How to use 3D virtual studio sets to increase your production value.
What are your thoughts on using green screens for business purposes?
Using a green screen actually provides a lot of flexibility and cost-cutting because we don’t have to shoot at the location and the entire crew and cast can be in one place. There’s a lot of flexibility and cost-cutting in terms of transportation and travelling. Also, you don’t need to set up the physical props and you can make use of the advanced technology to provide virtual sets and virtual platforms and virtual props.
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Green screen can be used in a lot of creative ways for business videos. What are some of your favourite ways to use it?
We do a lot of webinars for our corporate clients. Webinar is actually one of the applications that is widely used in a green screen environment. Of course in Hollywood, you see a lot of green screen productions for filmmaking. For webinars, conferences, and townhalls, using green screens virtual sets actually provide a lot of production value and subject all the talents. All the productions are actually very immersive and that attracts and retains a lot of attention from the viewers.
Have you ever worked with a company that used green screen and been impressed with the results?
Yes, in fact, most of my clients who actually used our green screen services are impressed with the results. Because we are only one of the few who actually uses Unreal Engine as a rendering platform and that gives a lot of 3D perspective or 3D depth into the whole production. The speakers or the presenter doesn’t look as if it has been cut and pasted into an image or into a picture but they looked very immersive as if they’re actually standing or living in the virtual world itself
What do you think is the single most important factor to consider when planning a green screen shoot?
Content is very important. You need to actually plan the content like what other information you want to show and how you want to present them. We talked about what and how to present the content for example the charts if you want the launched product or object to be animated and appear in a virtual set. Basically, how you design the virtual set itself so that it actually complements and supports the brand/ branding so the overall look and feel are pleasant to the viewers.
Do you have any tips on how to make the most out of green screen footage post-production?
Colour grading is actually very important. After the whole production is completed, the next thing you need to do is to add a little bit of polish to the whole production. What we usually do in post-production, we do a little bit of colour grading to make the whole look and feel of the video very polished.
What inspired you to start using green screen in your business?
When COVID started a lot of physical events are stopped. In order to move the business forward, we started to build our green screen studio. But the studio really only pick up and started off because we started to use 3D virtual set productions in all our productions. So with the 3D production sets, a lot of clients are attracted because of the depth and 3D perspective. They can actually see themselves presenting the material in a very immersive environment. A lot of clients that come to us wanted to do townhalls, seminars and conferences in our studio. COVID basically is a game-changer but the real inspiration comes from the 3D virtual set productions.
How has green screen helped you reach new audiences and grow your business?
Green screen by itself is just a tool but being able to make use of green screen to produce 3D Unreal Engine productions has actually attracted or allowed me to access high-value clients who actually not just deliver the message but deliver it in a world-class production environment. They are all very sick and tired of Zoom gallery view or a newsroom format with just picture in picture. They want something more immersive and the green screen 3D production actually allows us to produce something that’s more immersive and use augmented reality and animated objects and even venturing to metahuman, allow us to actually present material in a very creative way.
Do you have any tips for businesses looking to start using green screen?
Choose a provider with the correct equipment setup. A lot of people think green screen is just having a green cloth in the background then you can just key out the person and that’s it. Actually, having the green screen/cloth/background is the smallest part of the formula. You need to have ample and even lighting to make sure that the quality is optimum. You need to have a big enough space so that you can have multiple camera angles. Choose a professional provider that has a good track record, experience and able to produce world-class quality webinars.
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How did you get started in 3d virtual studio?
Basically, the push factor is the demand and supply. When we first started 3D, we are one of the few that first started this in Singapore. And very soon when clients come to know about the type of production that we have, a lot of clients migrate from the conventional productions into 3D. And the demand actually has increased and the production quality has also improved. We expanded our green screen moving from our old office/studio to a much bigger green screen studio. Right now we operate two 60 sq.m green screens. Each green screen has between three to six cameras consisting of both tracking cameras and static cameras. These are the type of productions that we provide to our clients.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced when starting and running your business?
Having the technical know-how is one thing. But being able to promote your services to the market is another thing. We have actually done a lot of green screen productions that actually help us gather a lot of experience and pick up a lot of new skillsets. I can say that we are very proficient in these productions. In fact, we are one of the top three in 3D productions in Singapore. What we need to do next is to be able to promote our services. One of the ways to promote our services is to talk to a lot of event companies. We have garnered quite a few international event companies as our collaboration partners. The challenge is reaching out to event companies.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you so far?
I think marketing and reaching out is the biggest challenge right now. During COVID we are restricted to only operating our business within Singapore. So, once that we are looking to borders being opened, the next challenge is how can we promote our services outside Singapore.
