ARRI takes part in Volucap Volumetric Studio

As co-partner of Volucap, the first volumetric studio on the European mainland, ARRI is driving the development and marketing of recording techniques for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

On June 12, 2018, the first commercial volumetric studio on the European mainland opened at the fx.center in Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany. There, people and other moving objects can be scanned in lifelike, three-dimensional quality in a circular space using 32 cameras. These hologram-like representations can be processed similar to computer animated models and transferred into real and virtual environments. In addition, viewers can enter these worlds with the help of VR glasses and view the recorded persons or objects from every possible angle.

To develop this completely new market, Volucap GmbH was founded with ARRI, Fraunhofer HHI, Interlake, Studio Babelsberg, and UFA as shareholders. As an innovation cluster, the company aims to promote the networking of different market participants in the field of VR/AR production and to substantiate this with the volumetric recording service offered. The operator consortium expects high demand due to the rapid market developments in VR and AR. The technology can be used for professional commissioned productions in the fields of eLearning, automotive, games, or medicine, for example. This opens up completely new possibilities, especially for the film industry, including “walk-in films”.

ARRI regards the participation in Volucap as an investment in the (virtual) future. “It is very important for us to drive forward the technological development and early commercial implementation of 3D recording techniques for the new VR and AR markets. Last but not least, we learn early on how our products and services for these markets need to be further developed,” explains Dr. Johannes Steurer, Teamlead Future Trends & Technology at ARRI.

The heart of the innovative Volucap studio—the 360-degree recording area, almost four meters high and illuminated from the outside—was planned and equipped by the experts of the ARRI System Group in close cooperation with Fraunhofer HHI. They installed a network of 235 ARRI SkyPanel S60-C and S30-C series LED spotlights around the light rotunda.

“With the lighting equipment, ARRI is already making a significant contribution to the studio's performance,” emphasizes Dr. Johannes Steurer. He also sees further points of contact at ARRI: “In the field of post-production services, the proximity to Volucap enables the consistent implementation of demanding VR and AR projects for film and industrial customers. For the Camera Systems division, Volucap provides the application scenarios and important impulses for the further optimization of the recording technology.”

Albrecht Gerber, Brandenburg´s Minister of Economics and Energy, officially opened the studio, which is funded by the state of Brandenburg with approximately two million euros from the Digital Hub Initiative. He praised Volucap as a “great showcase project” with “enormous economic potential.” On this occasion, actress Emilia Schuele was the first actress to be recorded in 360 degrees so that she could later be digitally staged.

Photos: Fraunhofer HHI (1), Stefan Kny (2)