RWE uses a newly built VR studio for corporate communications.
Energy provider RWE has invested in a UHD studio with virtual set technology and augmented reality capabilities at its campus in Essen. The studio was installed by KST Moschkau, and key components include four Panasonic UHD PTZ cameras, KST’s Cambot automation system, and a Reality virtual set system from Zero Density.
“The RWE project is representative of a whole series of current VR studios that KST has set up. At the same time, around 50% of our projects this year were not realized in classic media companies, but come from completely different, other industrial sectors. There, it was quickly recognized – even well before the Corona pandemic – that the new possibilities of a VR studio represent a modern form of communication,” explains Axel Moschkau, Managing Director of KST. “The solution we developed for RWE does not require professional studio staff, but relies heavily on automated processes in TV production.”
“We were able to demonstrate the performance of different quality levels to RWE decision-makers at our Innovation Center in Düren. We put together various service packages, adapted to the requirement and the budget. Within a few hours, it was clear that RWE wanted to use a VR/AR studio in UHD.
RWE subsequently awarded KST the contract to completely plan, implement and install the studio on a turnkey basis. RWE essentially provided two rooms in the shell stage in a new building on the RWE campus in Essen.
Everything else was outsourced by RWE to KST and was part of the project and thus part of the contract.
“In addition to the high technical demands, the timeline was especially critical: Within four calendar weeks, the shell had to be turned into a functioning, finished studio – and that in the midst of the first Corona wave,” explains Axel Moschkau.
Various ancillary use areas, such as a large multi-purpose room for live events, an outdoor area as a “summer interview” zone and an OB truck connection area were also part of the concept. However, the basis of the whole was the VR studio with the connected control room and the central system technology.
The Green Area: KST’s modular system, now standardized as the VR Green Set, was built in the RWE studio. Ideally adapted to the size of the room, this resulted in an L-shaped construction form of approx. 6 x 6 x 3.15 m. The entire Green area was painted in RealGreen, the Zero Density color optimized for Reality.
In addition to the purely technical requirements, the studio should of course also meet visual demands and be beautifully furnished: After all, the company’s board members will be coming and going here every day, and the studio will be used for both internal and external communication.
The basic light set: The KST VR LED light set was used here. Concentration on the parameters actually required brought a saving of over 80% here compared to the lighting systems mostly used in VR projects. The result is an ideal basic light for 90% of all VR production cases.
In order to be able to design the handling as automated and therefore simple as possible, the simplest game of robotic camera systems was used. Panasonic’s AW-UE150 PTZ cameras represent the ideal compromise between easy operating, good UHD image quality and precise control. Four of these Free-D capable cameras were integrated.
The essential component for automation is the KST CamBot system. The strengths of the database-supported system also come into their own in combination with PTZ cameras. In addition, the possibility arises to upgrade at any time to more complex robotic play types, such as rail or totem systems – or even the CamBot robots.
On the VR system side, KST also focused on maximum quality, functional safety and photorealism: the choice here fell on the manufacturer Zero Density.
From KST’s perspective, Zero Density is currently the technology leader with its Reality VR system, which is based on the Unreal game engine.
Other core elements of the studio equipment include Panasonic’s AV-UHS500 12G video mixer and Aja Kona 12G matrix – both optimal for studios of this size, KST says.
In addition to these central studio technology components of a VR studio, various other systems are of course required today: external talk participants via Zoom/Teams/Skype/WebEx and others can be integrated. Likewise, one must be able to stream the program directly in UHD as well. System elements like VMix Pro can be helpful tools for this.
The monitoring was designed in such a way that not only the studio sources, but also external interlocutors, teleprompters or PowerPoint insertions can be perfectly controlled, monitored.
The employees who now operate the RWE studio do not originally come from the professional video environment. Nevertheless, within a very short time they were able to operate the system and carry out complete productions on their own. “Automation and intuitive user guidance made this easier,” explains Axel Moschkau. “The high level of automation between KST-CamBot and Reality makes operating the show a pleasure.”
According to KST, the dynamics that have now come into production are particularly noteworthy: Whereas 3 – 4 broadcasts per month were assumed in the planning phase, 2 – 3 broadcasts per day are currently being produced instead, in some cases lasting several hours. The RWE VR Studio project was therefore more than positively received by the customer.
Article by FILM TV VIDEO: https://www.film-tv-video.de/productions/2020/11/27/rwe-nutzt-eigenes-vr-studio/