Metastage and Departure Lounge set up volumetric capture studio in Vancouver

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The Metastage and Departure Lounge has set up a new volumetric capture studio to bring humans into Metawors. The volumetric capture studio will be in Vancouver, Canada and will be available for use by virtual reality, gaming and metaware developers.

The Studio 106 uses a camera to capture a person’s dynamic movement and turn it into a highly realistic digital image. It enables the studio to capture the human model and convert it into digital form for stories, games and other experiences for mixed reality or traditional media.

Christina Heller, CEO of Los Angeles-based Metastage, Gamesbeat, said in an interview that the partner company will be known as Metastage Canada and has been selected by Microsoft as the exclusive license for its volumetric capture technology in western Canada.

“When we started Metastage in LA, we didn’t know what it would be used for. There was a basic instinct that human action would be essential to this new medium, “said Heller. Only good things will come out of the method for. And obviously, we still believe in it wholeheartedly. “

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Metastage Canada is the first 4D holographic capture facility in the region. The stage will begin in the spring and will be designated as the exclusive Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Using the Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio technology, Metastage’s volumetric or ‘holographic’ capture process uses a 106 12-megapixel machine-vision camera to capture dynamic human display. These rapidly generating photo-real, volumetric digital models bring new life to stories, games and experiences for both immersive mixed reality and traditional media.

“It takes human performance and what I like most about it is that it captures the essence of that performance in all its liquid splendor, including clothing,” Heller said. “And so there’s every kind of crease in every fold of what people wear. You get these human performances that keep their spirits up. There is no extraordinary valley with volumetric capture. ”

Compared to other systems, Metastage produces exceptionally high-quality holograms that reduce the amount of ‘clean-up’ or post-processing required, Heller said. Metastage holograms have been used in programs ranging from training to fashion and entertainment.

The Departure Lounge will operate Metastage Canada as part of a comprehensive set of technologies designed to move people and objects in and out of ‘Metavers’, helping to facilitate the next generation of immersive content.

“We can’t have metavars just synthetic avatars and animated assets,” James Hearsthouse, CEO of Departure Lounge, said in an interview. “The uses are really wide and when you work with an identifiable figure, you want as much authenticity as possible.”

Each studio costs millions of dollars, Heller said. But she noted that the company has been in the doldrums since its inception in 2018 and has been able to generate significant revenue. The company has made over 200 productions since its inception.

“It’s a very significant amount of hardware to install in one place,” Heller said. “It’s top-of-the-line equipment and therefore a decent amount of funding and they all have to come together to get this kind of thing off the ground.”

James Hearsthaus (center left) and Christina Heller (center right) show metastages.

James Hursthouse, CEO of Departure Lounge, said in an interview that he is excited to work with Metastage. British Columbia is one of the world’s largest mixed reality clusters, including Microsoft’s own holographic group, and a strong digital content industry with hologram applications in virtual and real-time.
Production is becoming more and more prevalent.

Hearsthaus said he expects significant demand for holographic capture stage in the region as the world moves into the era of metavers or 3D spatial internet.

Hearsthouse said the project has been in operation for almost two years, as it takes a long time to put the volumetric capture studio together. Volumetric capture is harder than motion-capture work. You don’t have to put a bunch of balls on a spandex suit for an actor. But a person needs a ton of cameras to capture all the angles needed to render in 3D. In addition to the camera, it has a huge adjustable truss system, sky panels and a set of Sennheiser shotgun mix.

Heller said Vancouver Studios is a carbon copy of the Los Angeles-based studio, which continues to be used. Metastage leases it for game companies or filmmakers or others who just want to capture a beloved family member for a kind of immortal digital tribute.

Heller said the Los Angeles studio scanned the 95-year-old Holocaust survivor as well as the 1960s Black Panther. Heller said he grabbed his own mother on stage in Los Angeles.

“For the rest of my life it’s been a treasure hunt for me,” Heller said.

In Vancouver, Hearsthouse said it hopes to be able to capture First Nation storytellers and elders in the region.

“It’s exciting for Vancouver because we have a mix of all the mixed reality companies in the cluster,” Hursthouse said.

Metastage Canada will be housed in the Departure Lounge facility in the heart of the Center for Digital Media District in downtown Vancouver. The Departure Lounge facility is part of the Commercial Business, Part Industry-Academic Partnership Hub, which helps train the next generation of digital content creators through work-integrated learning programs.

These programs serve students, as well as provide guidance and guidance for startups and under-represented groups. Departure Lounge has set up its own creative services team under the guidance of Volkap industry superstar Adam Rogers to develop applications and experiences that include holograms.

“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Metastage with the opening of the Departure Lounge in Vancouver,” Steve Sullivan, general manager of Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studios, said in a statement. “James and the Departure Lounge team have impressed us with their knowledge and passion for mixed reality, and together with Metastage’s experience and reach, we believe they will make a big impact in Canada and beyond.”

The Departure Lounge was acquired by AMPD Ventures in December. There are 10 people in the metastage, while there are eight in the department lounge.

“When I started it, I called it the Departure Lounge because it’s the place where you go for your journey to Metawors and so this metastage is very consistent with that,” Hursthouse said. Metavers was properly named before Uber became popular in 2021, as Facebook changed its name to Meta.

In addition to sports, the studio is used for projects in sports, music, fashion, medical training, police training and more.

“Really creative and visionary people come to us with their ideas, and we help bring them to life and see what they’re thinking,” Heller said.

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