Sponsor Session – Stage Precision

4:25pm in Studio A

Using Stage Precision in Productions, a User’s Perspective

Scott Millar, a veteran user of Stage Precision and former CTO of XR Studios, has been capitalizing on this indispensable tool since 2018. He will share insights from his diverse projects, illustrating how Stage Precision has been his catalyst, transforming complex tasks into manageable solutions without the need for intricate development.

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Scott Millar  00:12

Hello. So anyway I got up onstage here, I started getting a bit nervous when it’s got another. For those who don’t know me. I used to I used to still do very strange. We’ll talk about it later in the pub. I was CTO of XR Studios. So with JT and the rest of the crew designed and built this lovely space that we have here now and I, other things are happening, doing different things. As I say, another story for another time. The very good relationship with, the Stage Precision team in Germany, we’ve been, I’ve been working with them for a long time, kind of remember how many years we’ve been working with our sister company bright as well. So they couldn’t make it over here. Tony and Sarah here from Stage Precision, but the technical team could get here. So they asked me to make a quick talk on behalf of Stage Precision to chat about Stage Precision. From this sort of perspective of a user of Stage Precision, it’s gonna be called SP from now on. So I just wanted to make sure you got the name before we go on. So Stage Precision is a software company, they have currently three and a half products, space composer is in beta at the moment, but will be out soon. So for products, Stage Precision, Shield, Space Composer or gateway, very quickly Stage Precision is a is a core tools, their first tool they built under is an incredibly powerful piece of software for connecting everything together, it’s probably the easiest way to talk about it. Shield is a plugin that they’ve written for Unreal, and allows you to control unreal from Stage Precision. It also has a rendering engine that they’ve built on top of the unreal rendering engine for augmented reality or for pure output and other various fun things sort of control and rendering. Space Composer is a new tool, they’re bringing it to help to help the sort of AR workflows so you can do unreal, you can do Notch, even TouchDesigner, maybe he’s gonna get in there. But essentially, it’s a tool for bringing together lots of different graphics engines, and I put it getting an output from them easily. Gateway is a small little service that you run on a lot machines that allows you to control the machine. So you’ve got 10, render nodes, we have gateway installed on them, you can restart them, you can run command prompts, etc. So very quickly, SP, this is kind of the logic on it. It is a tool that sits in the middle of everything that you see up there. And that’s the that’s the very much the gist of it. And their entire concept is just to make all of the connections between all of that stuff, easy. I’ll give them credit, they’ve done a very good job of that. So bunch of use cases, I’ll let you read those yourselves quickly at a glance at. But essentially, you can see you can do a lot of things with it. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s becoming a more and more used tool in this in this world. One big thing is that it is not a media server, per se, but it allows you to control a lot of media servers. So that is one thing that we joke with him a lot about. But it is something to make very clear. This is sp This is just one of those demo scenes. No, they’re larger presentation, longer presentation, they talk through all this. But in general, on the left, bottom left, you got a bunch of inputs. Top left, you have objects that are in the software and the scene, you’ve got this visualizer lovely 3d visualizer, very top, you’ve got timeline. In the middle, you’ve got some control buttons, and it’s called boards. And you can do lots of node based connections. So if you want to do math, you don’t have to write Python, you just connect a bunch of lines together and it works. On the right there is parameters for all of the above. So see this place? Yep. little sizzle reel should be audio, maybe not. I didn’t build this place I’ll just say it along test Stage Precision. It’s really good. Look at all the things we can do. Now, so I’ll just talk it’s much easier I can do that. Stage Precision. They have a sister company bright. Not same company very to be very clear. But there’s there’s big overlap with some of the staff but bright is a production company over in Frankfurt in Germany. And it was sort of out of some of the projects that they’ve been doing that Stage Precision was born. As another bit of software Michael Handelman wrote towards stage which he wrote for a Cinema 4d Many moons ago. And that’s kind of where this all came from. So because they’re one of the biggest, best things that Stage Precision, one of the good things for working with stage precision is that the people that are working on it are production people. Their background is production, Axl is a lighting programmer for many years on the road, they do a lot of Content, they’re writing this tool to help them solve the problems that they’re coming up against every day. We all know the challenges of, of production are very different from the challenges of of being a developer and writing code. So user perspective , why SP? in our normal lives, if you have a problem, you add money to it, you generally get a solution. In video technology world, my kind of concept for a lot of it is if you add Stage Precision to a problem, you also get solutions. The top one also works in our world, it’s just sometimes harder to get more money. So because I’m a user, I’m not a straight up SP salesperson, that Sara and Tony’s job, I’ll go just be very, you