Computer Graphics World

July-Aug-Sep 2023

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j u ly • a u g u s t • s e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 3 c g w 3 1 zoom] cameras. As these units have gotten better and better—some of the newer models have all the same electronics as their conven- tional broadcast counterparts—they can be installed in stadia with little or no seat kill and are driven by remote operators (even, in some cases, by AI). And the work that has been done on remote produc- tion means that those operators do not have to be within 100 miles of the stadium. In fact, why stop at 100 miles? At Zixi, we have been involved in many remote productions of sports and live events where the cam- era chain is stretched to thousands of miles and reaches across con- tinents. And thanks to the optimization that has gone into soware such as the Zixi Protocol, we estimate that roundtrip latency now is reliably in the order of 200 milliseconds. In short, a good percentage of the camera operators can now be located back at the production hub along with the EVS operators and vision mixers, and reliably and precisely control the units with the same degree of finesse as if they were located in an OB truck in the stadium parking lot. Porting remote workflows Remote production workflows such as this have been battle tested in live sports, possibly one of the most demanding environments in the industry. They are proven, they have bulletproof reliability, and they are ripe and ready to be used in other fields. Virtual production is an obvious candidate, meaning that camera operators no longer need to be part of the physical on-set process, further cutting costs and adding flexibility. Its use needs not to be confined mainly to PTZ cameras in this case either, with multiple recent innovations in robotic control providing a plethora of differ- ent remotely controlled motion options to mount camera heads on. What's more, these set-ups also provide the useful function of trackability, allowing for the exact repeated moves that are an inte- gral part of many VFX shoots. With only a 200-millisecond roundtrip latency to contend with, there is actually no need for the camera operators to be on set any- more. Following the sports model, they can even be situated in cen- tralized production hubs working on more than one project in a single 'shi'. We are seeing increasing automation in virtual production—actu- ally, production of all kinds—and it's not hard to see a future where the talent turns up to an almost fully automated virtual production facility with everything from virtual sets to camera moves pre-loaded in advance and ready to run. However, there is always going to be the need for flexibility, whether that's now in a live sports environment to cover something unexpected happening off pitch, for example, or in the future to accommodate a rapidly evolving and iterating drama in a LED volume. And that is when a camera operator will need to be able to jump into the project and reliably take control from wherever they are in the world. Remote production and virtual production might have followed separate paths up until now, but some of the crossover between them could mean that another period of rapid technological change is coming up. Kevin Parks is the Senior Director of Field Engineering at Zixi. July•August•September 2023: COMPUTER GRAPHICS WORLD (USPS 665-250) (ISSN- 0271-4159) is published bi-monthly with special additional issues resulting in 8 issues per year by COP Communications, Inc. 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For further information check Copyright Clearance Center Inc. online at: The COMPUTER GRAPHICS WORLD fee code for users of the Transactional Reporting Services is 0271- 4159/96 $1.00 + .35. POSTMASTER: Send change of address form to Computer Graphics World, P.O. Box 3296, Northbrook, IL 60065-3296. FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION CONTACT MARI KOHN, DIR. OF SALES 818.472.1491 | WILLIAM R. RITTWAGE, PRESIDENT/CEO 818.291.1111 | next issue: October • November • december 2023 THESE ARE SOME OF THE EXCITING TOPICS THAT WILL BE COVERED IN THE NEXT ISSUE: ¢ Tech Awards: Honoring innovation ¢ Blockbusters: Groundbreaking workflows ¢ AI Report: New uses in VFX & animation ¢ Art Showcase: Spotlighting 3D artists ...and much more!

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