BBC to debut new virtual reality studio tonight

The UK goes to the polls today (22 May) to vote in local and European elections. To complement what looks set to be one of the most unpredictable ballots in recent memory, BBC Studios and Post Production is supporting BBC News’ broadcasts from New Broadcasting House by delivering a series of live programmes from Elstree, where Studio D has recently been transformed with a new virtual reality tracking system.

To enable presenter Jeremy Vine to be virtually immersed with graphics and up-to-the-minute statistics, BBC Studios and Post Production is utilising brand-new virtual reality technology. Attached to the studio cameras, MoSys Star Tracker uses an upward looking camera that tracks random markers on the studio’s grid and sends positional information to a computer to render the correct viewpoint. This means that Vine can move around the green screen environment, without affecting the position of the virtual graphs and charts, to create a seamless and completely immersive viewing experience.

The studio floor at Elstree will comprise a multi-camera set-up of 12 cameras, five of which are virtual reality capable. The centre of the studio will house main presenter David Dimbleby alongside the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson and guests from the main political parties. Facing a wall of LED screens enables Dimbleby to interview politicians in their regions via a live video feed. Adding to the big screen, immersive experience, presenter Emily Maitlis will be in front of a 103” interactive touch screen to provide the latest developments from each area of the country.

Anna Mallett, CEO of BBC Studios and Post Production, comments: “We are delighted to be working with BBC News on this project. Providing studios, technical facilities and staff expertise for such a large scale and complex live event as the elections is the perfect showcase for BBC Studios and Post Production’s capabilities. We’ve always been quick to embrace new technology, such as HD and then 3D, so to be using a new piece of virtual reality technology that will enhance viewing experiences is something that we’re all really excited about.”

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