know, very, very open about the kind of mindset that I have when looking at SP generally, anyone who knows me knows I love TouchDesigner. Because it’s amazing. Ben will tell you all about it is in the audience somewhere. Real-time graphics and data TouchDesigner, if you want to write your own code TouchDesigner, there’s a lot of stuff that can be done with that you’re making real time rendered graphics use notch or unreal, if you really have to. Real time control companion these days is fantastic and used and a huge amount of shows. What’s the expectation then comes in is this concept of real time data and control or when you want to just bring all of this stuff into one place. The biggest delta between Stage Precision and TouchDesigner is just in Stage Precision they’ve done a really good job of removing the there’s not as much coding you’re not writing as many lines of code Now, like everything. Everyone will argue you can do stuff in either bit of software. But Stage Precision just has kind of gone down a path which is a good path to go down. And not necessarily want the other should go down a good path to go down of just drag the thing in and it just works. Now at the bottom there. It obviously works with all of this stuff, or however you want to connect it together. So well I’ve used SP I’ve can be pretty much it’s been my time at XR studios in kind of ticket. That’s that’s where we’ve done a lot of these projects, virtual production, augmented reality, interactive, Immersive media and show control. So virtual production, why SP, one of the best, SP was built out of the concept of taking lots of 3d data and just trying to wrangle it together. One of the best examples for that virtual production, we’ve used it a couple of times in this stage. If we put a we’ve got Stype redspys by the dozen in here, they need to see the dots in the roof. If we put a also big light called I’ve forgotten if we cover this in cloth to get what’s the word. That’s the one. If we put big soft box in here, redspy cameras can’t see the dots so they lose tracking. We’ve also in here got a follow a system from start. So we can use the spider tracking No, we were in the stage and we’re not doing full XR, the spider tracking works really well right outside the stage, we need redspy to get the really really accurate tracking for XR. So with Stage Precision, we can build really cool systems where we’re tracking a Camera with both systems at the same time. And as the Camera goes into a certain zone, it just, if there’s ever so slight discrepancy, it’ll just blend those two systems together. And I’ll use a spider in here and a red spy out there. And that’s fully automated. And that’s it for for standard precision, that’s a really simple thing. Like they’ll say, oh, that’s just a couple of notes that it’s done for us and when you’re doing shoots and things when so much stuff’s moving around to have that just automatic ability is a huge tool. So that’s, that’s one bit adding to that it works in every tracking system, you can build your own tracking system quite easily probably using the fact that stage precision can bring all these bits of information and you can get lens data from one set up and position from another and do whatever kind of crazy setup you want to get. And at the very end you bring it all together and you I put one protocol to your media server real virtual lighting is another huge part of SP Deva monster some isa XL Michael both lighting backgrounds, there’s a lot of really really good lighting tools. Big thing for real virtual lighting as you can you build your full sort of lighting rig. You can dynamically say well the cameras in this position so I want these physical lights and these lights to be virtual you can set SP up sort of saying certain DMX to certain lights and so set might say And some might only use this half of the rooms, real lights. And this half the room might be virtual lights, and you can set all those control systems up. And there’s just the whole thing is just how do you automate these things, when you’re on a ship, you just don’t want to have to be worried about this problem over and over again, you get this, you get the visualizer, you see everything happening in real time, lens and Camera calibration. If anyone’s touched anything with virtual production, or XR, they know what it absolutely is, that is the single biggest hassle with all of this, the guy’s built some nice tools to solve that problem. And again, it’s completely Media Server agnostic. So disguise your vertex, your pyxera, whatever system you want to use, you have access to that because SP’s kind of linking all this taken all this information in making it useful sending out Media Server control, as well. You can have to disposition control your d3 servers, if you’ve got other crazy stuff happening, it’s also feeding in you can have a control, you know, once you button can control everything. Yes, you can do that and all that but software, but there’s just a level, it’s really a it’s a level of control, you get an SP and it’s also really nice to have everything in one place. And then one that last point, the end is that you can control unreal, from shield from via shield, which is their plugin, and you don’t actually need shield licenses for that you just need a basic SP license for that my time is running out, this might get faster augmented reality. They already have Camera tracking, they already have lens calibration, they have a rendering system and shield and they have space composer to render notch as well. So they have all these things, it’s pretty obvious you augmented reality is really good with SP as that add XRS we use that on a number of shows we’ve worked with the famous grip, we’ve also used it a number of shows, basically work but the reality is that they control the entire pipeline, everything from you know if it’s not true on the reel or whatever, there’s sort of random read