Cinema meets Metaverse in Hollywood North – News info

Vancouver has cultivated a reputation as a city capable of transforming into anything, from Pyongyang in The Interview to Mumbai in the Mission: Impossible franchise.

Now finds new technological advances for metaverse film studios that encourage Vancouver to transform into just about anything imaginable.

“Vancouver’s makeup – a kind of mix of Hollywood North with the strong mixed reality cluster we have – we think it’s the perfect place,” said James Hursthouse, CEO of Departure Lounge Inc.

His British Columbia firm recently partnered with Los Angeles-based Metastage Inc., which will launch an installation at the Center for Digital Media along the Great Northern Way, specializing in Microsoft Corp.’s volumetric capture technology.

Volumetric recording facilities can install up to 100 cameras to film people and objects from multiple angles at once before assembling these images for a 3D rendering.

Additional movies can go into one of these facilities where their bodies are scanned and a 3D image of them can be inserted into the background of a busy audience scene in a hockey arena instead of requiring hundreds of extras to fill the stands . Or scans of people and objects – known as digital twins – can be used for games, virtual reality or business applications such as training simulations.

Metaverse refers to an evolution of the Internet where immersive digital worlds are replacing 2D screens for everyday interactions such as shopping or hanging out with friends. Put on a pair of VR glasses or keep a smartphone within sight and users can chat with their real-time agent while watching a digital twin of a home on the market.

“Increasingly … we see human achievements captured using the volumetric scene and then incorporated into TV and film production in the mail.[-production]said Hursthouse, whose company is expected to open Metastage Canada facilities this summer.

Microsoft Corp. is involved in the effort, allowing Metastage to be the exclusive licensee of its volumetric collection technology in Western Canada.

Metastage has been implementing volumetric recording for just over three years in Los Angeles, where Hollywood productions are leveraging the technology, and Hursthouse said the Vancouver joint venture has already received requests from companies looking to use it here.

The film industry contributed $ 3.3 billion to the BC economy in the fiscal year 2020-21, an increase of 13% from $ 2.9 billion the year before, according to the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) Profile 2021 report released earlier this month.

Most of BC’s production activity was focused on foreign service work for Hollywood feature films and television shows, generating $ 2.7 billion. This represents 52% of all foreign service work done in Canada in the past year.

“Virtual production is huge right now across all studios,” said Mary Lim, director of education and program development at the Vancouver Film School (VFS).

The Film School launched an education in VR / AR design and development in April 2019, and students have worked on client projects that have utilized virtual reality to help educate approximately 200 medical students at the University of British Columbia.

It has also recently entered into a partnership with Tesla Inc. about a training simulation for its automakers that covers everything from operating equipment to assembling parts.

Beyond Capture Studios, which specializes in the same type of motion-capture technology that brought the Lord of the Rings character Gollum to the big screen, is based on the VFS campus in Gastown, and Lim said students have been able to use company facilities. as part of their learning.

“A former production design director from our film program approached me to see if he could just audit some of the [classes] in the program because he wanted to learn more, ”she said. “There is definitely a need.”

Meanwhile, Hursthouse said Vancouver’s blend of gaming, animation and film expertise will continue to attract business partners who may only be able to find in-depth knowledge in one or two of these sectors in other cities.

“All of these things come together, and it really is the perfect storm for volumetric recording.”

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