Shotoku’s new Free-d2 is its next generation virtual reality and augmented reality tracking system, which does not require physical encoder devices attached to the camera support’s moving axes.
It is based on advanced algorithms developed by BBC Research and Development, and uses simple ceiling markers to precisely determine the exact position and orientation of the studio camera. Shotoku said it provides highly accurate and constantly referenced (absolute) position tracking.
No concept of a home or reference point exists for Free-d2 – regardless of where the camera is positioned – the system instantly knows its exact location and orientation in all eight axes. The position tracking data never drifts, no matter how many complex moves or hours of operation the camera has.
It uses a small Free-d2 camera attached to the broadcast camera in such a way that it does not interfere in any manner, and constantly views the lighting grid area where markers are positioned. Being attached directly to the camera means that any type of support can be used, including Steadicam or handheld cameras.
The low-cost markers are made of simple reflective material and can be placed anywhere within the studio lighting grid or ceiling area. Once an initial studio calibration is carried out, the system will typically never require calibration again.
In use, the Free-d2 camera only needs to see a handful of markers to calculate the precise position of the broadcast camera, so obstructions such as lights or other ceiling-mounted equipment don’t hinder its operation.
Shotoku Broadcast Systems 11.F40