At the Cinegrid International Workshop 2012 we demonstrated, together with the Netherlands Film Academy, long-distance green-screen compositing on a live scene1.

The demonstration involved three locations (see also picture below):

  • A film studio at the NFA building in the center of Amsterdam
  • A director with live audience at Calit2 in San Diego
  • Compute nodes at the SARA datacenter in Amsterdam

In the film studio a small set had been built, including green screen areas. The camera operated on the set was tracked using a Previzion set from Lightcraft Technologies, which provided the real-time 3D position and orientation of the camera on the set.

The live images from the camera where streamed over a dedicated 1 Gbps lightpath to the SARA data center, where a number of compute nodes composited a virtual 3D scene into the image stream. The final rendered output was then streamed over a 10 Gbps lightpath to Calit2. The director would interactively direct a number of scenes on the set through standard video-conferencing, while the audience watched.

Here is a recording of the demonstration, as it happened, made at Calit2 in San Diego:

This technology demonstration showed what is possible using distributed computing, light paths and real-time rendering and compositing. A detailed technical report of the demonstration is available here.

Robin Noorda also made a great behind-the-scenes documentary (in Dutch) covering the preparations of the demo and the demo itself:

  1. Note that SURFsara was still called SARA at the time of demo, as it was not yet part of SURF. And the NFA also worked on television back then and hence was called NFTA