD450 Extreme, TCXD455, TCXD850, TCXD850 Extreme, TCXD855. With the new TriCaster Virtual Set Editor you can customize the virtuals sets not only within the TriCaster itself but also in another computer so your VFX editor can be creating virtual sets or modifying the TriCaster sets at his own work station rather than having to tie up the TriCaster itself.
You can rent a TriCaster and operator to use the virtual sets at very reasonable prices.