IDENTITY CAPTURE CAMERA ENABLES THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND AGENT EMERSON

The making of the VR Film Agent Emerson demanded innovation as it was very challenging and complex on every level of the technical process. Our team designed and developed a unique camera system to smoothly capture the immersive intensity of our action-filled first-person POV film, which appears seamlessly as one continuous shot in high quality 360 VR 3D.

Behind the scenes image of Lyndsy Fonseca (Alexandra) filming battle scene on VR Film AGENT EMERSON
Behind the scenes image of Lyndsy Fonseca (Alexandra) filming battle scene on VR Film AGENT EMERSON. Photo credit: Billy Bennight

The most complex shot was the long continuous fight scene where ‘Alexandra’ (Lyndsy Fonseca), ‘The General’ (Tony Denison) and the guards walk from one camera into another and get up-close to the cameras. For the viewer to feel fully immersed into the action of the katana battle – as they are ‘Agent Emerson’, we were able to achieve the direct physical interaction with ‘Emerson’ in movement, creating one of the most complicated sequences ever filmed in VR 360 3D.

Closeup image of IC-Cam mounted headset for filming in 360 first-person POV on VR Film AGENT EMERSON
Closeup image of IC-Cam mounted headset for filming in 360 first-person POV on VR Film AGENT EMERSON. Photo credit: Billy Bennight

Our proprietary IC-Cam (Identity Capture Camera) is a head-mounted camera rig system capable of shooting 360 degrees stereoscopic (3D) video with the body in the field of view and no blind spots. The 21-camera, 3-axis stabilization system compensates for all the movements of the operator, resulting in a smooth camera movement without uncomfortable motion for the audience watching the filmed footage in a VR headset.

As available standard stitching techniques were inadequate for the amount of action, our engineers utilized a hybrid of existing software and created new algorithms, developing a new dynamic stitching system which also solved 3D complications on the sphere poles.

 Behind the scenes image of Ben Aycrigg (Emerson Stunts) filming sky fall scene on VR Film AGENT EMERSON
Behind the scenes image of Ben Aycrigg (Emerson Stunts) filming sky fall scene on VR Film AGENT EMERSON. Photo credit: Billy Bennight

When it came to the arduous task of the CGI, the scope of Agent Emerson and the very nature of filming in VR needed a new and state-of-the-art way of problem-solving for creating the high-level VFX seen onscreen. A good example is a scene where the viewer as ‘Agent Emerson’ is falling from the sky, which not only required modeling of 40,000 miles of visible photorealistic environment in every direction, but also the creation of an adaptive 3D algorithm to achieve high fidelity 3D as far as the horizon, so that every little detail conveys the dimension of the sky you’re falling from. Moreover, the film involves a custom spherical rotation algorithm (based on a complex mathematical model) which adjusts the 3D for the direction of viewer’s eyesight, so the 3D stays crisp and comfortable and never is a subject of ghosting, no matter how close the object is or even if it’s on the poles.

 Behind the scenes image of Re-Recording Mixer Rusty Dunn and Composer Corey Wallace on VR Film AGENT EMERSON
Behind the scenes image of Re-Recording Mixer Rusty Dunn and Composer Corey Wallace on VR Film AGENT EMERSON

Refer to some related articles:
BlackRay – real-time engine for 3DS Max
Designing a film set in VR on John Wick
Disney VFX Supervisor Steve Goldberg to Present ‘Frozen 2’ at VIEW 2019

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