Do you see yourself continuing with this business in the long run?
Yes, we are only touching the tip of the iceberg with this experience in 3D virtual productions. We are actually moving into short-form film making productions using Unreal Engine. This actually will be our next step, not only are we restricted to webinars and conferences, we want to also be a provider for other film production house. One day we will be able to render our services as an Unreal Engine Studio which means we provide Unreal Engine camera tracking system studio and a virtual gaffer so that the film production house will only concentrate on the storytelling the shooting. We will only provide the underlying technical support for Unreal Engine portion.
What kind of results have you seen from using a 3D virtual production package in your marketing videos?
From what I’ve seen from the results, viewers are more attracted to a high production quality which can only be achieved by using 3D virtual productions. Traditionally, 3D productions are done at post which means that usually the talent or actor is shot in front of the green screen. And then at post-productions, they actually key out the subject in the background. But in a 3D virtual production/ or live production, the recording of the results is live which means that we actually key out the person live and the person is actually embedded into the 3D virtual world. The whole production itself is done live. All the videos that you’ve seen in my portfolio is not post production key into it. These are all live. Once we call cut and wrap up, we actually have the video already. The only thing we need to do is polish it up by using colour grading to enhance the production visually. The end result is a lot of clients felt that it’s more immersive. They are able to see the results. The actors or presenters are able to interact with virtual objects. He’s able to see himself in the virtual world straight away. There’s a confidence monitor that shows where he’s standing and where are the virtual objects so that he can virtually reach out his hands to touch the virtual objects. At the end of day, the result basically is a high immersive production which can create a very realistic environment and also short down the entire production lifecycle.
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What is the cost to rent your studio?
We provide dry rental meaning that you just rent the studio all the way including our services. So the cost range is somewhere between $1,500 to $15,000. The range is actually very wide. It depends on the client’s requirements.
What kind of equipment do you have in your studio?
We have Unreal Engine workstations which provide the 3D rendering. We have Visual Projection Software which will render the video, & all powerpoint and publish it/push it in the Unreal Engine. We have 6 cameras so that we can actually provide different angles whether close-up or wide shots. We have 3 checking cameras that provide position data of the camera to the Unreal Engine so that when we pan or zoom in the camera the background will achieve and move accordingly. We have professional sound mixers to make sure that the audio quality is pristine. We are using studio-quality lighting to ensure that the whole studio is lighted evenly and that would enhance the results of the key.
How long can I book the studio for? Is there a minimum amount of time that I need to book the studio for?
The minimum booking period is 1 day.
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How can you make sure your live stream runs smoothly? What is the key important factor?
Technical wise, the weakest link is the internet access, so what we do to overcome this is in the studio itself. We actually have 2 internet network/provider. The first one is Starhub the other one is Singtel.
And our firewall is actually programmed for instant failover which means that any issue with the primary internet service provider (Singtel) within 3 seconds our firewall will switch over to the secondary internet service provider (Starhub). This is inside the studio itself. We invested in firewall and 2 service providers just to make sure that our streaming to the cloud is smooth. Now when we do jobs outside the studio, we also invested in expensive industrial modems like Cradlepoint which actually has already called load balancing. Inside this Cradlepoint, we actually have 4 sim cards. We are not using consumer sim cards, we are using industrial M2M sim cards. The type of sim cards that is used on ATM machines to host connections will provide us with the stability and redundancy in terms of sending the stream to the cloud smoothly.
How do you think live streaming services will develop in the next few years?
Live streaming is going to be the norm in the future after COVID. COVID pushed the world or escalated the world to adapt live streaming in the events or the townhalls. And a lot of companies has learned how to use live streaming and even when we have borders opening and physical events coming back into the picture itself, clients are still using live streaming to bring the message across. They realized that if they spend to much money to do a physical event they might as well broadcast it to the whole world. We began to see the demand tomlive streamingto be more in the future. The quality of live streaming will also include other technology like augmented reality, teleportation, virtual reality and metahuman. All these will be more prominent in the future of live streaming.
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What is your most popular event?
The most popular events are internal so-called dissemination of information, they are usually townhalls. I will say that 70% of my productions are for townhalls.
Do you have any events that are specific to Singapore?
Do you have any plans to expand into mainland China?
I don’t have any plans for any specific country but we definitely need to expand our services outside Singapore because the demand for 3D productions is getting higher but the skillsets available in the market are not able to meet the demand yet. So as we are developing more manpower or human resources to meet the supply. I believe that the demand for this will be huge within this region.