VIVE Mars CamTrack: portable and affordable Virtual Production

HTC VIVE, the company behind the Vive VR headsets, wants a slice of the fast growing Virtual Production market and announces at 2022 NAB Show its VIVE Mars CamTrack solution for VP.

With the promise of making Virtual Production fast, easy, and affordable, the new VIVE Mars CamTrack eliminates the need to shoot onsite and empowers filmmakers to unleash their full creative potential.

Here is, yet, another Virtual Production solution, this time from HTC VIVE, the company behind the VR headsets Vive. Revealed at the 2022 NAB Show, the VIVE Mars CamTrack makes virtual production more efficient, portable, and affordable. The new solution, the company says, works by “consolidating the entire camera tracking workflow into a compact, plug-and-play module with professional-grade features.”

According to HTC, the VIVE Mars CamTrack lets actors jump into any number of virtual backdrops in real-time during production, in many cases eliminating the need to shoot onsite and empowering filmmakers to unleash their full creative potential.

Historically, one of the biggest cost contributors to virtual production has been its lengthy setup process. VIVE Mars CamTrack greatly simplifies virtual production setup, thus reducing overall production time and expense. By leveraging industry-leading lighthouse tracking technology, VIVE Mars CamTrack shrinks a complicated workflow into a compact box, delivering a simple, accurate camera-tracking solution. Mars’s portability makes it easy to shoot in many different scenarios—from small studios to large sets.

New opportunities to filmmakers and storytellers

“Virtual production is the future of content creation,” said Raymond Pao, SVP Business Solutions at HTC VIVE. “It lets filmmakers unleash their imagination, beyond the constraints of our physical environment. With Mars, HTC has applied its years of experience developing VR tech to the world of virtual production. Film professionals no longer need to balance time, cost, and quality. Now, their virtual production setup can fit into a backpack and deliver professional- grade results.”

“Virtual production opens creative opportunities to filmmakers and storytellers to explore new approaches in productions with solutions like VIVE Mars CamTrack,” said Jim Geduldick, Director, Virtual Production & SVP Dimension Studio N.A. “Time saved in pre-production and on-set because of the robustness of the Mars system will make it a sought-after tool in any virtual production project. Being able to have a small footprint tracking system that can travel in a small production case with features like Genlock sync, camera and lens calibration, multi- camera support and its integration into Unreal Engine via LiveLink provides a solution the virtual production community has been needing.”

Virtual Production and the environment

Here is some more information share by the company regarding its new Virtual Production solution:

VIVE Mars CamTrack includes the following highlight features:

  • Multi-cam tracking, with support for up to three cameras
  • Highly accurate tracking with VIVE Tracker
  • Automated calibration for camera offset and lens distortion
  • Lens encoder compatibility, allowing filmmakers to change the depth of field as they would on a traditional camera
  • Plug and play compatibility, with no additional software required
  • One-click origin reset
  • Genlock synced to UE LiveLink, offering synchronized output between real and virtual actors
  • Robust wiring to reduce latency

“Up until recently, the resource-intensive nature of virtual production was one of the biggest issues preventing its widespread adoption,” said Norman Wang, CEO of Glassbox Technologies. “We have collaborated with HTC VIVE since day one to streamline virtual production and we believe VIVE Mars CamTrack to be a major step in the right direction.” Glassbox’s upcoming release of the DragonFly virtual camera system will ship with support for VIVE Mars CamTrack.

The benefits of virtual production go beyond its convenience and cost-savings. In addition to empowering filmmakers to more fully realize their creative vision, virtual production is also more environmentally friendly than traditional methods. The traditional production process generates a significant carbon footprint – including transporting cast and crew to locations around the world, building and powering sets, and eventually disposing of unneeded props and other materials. By leveraging virtual production, the creative industry plays an active role in environmental sustainability.

Source: ProVideo Coalition