AOIN made the leap into the LA production community when Global Trend Productions and Triton LED founded XR Stage in 2020. The collaboration between AOIN and XR Stage began with initial conversations about setting up stages and making xR compatible with the different tools required for successful virtual production. AOIN have consulted on most of the productions shot at XR Stage, whether in an operational, technical or content production capacity.
A disguise rental and workflow specialist partner, AOIN knew our xR workflow would be vital in achieving the technical compatibility with myriad platforms that XR Stage sought. AOIN’s invested in a range of technology from disguise, including the rx, vx 2 and vx 4 media servers. This hardware, and the RenderStream software, have been at the heart of many XR Stage projects.
AOIN uses the disguise xR workflow at XR Stage on various content that combines real-world footage with 3D scenes. Traditional filming locations can be expensive to book; some are not amenable to large crews, and travel can be complicated, especially during a global pandemic. Offering a solution to these problems, AOIN have been able to recreate locations digitally using some acquired footage, Unreal Engine and disguise playback at XR Stage.
XR Stage features three studios and an inventory of more than 11,000 2.6mm high-resolution LED tiles. Its largest space, XR Film Stage, has an expansive 62-foot, four-part, 270° LED backdrop plus LED ceiling. XR Performance Stage has a 38-foot, 180° LED backdrop and LED ceiling, while XR Live Stage is outfitted with 28 feet of wraparound LED panels, theatrical lighting and truss.
disguise offer technical and support solutions
“We’re now owners of three rx units, one vx 2 and one vx 4,” said Danny Firpo, CEO & Co-founder at All of it Now. We have both Unreal’s Ndisplay and the disguise RenderStream platforms available for clients, allowing us to be agnostic in our work. We've been involved with the development of xR over the years and have seen its evolution in many ways. Using xR with the vx opened up the workflow a bit more, which allowed the clients to understand the process easier.”
AOIN and XR Stage’s partnership has already produced several high-profile credits. Framestore’s short film, ‘Blink’, blurred the line between the physical and digital worlds in what AOIN call the complete example of a full-scale xR shoot on a cinematic level. disguise support was on-hand to participate in the tech solutions and operations side of the shoot. They demonstrated the workflow and explained the process and timelines, which gave Framestore more clarity and context regarding what worked well and what didn't with their content.
“Framestore were able to shoot five different locations in one day, which is something that just absolutely could not have been done before,” says Danny. “After shooting, they were able to edit a short sizzle reel in a few hours in order to get some demo footage from that shoot and present it to clients the next day. It was an extremely powerful workflow that they really enjoyed and appreciated using and have since employed it on automotive projects.”
AOIN have done more broadcast and TV work at XR Stage than they had expected. Many projects have involved bringing a real-life or virtual audience into the fold to allow for meaningful, real-time interaction with on-screen performers and presenters. In another scenario, using xR for live director interviews has enabled them to revisit environments from films virtually and capture live commentary for an incredibly engaging experience.
AOIN sees vast potential for full shows to be shot using XR Stage’s LED volumes – perhaps a second season of a show whose first season featured live locations and now has opted for digital environments, maybe because of the budgetary or creative restrictions virtual productions remove.
xR: A multi-market marvel
Commercial production at XR Stage includes an action-packed Nissan spot for a dealer sales event. Directed by Marc Forster (“World War Z,” “The Kite Runner,” “Quantum of Solace”), the dynamic commercial was shot with backdrops across 360º of the LED volume and incorporated footage of Academy Award winner Brie Larson at the wheel.
AOIN believes xR production offers benefits to clients across all market segments. “Creatives working on Unreal projects on-site look at the screen and not in-camera monitors when making creative changes,” says Danny. “Colour correcting can be done based on what they see in the volume because the content is so immersive. They treat it like the final product when, in fact, the scene would look completely different in-camera.” Likewise, directors and DPs can ask for changes to be implemented instantly during production.
Costs can often be reduced since so much more can be accomplished during an xR shoot-day than on location or a conventional set. And large LED volumes, like XR Film Stage, can accommodate vehicles while reducing the need for digital set extensions.
And starting right up front, our pre-vis tool, which AOIN hopes to use more frequently, is more helpful than other systems from the standpoint of monitoring output since it enables users to see pixel density and light output.
Creatives looking ahead to upcoming projects and considering ways to complete a backlog of jobs that have been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic would do well to consider xR production. AOIN and XR Stage’s partnership has educated curious clients to understand the big picture and discover what xR’s engaging and immersive environments can bring to projects. By offering a turnkey creative and technical solution to customers, AOIN and XR Stage generate confidence that xR production can meet the needs of projects here, now and post-pandemic.