use case // 2020
Stage Precision Software was integral to Bild’s Complex Live Broadcast AR at Expo 2020’s Closing Ceremony
After years of anticipation and hard work, not to mention an unexpected postponement caused by the pandemic, Expo 2020 was finally held in Dubai, UAE, from 1st October 2021 to 31st March 2022.
The event – which was originally introduced by the Bureau International des Expositions in 1931 to promote progress and foster international cooperation – brought together countries, the private sector, civil society, and the general public to marvel at interactive exhibitions, live shows, workshops, conferences and much more.
Of course, such a momentous event requires an equally memorable closing ceremony, and Expo 2020 was no exception. The show, helmed by renowned creative live event producer FiveCurrents, was held at the impressive Al Wasl Dome, the main venue of Dubai Expo, and was live streamed to millions around the world,
In order to complement the large-scale 360-degree projections inside the dome and elevate the production for the broadcast audience, FiveCurrents commissioned media technologists Bild Studios to produce broadcast AR for the closing ceremony; a task that was made significantly more manageable by the extensive use of Stage Precision software.
Bild was tasked with producing the broadcast AR utilising six tracked 4K cameras deployed around the 130m x 130m x 70m dome. The data was converted using Stage Precision so that it could be sent to the disguise gx2c media servers and used to render the Notch graphics at 50FPS. This was done live as millions of expectant viewers watched. To challenge the Bild team further was the vast space with all its hidden infrastructure, and the limited night-time working hours; Expo was open to the public during the day.
“As you can imagine, this kind of setup is an incredibly challenging production environment to work with,” said Bild’s Co-Founder, David Bajt.
130m x 130m x 70m dome housed the 360-degree projections
Six 4K cameras tracked by Stype with tracking data monitored and converted by Stage Precision software
24.1 million visitors from 178 countries attended Expo 2020
The team would need an all-in-one solution. One of many issues was how to track the wire-based cameras, as they didn’t generate the 3D coordinates the disguise media servers required.
They needed troubleshooting tools that would give them the confidence to produce one of the world’s largest and longest production AR shoots – in front of just a few million live viewers!
Stage Precision was the perfect software solution for converting one set of data to their preferred format, which was essential for dealing with the 4K cameras dotted around the huge venue.
Two of the cameras were running along two separate steel wires, from one point to another. So instead of spitting out 3D coordinates for their true camera positions in the dome, the native camera system could only spit out how far it had reached along its wire, in other words, X coordinates only. That was a problem for us as we needed to receive true X, Y and Z coordinates.
Bajt explains: “However, by sampling a point on the wire every 5-metres, we could perfectly convert the physical camera wires into virtual splines in Stage Precision software. This enabled Bild to create a perfect representation of the camera wire virtually in order to realise the X coordinates along each wire respectively.
“SP was easily able to convert the single X coordinates into the X, Y, and Z coordinates. I’m not sure how we would have achieved these results otherwise.”
Bild also trusted the Stage Precision software to monitor the network during the entire closing ceremony, as well as performing various troubleshooting tasks along the way. The software’s unfaltering precision, adaptability, and agility were integral in allowing Bild’s team to create a custom project that could handle the demands of this high-pressure, high-profile AR event.
“SP allows you the opportunity to see companion features, but then also have the added bolt-on that you could put in a tracking system. For the closing ceremony, we didn’t have to worry about using three different kinds of software as everything ran through SP. We could really trust the data that was coming out of it.”
– Matt Villis, Frequency OU
“I’ve always thought it sounded really cool to have what was essentially a Swiss Army Knife in a box. When it came to tackle tracking 6 cameras with 2 different types of tracking systems for Expo 2020, I immediately thought SP could be the exact kind of production-ready tool that we needed. It takes the proprietary systems that other companies have and puts them into one agnostic box. With lens calibration, for example, if you do it using the tracking manufactures tools, you can’t generally extract it to put it into something else. If I do lens calibration with SP, we have the flexibility to then combine it with other tracking systems that may not have the lens data as part of their protocol.”
– Bild Technical Director, Jamie Sunter
“The events industry has become so technical in recent years. It’s based much more around networking now, and when you’re dealing with complex assignments like camera tracking you need reliable tools to monitor your system. SP became a key tool in succeeding in an environment like the Expo 2020 closing ceremony. We always need a robust, troubleshooting and conversion tool, which is why we’re going to continue to use it wherever we can in the future.”
– Bild Co-Founder, David Bajt