Mo-Sys unveils new features with launch of VP Pro 4.27

Mo-Sys VP Pro 4.27 to release simultaneously with Epic Games’ release of Unreal Engine 4.27

Mo-Sys today announces the launch of VP Pro 4.27 with a raft of new features that will support Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.27. During the preview period of Unreal Engine 4.27, Mo-Sys has used the new update to complete a full multi-camera shoot with Amazon. The update was also put through a comprehensive, multi-camera technical rehearsal for a major Netflix production.

Mo-Sys has been working on expanding the feature set and capabilities of VP Pro, which runs inside Unreal Engine Editor, for some time now and will launch the new version on the same day as Epic Games’ Unreal 4.27. The VP Pro 4.27 upgrade brings four new key features; an improved compositor, NearTime® rendering, an online lens distortion library, and remote control capability.

Michael Geissler, CEO Mo-Sys Engineering Ltd., said, “Virtual production is seeing a real surge, but it does bring challenges. Typically, directors and cinematographers must make continuous calculations to make the real and virtual elements match in post-production. This is often a costly and repetitive process. Mo-Sys is a pioneer in providing a platform for graphics rendering as well as camera and lens tracking to create higher quality virtual productions. With VP Pro 4.27 we have made it even easier to produce seamless, high-end productions and we are also unique in making our 4.27 update available on the same day as Epic Games launch Unreal Engine 4.27.”

Mo-Sys has done a complete overhaul of its internal compositing system, to change the way compositing is handled across all modes. The latest update of VP Pro now provides improved support for high-end graphics features, such as refraction, and delivers a 15% performance improvement. Other features include:

  • Support for reflection and refraction of video in CG objects
  • Improved support for advanced ray-tracing features
  • Support for fur and groom
  • Advanced controls for CG shadows falling onto video

The updated VP Pro 4.27 also widens the Beta program for the new NearTime® rendering workflow to give access to more users. NearTime is an automated, cloud-based re-render that dramatically increases and homogenises the visual quality, and allows for higher resolutions (UHD, 4K, 8K), without the performance restrictions of real-time. The moment the shot is complete, a high-quality, high-resolution optimized, cloud-based NearTime render starts – with no compromise on performance or visual quality. With NearTime, you can “turn up all the dials” for unrestricted real time quality and do it at a fraction of the cost of completing the process in post-production.

As part of the 4.27 update, Mo-Sys is also launching its online lens distortion library giving users access to a wide selection of calibration tools and allowing them to tweak their lenses on-set in a highly cost-effective way.

New for VP Pro 4.27, the VP Remote iPad interface is fully customizable and supports control of multiple engines, and camera chains, from a single control panel. The Beta version was trialled at the technical rehearsal with Netflix.

CJP Broadcast Completes 4K-UHD Virtual Studio

CJP Broadcast has completed a new 4K-UHD virtual studio for the University of Sunderland.

The system includes a Mo-Sys StarTracker Studio with a camera tracking unit, wireless-linked handheld StarTracker Viewfinder and Cartoni JibO lightweight jib. CJP Broadcast has also provided and integrated Kinoflow Diva Lite 401 LED luminares and a Zero 88 FLX S24 lighting control desk, plus high-grade green-screen walls and flooring. The studio itself has a 6 x 6 metre floor area and is 4 metres high. Installed at the university’s David Puttnam Media Centre, the new resource gives students the opportunity to gain practical experience in latest-generation virtual studio production techniques.

“This investment opens up a whole new level of creative opportunities for students from across the faculty,” commented Professor Arabella Plouviez, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries. “The green hue of the new space can be digitally manipulated into any kind of environment – real or imagined – for film, TV, animation or photography. It will enable our students to really innovate with technology so new that the possibilities are still uncharted. This is an exciting new area for us to be leading in.”

“Chroma key has long been a core element of our training courses,” detailed the university’s Senior TV Technician Craig Moore. “It is a production technique which has become increasingly useful in recent years, allowing broadcasters to achieve realistic graphic effects efficiently, affordably and with precise control. High quality processing is important given the very large number of television viewers now watching on large display screens.

“We chose StarTracker Studio because it gives us an all-in-one virtual production solution catering for broadcast multi camera and film-style scenarios as well as being ready for LED volume filming. Students today expect training in all those aspects. StarTracker Studio is a complete virtual production resource built around the industry-standard StarTracker camera tracking system. StarTracker Studio is capable of far more than the virtual backgrounds traditionally associated with chroma key. As well as placing static or dynamic scenes on the studio walls, it can superimpose photo-realistic 3D objects in front of presenters, allowing any type of virtual production.

“CJP also recommended and integrated a versatile and energy-efficient lighting system for use with our new background cyclorama. The cyc is constructed with a wide-radius curve at the corners and where the green-screen surface blends with the studio floor. That means we can deploy cameras from a wide range of angles.

