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FOR-A’s VRCAM Creates Virtually Any Studio

At NAB2010, the compant showed how easy it is for users of the tool to create and operate a virtual studio with a refined, professional look, for a variety of applications.

At FOR-A’s Booth at the 2010 NAB Show, company rep stood on a bare set with a green-screen to demonstrate at that newly enhanced VRCAM Sensor-less Virtual Studio System could do, with is just about everything.

FOR-A’s VRCAM virtual studio system at work at NAB 2010 On cue with her motions, the VRCAM put the subject into virtual rooms and sets, augmented her with text and graphics, zoomed in and out and even virtually changed the camera position.

The point was to show how easy it is for users of the tool to create and operate a virtual studio with a refined, professional look, for a variety of applications.

The enhanced VRCAM also has increased interface functionality in combination with FOR-A’s HVS-300HS HD/SD Portable Video Switcher and other FOR-A products

VRCAM supports up to four cameras (either four stationary or three stationary and one sensored camera) that can be programmed via the VRCAM production engine to provide eight pre-set positions per camera in virtual space. VRLINK provides an integrated connection to FOR-A’s HVS-300HS for camera control and virtual positioning. Users can now drag and drop the cameras and position buttons on the GUI. Plus, VRCAM has extended its camera thumbnail buttons to preview up to 32 camera positions on a single screen.

VRCAM already features the use of video and graphics in its on-screen virtual billboards. Now, it can control FOR-A’s MBP-100SX MXF Clip Server as a play-out source for its virtual videowalls. And, when used with the HVS-300HS, MXF files can be taken as a separate input during a live production. Users can operate the VRCAM playlist from a 10-key pad connected to the VRCAM system engine via USB.

The VRCAM even supports S3D (stereoscopic 3D) virtual studio production. The virtual studio system is already capable of rendering virtual sets in S3D. When paired with a standard non 3D camera system, it can help create a S3D viewing experience using inexpensive passive (polarized) glasses.

A plug-in for the Brainstorm eStudio 3D real-time graphics software package, VRCAM simplifies studio operation because it requires no location data detection sensors or complex calibrations typically required by a traditional virtual studio, when used with the MBP-12CK chroma key option on FOR-A’s MBP-1244 video card. A virtual studio can be created without any modifications to existing cameras, lenses, tripods or other parts of an established camera system. More than 100 off-the-shelf VRCAM virtual sets are available as a part of FOR-A’s eLibrary.

One customer of the VRCAM is in the Caribbean in Aruba, where broadcaster Telearuba is slated to launch HD broadcasts this month. In order to facilitate the station’s local talk shows, game shows and sports coverage in HD, Telearuba installed the VRCAM, powered by Brainstorm, as well as the FVW-500HS HD/SD Video Writer.

Patricio Maduro, technical director at Telearuba, was tasked with alleviating the high costs of building and rebuilding television studio sets while bringing the station into the world of HD. “I was introduced to VRCAM in 2008 and I was very impressed,” said Maduro. “It was a dream for me to bring it to Aruba.”

The VRCAM Virtual Studio, which is being used with three Sony PMW-EX3 XDCAM EX HD cameras in the studio, will mostly be used for sports and talk shows. It can be used with up to four fixed cameras without external sensors and requires minimal setup and calibration.

“We set up a library loaded with sets–also from FOR-A,” said Maduro. “When we started up the cameras and went on air, we were impressed with how easy it is to control.”

The rollout of the VRCAM system was very quick and the engineering and production teams at Telearuba have adjusted easily to the technology.

“This installation in Aruba gives FOR-A a very important presence in the Caribbean,” said FOR-A’s Pedro Silvestre, Latin America and SouthEast Sales Manager. “Demonstrating this solution helps us offer it to other customers in the region. We see a growing demand for this type of technology in Latin America.”

Since its installation in late January, Telearuba has been using the VRCAM for SD broadcasts. “That’s the great thing, it has both,” said Maduro. “We’ll just switch the software when we switch to high-def, and there you go.”

Telearuba also purchased the FVW-500HS HD/SD Video Writer for the soccer games they broadcast. The telestrator is a major part of the station’s color commentary for the world soccer event this summer. “The FVW-500HS HD/SD Video Writer will be used whenever there’s a break in the soccer game,” said Maduro. “The hosts are going to review how the play went and write on screen.”

The FOR-A VRCAM combined with the FVW-500HS HD/SD Video Writer is opening new creative opportunities for Telearuba.

“I’m putting together a new game show that is going to be interactive using the Video Writer coupled with the Virtual Studio,” said Maduro. “I can’t wait to do what I never did before–and in HD!”

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In other FOR-A news, the company announced the integration of its popular HVS-300HS portable switcher with Crestron control systems.