Mo-Sys Engineering, world leader in precision camera tracking solutions for virtual studios and augmented reality, provided support for Bluman Associates and milkit Studio for a ground-breaking series of idents, part of the ITV Creates programme, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2021.
Mo-Sys StarTracker was chosen to bring the vision of artist Mamimu (June Mineyama-Smithson) and neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart to life, as a series of channel idents which “combine art and science to create ultimate optimism, inducing happy hormones in your brain,” according to the artist.
The creative idea they chose was to make a physical model of the familiar ITV logo in a mirrored material and sit it in an augmented reality studio where bold, colourful abstract graphics would interact with it. Studio Owner Pod Bluman recognised that central to the success of the creative vision would be absolutely perfect registration between the real and the virtual objects, while giving the camera complete freedom to move.
The shoot was at milkit Studio in north London, a dedicated mixed reality facility with an LED shooting volume – two walls and a floor in high density, 4k resolution.
“The idea of abstract imagery reflecting in the real, very shiny logo would only work if they stayed in perfect registration,” said Ben Tilbrook of Mo-Sys, who provided support on the project. “The camera was mounted on a jib so was moving freely around the logo. The Mo-Sys StarTracker is designed for just this sort of requirement – it gives the director and cinematographer complete freedom while ensuring the graphics computer is updated with positional information in real time.”
Mo-Sys StarTracker is widely regarded as the leader in camera tracking technologies, using a random pattern of reflective dots – “stars” – on the studio ceiling. Once mapped, which takes just a few moments, any StarTracker-equipped camera can be precisely located in three-dimensional space, and for pan, tilt and roll. With the addition of digital lens data, real elements can be placed into the virtual environment. It allows augmented reality sequences like this to be shot live, obviating the need to composite the layers in post-production.
“This was the first time we had used camera tracking on a project like this,” said Pod Bluman of Bluman Associates. “It performed admirably, giving the precision we needed in the shoot, reliably and without fuss or problems.”
Commenting on the finished sequences, Dr Tara Swart said “Mamimu and I had conversations about how the brain works, and about neurotransmitters that are related to happiness and optimism. I was just blown away by what she created – it literally made me happy to see it.”