engineers, they do the rendering, they do the calibration, they do the output, and it’s all contained in one system, which makes life really easy. On site lens calibration, they are building some really really good tools these days to do calibrations for TVs, with boards with LED screens at stadiums, whatever you want to use. They’re getting the building some really really nice tools like they have won and tested at the moment for doing special lineup. So they’re using some of the LED screens and some of the NFL stadiums putting patterns in those screens, you know where the screens are, you point the Camera at you work out where the Camera is sort of similar a little bit to what the XR stuffs happening here. So all of a sudden, you can just flick a broadcast Camera on the guy can move it and it takes two seconds to realign it, which anyone who’s done AR stadium knows is a huge tool. And again, this, this is completely irrelevant every tracking system, which is on media server. So this is just sitting in the middle doing all the hard work for you. And it’s integrates with all tracking solutions. Out there his little video. So there’s a video, this is the first show we did with this first show we did using standard precision, we actually worked with Brighton as well, because this is over in Berlin. So it made sense to get those guys along. As for valorant. It was a very simple setup. Apart from the fact we had to rewrite a lot of code on site to do so we had to do. We had to do occlusion for the reflections, which was an interesting one to do we had to do. They wanted it to be additive and hide added to the background. So we had to do the adhesive as well. But we had this beautiful glossy floor. And so all the reflections in the AR were all the reflections with AR and we build boxes around the desks and did all those nice things. So massively successful show best bit of this show was when the we went to do first rehearsal did it guys were expecting the AR to be a nightmare? And they were like, Hey, are you ready? And we’re like, Yep, let’s go. And it just worked. And it worked from the very first shoot, we did the whole way to the very end, which is what we’re what we’re trying to get to with all this stuff. As we all know what they are. It’s a hassle out in it to broadcasters, broadcasters hit us. But we’re slowly getting there. Now in software like this, where you can just have that reliability is huge. Interactive, Immersive media is where I started. So very close to my heart. It’s been a while since I’ve done any of these shows. But again, with SP why would I as a user wants to sit down and write an SDK or implement an SDK into my thing. All I want to do as a user is drag that box in, say, this Lidar scanner is connected. Do this thing with it. With SP you get that and that’s the whole thing you don’t want to be you don’t want to be writing code. You just want to be doing things. Someone else after this is gonna have a very similar opinion and all of that when it comes to to software. Huge scalability so I’ll play this video because my clock is very rare, very low to close to zero. I’m just gonna show very quick snippet here. This is one of the big features which sits on to the shore control side of things, which is director. They’ve added in, they’ve been doing all these broadcast shows, they’ve realized that they can control all this stuff and broadcasts so they built a system to automate everything. So they built this incredible rundown system. Now, part of your Camera cuts you can, it’s not just it doesn’t just have to cut cameras, you can control any object that or any piece of data that’s coming into the system. I forgot to mention for valorant, we had the game API with a plug in built in SP for the game API. So we had all the real time stats from the eSports game, in, in stage precision to do things with. So last thing, we’re gonna chat on here show control. SP director is there a kind of overarching timeline system that they set up, but you could also just the very basic show control buttons and queues, one of the best things that you can build some of these shows you have one operator who’s got 10 screens in front of them is trying to do 5000 things, what we’ve done a few of our jobs is we build web pages to give to producers, the producers know what’s happening, because it’s their show. So they would select by these law teams, these players, they would input that information on a webpage, you know, however many miles away in a truck, and then our operator just had to make sure the timing was correct for everything appearing. So they didn’t have to worry about which team was up next, someone else’s dealing with that. So I think we had a couple of people inputting data into one of our shows, who was controlling AR and d3, and everything else. So there’s a lot of this part of it’s really, really powerful. And then the timeline allows you to keyframe everything, but also one of the biggest ones for, especially to an AR as you can record all the data. And you could record your video with timecode. And you record your data with timecode. And then when you’ve only got a cameraman for half an hour, or you’ve already got the Steadicam at night for a certain amount of time, when it looks correct, you record that and you can just play this thing back over and over again. So that’s a hugely powerful tool. ESPYS really cool. I’ve eaten two and a half minutes into max time, so I better stop soon. Tony and Sarah put their hands up, whereas Tony or Sarah, as little booth set up, there’ll be the LIDAR trick that they have going go and have a look have a chat. They’ll tell you how much it costs very reasonable. And yeah, put SP at the top of your I need something to do this thing list and you’re going to be pretty happy. Alright, that was my talk. I said a lot of words hope you understood I got a funny accent.


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Scott Millar