“From the initial conception of this project to the date it needed to be completed was around four months. Missing this deadline could have resulted in us losing the investment. It was essential that we work with one company that could not only refurb the studio with a new wall and LED lights but also integrate the new VP technology in a very tight timescale. We realised we would need a lot of support to understand what this technology can do and integrate it into our teaching. Working with CJP gives us a single point of contact for support.

“We wanted to be able to offer something other universities currently can’t. The success of The Mandalorian television series, and the publicity about how it was created, opened our eyes to the process of live virtual production. Our hope was to replicate a similar type of setup which would position our university at the forefront of this new production method within the higher education sector. Our chroma key and TV studios are relatively small and have little or no storage space for sets. With this new system we can create large sets at no cost and turn our studios into anything our students can think of. This investment will also help us forge new relationships with external companies, whether it be production companies, football clubs, the local council or whatever. The main aim is to give our students every advantage possible for when they graduate, and help them gain employment in their chosen field.”

“StarTracker is an exceptionally stable tracking technology based on small reflective stars which are random- ly applied to the studio ceiling,” added CJP Broadcast Project Manager Kieran Phillips. “The stars are hardly visible to the naked eye. An LED emitter and sensor on the camera shines unobtrusive infra-red light on the stars, defining the star map which allows StarTracker to capture precise six-axis movement with lens focus and zoom data, all in real time. Once calibrated, the system is fully autonomous and starts tracking immediately on power-up. Because StarTracker is always referencing itself to its star map, its position is absolute and drift-free.

“StarTracker Studio is a complete three-camera 4K virtual studio system which can be expanded to source from up to eight cameras. Fully configured with pre-calibrated lenses, integral graphics processing and 4K recording, it transforms a compact studio space into a much larger virtual studio without need for physical set construction. The virtual production software used in StarTracker Studio is Mo-Sys’ VP Pro, which is embedded directly into the Unreal Engine’s editor interface. This architecture approach enables new versions of VP Pro to be released the same day as Epic releases new versions of Unreal Engine, meaning users have immediate access to new Unreal features.

“Using StarTracker Studio, virtual sets can be switched almost instantly and augmented to include remote guests or superimposed objects. Photo-realistic graphic capabilities include occlusion handling which allows a presenter to walk in front of or behind a virtual object, and reflection mapping which intelligently adds reflections to adjacent virtual objects. Among additional features are soft shadow lighting effects and depth-of-field lens emulation.”

StarTracker Viewfinder in action in the new virtual studio

Also part of the installation, StarTracker Viewfinder is a wireless-linked handheld monitor that behaves like a virtual camera. It allows directors, video effects supervisors and cinematographers to frame a scene, create and practice camera moves without having to guess where the virtual objects are.

“This is the latest in a series of projects we have completed for the university sector,” summarised CJP Broadcast managing director Chris Phillips. “We are fully confident that the system we have built in partner- ship with Craig and his colleagues at the University of Sunderland will provide both the theoretical understanding and practical skills graduates need to succeed in the modern world of media creativity.”

Hollywood Professional Association Award for Mo-Sys

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Awards Committee has announced the winners of the 2021 HPA Awards for Engineering Excellence. Mo-Sys is delighted to have its new NearTime rendering workflow recognized for its innovation and contribution to the virtual production industry.

NearTime – Mo-Sys Engineering
NearTime from Mo-Sys Engineering is a workflow for virtual production, meeting the key requirements of cast and crew to see the full effect of the shot on-set in real-time, delivering a higher-quality version of the shot, completely automated, and in a timescale which matches the practical requirements of the production – ‘near-time’.

The HPA Awards, including the HPA Award for Engineering Excellence, will be bestowed on November 18 during a live gala at the Hollywood Legion.

Read more about the announcement from the HPA here >

NearTime is just one of the features available within VP Pro XR and is part of the Mo-Sys Cinematic XR initiative to drive improvement in the image quality from XR volumes. Read more about this in the ebook below:

The secrets of the BBC’s Tokyo 2020 studio

BBC Sport’s ground-breaking virtual studio has been one of the unintentional stars of this summer’s Tokyo Games. With stunning backdrops of the host city, and a changing skyline and light to match different times of day, viewers could be forgiven for thinking that the set up was live on location. Instead, it was built at the Dock10 studio facility in Salford.

While it might have looked very real on our TV screens, the set is entirely virtual, relying on a greenscreen, the same graphics engine that gaming fans will recognize from Fortnite, and the Mo-Sys StarTracker camera tracking system. The five-camera studio set up along with Mo-Sys’ dynamic masking capability ensured a seamless look from start to finish.

We’re delighted to have once again collaborated with our longstanding partner MOOV on this virtual studio production project.

Check out BBC Sport’s behind the scenes look at its studio here: