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HomeCraftsCameraLightcraft's Previzion System Now Supports GPS Tracking

Lightcraft’s Previzion System Now Supports GPS Tracking


Lightcraft Technology, a developer of real-time visual effects technology for the film and television, has incorporated GPS tracking into its Previzion system with Osystems Inertial Navigation System (INS). Osystems INS technology provides a combination of high-accuracy GPS and inertial measurement technology, so Previzion can now track cameras in real time in most exterior environments or locations.

Previzion is a real-time visual effects system that incorporates a combination of high-precision camera tracking, sophisticated rendering and VFX quality keying, which makes it ideal for the real time on-set compositing of virtual backgrounds and CGI characters. The Lightcraft Previzion system enables filmmakers to create visual effects shots with dynamic camera moves and actually see the completed effects while shooting green screen or virtual elements.

The Previzion GPS interface integrates with the Osystems INS technology to provide centimeter-accurate tracking information for cameras in outdoor locations where optical tracking or encoded cranes are not suitable. The Previzion system takes the Osystems data as latitude, longitude, altitude, pitch, roll and yaw, and converts it to standard coordinate systems conventionally used in 3D postproduction applications. Additional tools were developed in Previzion in order to verify tracking accuracy and register the Osystems INS data with a locally surveyed coordinate framework.

“This was a much more difficult project to implement than we initially thought,” admitted Eliot Mack and Phil Mass, the co-founders of Lightcraft. “We had to take into account complex calculations involving latitude, longitude, and the center of the Earth, and make them work anywhere in the world.”

ABC Surveying Instruments of Glendale, CA, developed the Osystems technology for use with Lightcraft’s Previzion technology. The INS system includes a special camera package with industry standard mounting hardware and data interfaces.

“We have been looking at leveraging our positioning solutions expertise and integrating some of the exciting, state-of-the art positioning technologies into a compact plug-and-play tracker for the entertainment industry,” stated Ohan Baghdassarian CEO of ABC Surveying Instruments. “In Lightcraft we found the perfect partner who has the technical ability and understanding of exactly how to interpret the Osystems sensor output and make it work for their customers.”

The first user of this technology is Evergreen Films, who plan to use it on their upcoming stereo feature Walking with Dinosaurs 3D.

“This is a truly revolutionary application of this technology,” said Pierre de Lespinois, president of Evergreen Films and co-director of Walking with Dinosaurs 3D. “The Osystems sensor and Previzion will enable us to track shots for cable-suspended cameras and other exotic camera support systems like our 50-foot camera dirigible that will be flying over our large LIDAR scans of the Alaska tundra, tracking our CGI characters. Previzion is a core technology for us on this film, as it is the only way that we can see our characters’ performances during production in the many locations that we are going to be shooting.”

“Previzion has met our numerous feature requests to integrate a vast array of cutting edge technologies into their system such as outdoor encoded motion capture with our CGI characters, fiber transmission from the camera to our recording trucks over thousands of feet, increased graphics capabilities for animated CGI characters, adding new protocols for C-motion FIZ units, integration with Red Epics, and most amazing of all, providing us with GPS/IMU tracking that we can use on all of our cranes, flying cable cameras, Steadicam, Hydrocam cranes and more,” he added.

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