"For filmmakers there are plenty of advantages to use volumetric capture" - Piotr Uzarowicz (Arcturus)
When it comes to discussing volumetric capture, certain names come to mind regularly. Los Angeles-based company Arcturus is one of them, both a creative studio and a software editor for XR companies, offering solutions to accompany "volcap" shooting. Portrait with Piotr Uzarowicz, Head of Partnerships & Marketing.
What about Arcturus and Holosuite
Piotr Uzarowicz - Arcturus is a content technology-driven studio led by Andy Stack, Ewan Johnson, Devin Horsman, and Kamal Mistry (formerly Pixar, Dreamworks, YouTube, Autodesk...), with a long history around storytelling and new technologies. We developed HoloSuite, a platform designed for volumetric video creators, author and stream volumetrically captured assets. It helps that we come from some really deep storytelling and technology companies in order to kind of develop these tools.
P. U. - HoloSuite consists of two tools. First you have HoloEdit, the editing platform. Think of it as Final Cut, Avid or Adobe Premiere for volumetric video. You're able to put together all of the takes into a sequence and build out a much longer experience than what you may have just captured, all fluid and highly immersive - including tools to match frames with seamless transitions. We also provide skeletonization; you can reposition your character, change its physical performance or make it into the final project. You can even leave it dynamic and let it respond to the viewer in real time: it can look at the viewer, reach out, shake hands, pass objects back and forth and more!
P. U. - The second piece of HoloSuite is HoloStream, which answers the next question of how you distribute your amazing project to an audience at scale. We developed an adaptive bitrate streaming solution for volumetric video, which seamlessly feeds the appropriate connection for your speed and device - which is different from other volumetric streaming solutions we've seen. Cleaning, processing footage, editing, authoring, compressing and exporting all assets, with HoloSuite you can do everything! We work with Unreal and Unity, and we've developed a pipeline that is already familiar to most of our clients, if not all. That enables them to create an experience the way they want it to be. We've saved them a tremendous amount of time!
P. U. - Our main goal is to help create. Our solution is highly adaptable to every size of projects, whether you want to shoot 19 models using volumetric capture (what we just did with the brand ANAYI from Japan - link), or just one, like the Madonna hologram where we did the post-production - link). In fact, we work directly with brands (Samsung, telecom companies, etc.) or for volumetric capture studios. In those cases we just supply the technology in order to power them, and every one is potentially unique. As a software company we can licence to anyone interested, and we work with them to achieve their goals. Volumetric video is still very young, and people are still learning how it works and what all those pieces are. We have very often played the role of a consultant on projects, and guided and assisted brands to help them understand how it all works. Pre-production is very important to fully understand your virtual production pipeline, and we help creators prepare.
Mapping the volumetric world
P. U. - We mapped 55 volumetric stages worldwide in our study (link), most of them with huge R&D departments, and very technical points-of-view. We are here to help and work with them to address every issue during production, and to ensure the highest quality product. Virtual production has already begun to change a lot of industries, and ultimately it will allow for less expensive shoots. Hollywood films and ads are already starting to get onboard with it, and the use of volumetric video in these situations continues to grow..
P. U. - How do you bring characters into the background? How do you integrate them into the foreground? Those are questions we're all looking at very closely. The COVID pandemic changed a lot of things, especially for heavy productions which had to shut down for a while. You have a talented cast and crews all over the world ready to go, but how do you get them to work safely from a distance? Virtual production creates so many new possibilities, and adding volumetric video to that pipeline just makes it even more powerful. Hollywood (and the filmmaking community) is beginning to see the advantages both, and they will be added to future workflows long after the pandemic..
Volcap to the end: how to deliver live videos
P. U. - The next step for us is to deliver volumetric video to every device, and to be involved as tools creators rely on. We see smartphones now ready to create volumetric video, thanks to the new LiDAR technology Apple introduced to its iPhone 12, and as Apple goes, so go other smartphone makers. We're not far off from every consumer having the opportunity to create their own volumetric captures and have holograms of themselves that they can share with people to use as communication tools. We expect to be part of that ecosystem as it moves forward. The other aspect of volumetric for us is the interest from telecom companies that are deeply focused on live events, especially music and sports. The capture systems already exist for that sort of thing, so how do we bring live volumetric videos to viewers in an efficient way? How do we actually display it? Everyone in the volumetric industry is working towards a live streaming solution, and it’s only a matter of time..
Arcturus, the global software leader in the post-production and streaming of volumetric videos, today announced a $5 million seed round led by BITKRAFT Ventures with participation from leaders in the sports, telecom, gaming, and music space including HBSE Ventures; NTT Docomo Ventures; Build Ventures; Co-Founder, Co-Chairman, and former Co-CEO of Riot Games, Marc Merril; and CEO of Atlantic Records, Craig Kallman. The funding will be used to scale the software development team, focus efforts on sales growth, and expand the product line with an emphasis on live streaming features.- (press release, May 6 2021)