zLense showed off its new zKey 3D Keying System at NAB 2017. zKey uses depth information to separate the foreground talent from the background, creating an alpha channel in real time without the need for green screens or special lighting.
The zKey 3D Keying System enhances an existing studio camera with the system’s depth camera attachment. Both content streams (full HD video and depth image) are transmitted to the zKey appliance that outputs the alpha channel and mask with a delay of only four frames. The system is aimed at a range of augmented reality (AR) applications.
The new capability is available to select customers through development partnerships or a revenue-sharing model with the company.
“With the introduction of the zKey 3D Keying System, we are opening new possibilities for maximising creative flexibility in live broadcasting,” said Bruno György, CEO of zLense.
“The zKey system allows for adding CGI layers in front of the talent, or between the foreground and background in real time – a process that has been impossible without a green screen until now. Because no special backgrounds or lighting are required, this capability can revolutionise the creative potential of live productions while also speeding up and simplifying content creation.”
Virtual studios for all budgets
zLense also debuted comprehensive virtual studio bundled offerings for broadcast TV, education, social media and corporate applications.
Virtual studios are available for single or multiple camera setups, and are equipped with camera tracking to support sophisticated production needs.
The basic offering is a complete VR studio setup with support for moving cameras and a bundle of software, including chroma keying, rendering and camera tracking. Customers can choose from integrated rendering engines including Unity3D, Akatona, and Aximmetry.
A premium package is also available that includes the zLense depth sensing unit (pictured above) mto add depth into the render. The first customers of the bundles are local and regional TV stations and thematic TV channels, where simple operation and affordability is a key.
“Our new bundled offerings bring comprehensive virtual studios within reach of smaller broadcasters, educational facilities and corporate users,” said CEO György. “Our comprehensive virtual studio bundled offerings bring significant advantages to these new users, both in terms of affordability and operational flexibility. Virtual sets, sub-pixel camera tracking and powerful VR software make it possible for smaller organizations to increase the creativity of their productions with extreme efficiencies.
“It should not have to be more complex to operate the new generation of broadcast VR and AR studios and sets than using an advanced character generator. Our bundles can be used for outside and mobile broadcasting and with any kind of camera support equipment like cranes, sliders easily. So it gives not only the highest possible picture quality, very complex set design handling capability but an operational flexibility as well which was unknown combination with affordability yet.”