Director Robert Zemeckis’ Pinocchio, now available to stream on Disney+, is a live-action adaptation of Walt Disney's 1940 animated film that is packed with CGI creation and visual effects.
DNEG Virtual Production, a partnership between DNEG and Dimension Studio, utilised the new AirPixel ultra-wideband camera tracking solution for wide area shots for the first time.
AirPixel delivered many benefits, including the ability to view the final scene (real-time composition of the camera footage + Unreal graphic render) without having to wait for post-production editing.
AirPixel is an ultra-wideband and inertial sensing technology that can be used to track various cameras (cable cams, Steadicams, crane mounted remote heads, remote PTZ cameras, drones) in very large areas, both indoors and outdoors. It can be used for AR and virtual production in large LED studios, stadiums, concert venues and racetracks, as proven in wide open space shots during the creation of the Disney’s latest Pinocchio.
AirPixel works by utilising a collection of stand-alone beacons, which can be battery or permanently powered. Using ultra-wideband radio (UWB) they communicate with an on-camera receiver (rover). The rover calculates its position and orientation using the UWB data and an internal inertial measurement unit (IMU). This data is then processed through an advanced filter algorithm to give an accurate output of X, Y, Z, Pan, Tilt, and Roll.
The rover connects to a lightweight control unit which combines the position data with lens FIZ data, genlocks the output and transmits to the render engine via Ethernet or serial connection. Data is also formatted at this point in either AirPixel proprietary format ideal for use with our custom Live Link plugin, or FreeD format for extended software compatibility.
To set up the system, beacons are placed around the perimeter of the stage and/ or above the stage at varying heights and locations. The beacons are then surveyed using a high-speed robotic total station and bespoke in-house software. Using this method, it is possible to set the beacon locations with millimetre accuracy, and still complete setup in less than 2 hours for most configurations.
AirPixel works with many camera rigging systems, having been used on dolly, Steadicam, jibs, cranes and cable cams. It also works in any lighting conditions, including total darkness. In addition, we integrate with popular 3rd party products, to provide the best solution for your needs. This means that accurate data can often be provided on shots where traditionally tracking would be difficult or impossible.
|Update rate||max. 100 Hz|
|Output rate Genlocked||23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 29.97 Drop,
30,47.95, 48, 50, 59.94, 59.94 Drop, 60
|Position accuracy||X: ±2 cm
Y: ±2 cm
Z: ±5 cm
|Angular Accuracy||Tilt : ±0.2°
Pan : ±0.5°
|Positional resolution||1 mm|
|Protocol support||AirPixel or FreeD|
|Max. tracking speed||270 km/h; 75 metres per second|
|Max. number of receivers||5 (per UWB channel)|
|Max. number of beacons||200 (per UWB channel)|
(assuming 30 m beacon spacing and square volume)
|390 m x 390 m
1.6 million ft2
|UWB Channels||Channel 4 – 3993.6 MHz ±450 MHz
Channel 7 – 6489.6 MHz ±450 MHz
|UWB Transmit Power||-41.3 dBm/MHz|
|Rover dimensions||7 x 4 cm|
|Beacon dimensions||13 x 7.5 cm|
|Power requirements||7 - 30 V DC, 100 mA|
|IP rating||Beacon: IP67
|Operating Temperature||-20˚C to +60˚C|
|Storage Temperature||-40˚C to +85˚C|