View Full Version : TCXD850 "life-like" virtual sets

04-22-2011, 02:43 AM
Are there any Tricaster virtual set experts out there who would be interested in discussing options for creating life-like virtual sets for the TCXD850?

The virtual set capabilities of the TCXD850 are great - but the sets are super-cheesy and look like they belong to the 70s.

We would like to explore working together with other interested parties on the creation of virtual studio sets, particularly ones that look life-like and can be linked to locations through the integration of live HD webcams for background footage of cities, trading floors, sports events, etc.

Any directions to folk who are already doing this much appreciated too.

regards, Scott

04-23-2011, 07:54 AM
I've been told my sets look realistic and it's what I strive for when creating them. A web cam to feed say a window, may not look so good because of the lack of resolution. I have had a customer who we were going to fiber feed two cameras from Times Square, one pointing at the buildings and one pointing to the street, and I was mapping them to the windows to allow for not only simulating a studio in Time Square but allow for more than two window perspective from these two feeds.
The over all look of the set is always a product of the artist ability. Believe it or not, the geometry (when using 3D to model) is not the most important. The textures, lighting and how they both play against each other is the most important or I should say one of the most important things to make things look real.

04-23-2011, 01:12 PM
Just to add to that, while I'd say there is some range in the visual quality of the stock sets, some of them are very good. I had a look at many competitors both last year and this year, and few solutions looked nearly as good as even the lowliest of TriCaster LiveSets. The few that did were all very expensive.

04-23-2011, 09:35 PM
I'll second what Steve said. The realistic look is what sells the productions. Now with VSE we've multiplied the options. But can always use more. :hey: I know in my world the more realistic the better.

It's awesome that people like Jose, Eric and others are knocking these out for us.
I think there is a great opportunity for people who create a variety of virtual sets. Maybe even some "life style" sets.

04-24-2011, 04:19 AM
One thing I find very unrealistic of the XD set's is that all presenters I have seen do not put there hands on the virtual desk's and keep them out of shot, why is this?

04-24-2011, 04:48 AM
The video layer which the anchors inhabit sits behind the virtual desk in the included sets, so if they touch a real desk or put their hands on top of the location on which the virtual desk should sit, their hands will be behind the desk, but at a quite odd angle. A custom set can be made so that if the actor places their hand on a real desk painted the same color as the screen (green or blue) then their hands will sit on top of the virtual desk. Another solution is to make a set with no desk and to shoot the real desk, but then issues of where the desk meets the floor must be dealt with, or you will be limited to medium and close-up shots.

Summary: To make it any more realistic than keeping you hands in your lap or by your side, you have to make a custom set, because there is no way NewTek could make a set that works for everyone.

04-24-2011, 06:38 AM
Making the desk green is a lot more difficult than that and you gain nothing over using a real desk. The reason is if you add reflection, it never will look right. I have experimented with this extensively and it does not look good. So if you are not going to have reflections on the desk, you have two choices. One is the full desk with camera angles giving you wide to med and then med close to close (two camera angles). But just a desktop with a set extension allows for a really nice desk with only a simple Ikea type desk (the ones with just a top and legs). For this style set, the alignment is critical.
Bottom line is you are correct in that it needs to be custom to match the green screen studio it will be used on.

Take care,

04-24-2011, 06:39 AM
That's about right. It's not impossible to come up with something convincing, within certain limits, but it's tricky. I suspect the general feeling with the stock sets is that the average user wants something they can use quickly without going to want to go to the lengths required to make that work - could be wrong about that

The set used for the main demo showed the desk from an higher angle than usual, and did so pretty convincingly, but the presenter still wouldn't be able to reach out an set down some papers or a cup of coffee down without some visual issues. Really, no virtual set (not Newtek's, nor those from other vendors) can do this in a way that is truly accurate and convincing, with reflections and shadows, without using a physical desk-top.

[Edit: I see Josť and I were typing at the same time. I agree 100% with his statement.]

04-24-2011, 06:15 PM
Thanks for the insight guy's it's appreciated.

04-26-2011, 09:40 PM
Probably the number one request we get is to be able to put a script or coffee cup on the desk. (That's probably because the TC can do most everything else). :D

My answer to the client/talent.......sure! All you need to do is plan ahead about 6 months, pay to have the set designed and built, oh, and it'll increase the budget by $40,000-$80,000. :thumbsup:
Suddenly they are just fine without the cup or script on the desk.

P.S. one tip I give the talent is to use their hands more. It helps the realism when people can see the desktop reflection of an animated talent.

04-27-2011, 04:47 AM
The thing that made the set at NAB this year work so well for me was that the camera angle was high, giving the impression that you were looking downward at the desk, and that the top was visible.

Don's seating position appeared as though it was behind a small dropped-down inset holding a laptop (actually his TC monitor, I think) and keyboard, with the monitor intruding just slightly into the view. This was able to obscure problems that would otherwise have occurred, but appeared quite seamless - wish I had a grab to show.

04-30-2011, 04:41 AM
Thanks for the responses. To focus on an immediate need, does anyone have any recommendations for the best, or their favourite, life-like NewTek or 3rd Party studio set that can be implemented on the TCXD850 with:
- two or three close shots
- two background monitors that can play B-Roll or Branding
- is suitable for implementation in a small studio

regards, Scott

04-30-2011, 05:22 AM
If you are looking for a pre-made set, there are a few companies to choose from where you would have to look through and decide what looks good for your needs.
If you want a set that looks exactly the way you want, then I offer my services as well as a few others that create custom sets.
[email protected]
Take care,

Tim H.
04-30-2011, 10:04 AM
Virtual Set Designs for TriCaster: Both customized from existing designs and full custom from scratch...