September 10, 2020

Mixed reality gets creative boost with purpose-build studio

By Lucy Ingham

The use of mixed reality in the creative industries has been advanced today with the launch of a purpose-built studio in London.

Said to be the most ambitious of its kind in Europe, the studio is known as Mixed Augmented Reality Studio (MARS), as has been created to support the development of creative content in extended reality (xR), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR).

Developed by Bild Studios, it features an LED stage where virtual 3D environments can be mapped, and brings together leading video game engines with camera-tracking technology and media servers to enable real-time MR content to be created.

It has been designed for use by brand experience designers, game developers, broadcasters, filmmakers and beyond, in order to enable technology to be easily used to enhance creative works.

“Over the last two decades, the Bild team has collectively worked on live experiences and high-end productions for some of the world’s leading artists and brands, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Cirque du Soleil, Dubai Expo 2020, Ralph Lauren, Ferrari, Volvo, Samsung, BMW, Ed Sheeran, Nokia, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and many more,” said David Bajt, co-founder of Bild Studios.

“Since then we have been working hard behind the scenes to develop the world’s leading xR production technologies and know-how, working with globally renowned musicians, entertainers and presenters to break beyond the physical dimensions of the traditional film location, event venue or broadcast studio, through realising the full potential of xR”.

MARS mixed reality studio puts presenter into painting

The first project at MARS has already been completed, in order to showcase the potential of the studio.

This takes the form of Masterpiece: Nighthawks, which saw Bild Studios work with The Experience Machine to put BBC presenter Dr James Fox inside Edward Hopper’s classic oil panting Nighthawks.

This involved the painting recreated at a 3D scene, which Fox was able to move through in real-time using MARS technology.

“Access to high-end xR platforms such as MARS alongside advances in game engine software has opened the opportunity to craft narrative journeys from an entirely new perspective; the inside of an artwork,” said Christopher Pearson, founder and director of The Experience Machine, of the project.

“Considering the painted canvas as an environment that a viewer can walk into has never been more possible. Working closely with Dr James Fox we have been able to reimagine how a painting could exist as a three-dimensional world. This process has allowed the technology to reveal insights into the painting that have never been considered before.”

Read more: Snapchat art: Snapchat teams up with Jeff Koons to deliver augmented reality art