user story // 2022
Evoke Studios is renowned for taking on some of the most creatively demanding and technically complex video projects available, excelling across a variety of disciplines from stadium tours with the likes of musician Ed Sheeran, to high profile corporate XR experiences and live AR broadcasts.
It was no coincidence then, when Evoke Studios’ Founder and Managing Director, Vincent Steenhoek, found himself intrigued by Stage Precision’s suite of tools (SP) when he first had the opportunity to see them work in the flesh circa 2018 at a technology tradeshow.
“We first met the Stage Precision team in Frankfurt,” he says. “The team behind Stage Precision team had these really cool interactive demos with kinetic switches and light orbs. They had tried building this through disguise but the functionality wasn’t quite there… so they made a solution, which was a very impressive thing to see. They’ve continued building on that functionality, eventually turning it into something bigger.”
Despite these humble beginnings, of curious conversations on the tradeshow floor, SP soon established itself as a tool that is well-suited to a variety of applications, across a wide range of projects, particularly when tracking data needs to be managed or multiple aspects of a production need to be tied together. Steenhoek himself describes SP as being “the glue” between all of the video-related aspects of a project.
“It’s the Swiss army knife that anyone can take on site,” he says. “If you need to troubleshoot any signals, trigger anything, integrate systems together, or connect to a game engine like Unreal or Unity, it talks to all of that natively.”
Another big positive of SP, as far as the Evoke Studios team is concerned, is the fact that it is ‘system agnostic’, meaning that they can use the full SP toolkit wherever they go, whatever hardware is available.
“I know that it’s helped our engineers a lot, in many different cases,” says Steenhoek. “A big thing in our industry at the moment is Metadata and Metadata recording and management. That’s also something that SP does very, very well. We’ve used it on many different shoots for that reason, in broadcast as well as film production.”
Since its early days, Evoke Studios has underlined the value of collaboration, both internally and externally, when it comes to staging a successful production or overseeing a complex installation. The strength of Evoke Studios’ collaborative relationship with SP is one of the major reasons that Steenhoek gives for his willingness to use its software on any and all of his projects.
“As well as the software itself being reliable, the SP team is also super responsive,” he says. “If we find a new piece of kit that we really like, we know that we can call them and ask them to integrate it. Within a very short space of time they will respond, and not long after that we will have a working tool that connects to our existing ecosystem. I think the guys at SP are a great example of people who see challenges instead of just problems.”
Last year, mining giant Epiroc brought in Evoke Studios to help realise the ambitious concept for Epiroc Days; a virtual event supported by AR, in which 500-600 managers of the combined worldwide branches of Epiroc were informed on the current ongoings and performance of the business.
The team made good use of SP programming to bring together a number of elements including an LED wall, an AR-extended hexagonal stage, and a Fredrik Jonsson-designed lightshow with virtual fixtures that had to be fully controllable from the lighting desk.
“It’s always challenging when it comes to integrating different protocols and unifying those workflows,” says Co-Founder & Head of Creative Workflows at Evoke Studios, Chema Menendez. “Thanks to SP’s tools and support team, we can now take these things in stride. If you have any issues or need a specific feature, the team will always be there and are very responsive.”
Menendez has used SP in a number of scenarios, from monitoring tracking data on virtual productions to filtering automation data on more traditional live shows.
“We have also used SP on permanent installations, where it can serve as the main control,” he adds. “We are currently working on a fixed install where we are using SP to Wake-on-LAN the system, restart it, and shut it down. We also have a PTZ camera that follows a small shuttle on-site, which further complicated matters. Thanks to SP, we can easily unify these different protocols and ensure that the end user will have them all in one place.”
Menendez even went as far as to claim that SP has become Evoke Studios’ go-to answer when clients ask how their ambitious projects are going to be realised.
“It helps a lot, especially when we are on site and things suddenly change,” he notes. “Having SP as a working tool allows you to troubleshoot or solve a lot of these issues on the spot. This is particularly useful when it’s a complex production and you want different protocols communicating with each other.”
“SP is the easiest thing to evangelise,” says Steenhoek in conclusion. “It just doesn’t do anything wrong! If you need a problem solved when you’re working with game engines, if you’re working with tracking data, if you’re working with time code or Metadata or anything of that nature, and you know that you have to send data between those different locations, you’re simply going to want to use SP.”