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Product Breakthroughs Of 2017: Shotoku

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By Graham Ramsey, Sales Director Manual and VR Products, Shotoku EMEA & Americas.

The introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) has seen a renewed interest and growth in the use of the original Virtual Studio graphics application. AR mixes the use of hard sets or live events with virtual graphics.
This presents an opportunity and demand for better quality material, with higher production values, more creativity and more realism.

The creative drive has led to a demand for greater use of cranes in the VR/AR space but there is a significant challenge in delivering highly accurate and stable tracking from conventional cranes.

The NAB2017 launch of Shotoku's Graphica Crane Series couldn't have come at a more opportune time. The Graphica series is a merge of Shotoku's VR technology and the engineering know-how of the renowned crane maker, CamMate. The result is a range of dedicated VR/AR camera cranes with industry-leading tracking capabilities, available in seven different models from 2.5m (8.2ft) to 12.4m (40.7ft).

Industry leading results are achieved by using a highly rigid boom arm and the mounting of Shotoku's encoders to machined surfaces, in optimised positions, and using precision engineered drives. The encoders are also positioned to protect them from impact during boom operation. In order to achieve this the crane is modified to Shotoku's design during original manufacture. The result is highly accurate, stable data which is collected via the Serial Position Interface (SPI), and delivered in real-time to the Graphics engine. Graphica is free of the jitters, external markers, and area limitations often associated with other positional tracking systems.

The incorporation of Shotoku's patented SPi-Touch, 2-point calibration system as standard, further enhances performance, allowing the crane to be recalibrated in approx. 20 seconds following repositioning.

The application for VR/AR has grown way beyond news and current affairs to education, advertising, major sporting events and even concerts. The expanded use of Graphica in these applications is facilitating ever increasing creativity and production value.

This article also features in the December edition of Broadcast Film & Video.

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