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Intel Opens Los Angeles Studio for Volumetric VR/AR Video Productions

Intel wants to help Hollywood embrace the next generation of immersive media: The chip maker officially announced the opening of a Los Angeles-based studio space dedicated to the production of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and other types of cutting-edge content at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Monday.

The new facility, aptly named Intel Studios, features the world’s largest stage for volumetric video capture. At the center of it is a 10,000 square-feet dome designed to capture actors and objects in volumetric 3D, essentially producing high-end holographic content for VR, AR and the likes.

“We have created a new state-of-the-art production studio for immersive media,” Intel Studios director Diego Prilusky recently told Variety. Designing and building out the space took some 18 months. “It was a very long process of research and development,” he said.

Aside from the actual stage, this also involved setting up a complete production facility capable of handling all of that raw video captured by the studio’s many cameras. The captured data travels through some five miles of fiber cables to be processed by a whole army of Intel-powered servers, at the rate of 6 terabytes a minute.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich officially unveiled Intel Studios during the company’s CES keynote Monday evening by showing the following video:

Intel has also dabbling with virtual reality for some time. In 2016, the company acquired the Israeli 3D capture startup Replay Technologies. Since then, Intel has been capturing sports events including select NBA, NFL and PGA Tour games with 3D cameras, and streaming them to VR headsets.

With Intel Studios, the company now wants to take the next step, and work with ad agencies, producers of scripted content and live events producers ranging from sports to music and beyond. “We are looking at content that will be all the way from phones to big screens and VR,” said Prilusky. One of the first studio partners announced Monday was Paramount.

Intel Studios control room
CREDIT: Intel Corporation

Intel Studios director Diego Prilusky with colleagues in the studio’s control rooms.

Before working at Replay Technologies, Prilusky did visual effects work for movies like “Gravity,” “War Horse” and “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” With that background, he is especially excited about what the technology will bring to scripted content. “There is a huge explosion of storytelling that has yet to be defined,” he said. “We are looking for all the creators and directors out there.”

Intel isn’t the only company looking to help Hollywood with volumetric video productions — and the market has proven to be challenging for some others. In December, news broke that New Zealand- and Los Angeles-based holographic capture startup 8i had to lay off half of its staff as it was looking to refocus on its core initiatives.

One of the volumetric videos shot and produced at Intel Studios.

Intel on the other hand doesn’t just have deeper pockets; the company can also benefit on multiple levels from a project like Intel Studios. One the one hand, it aims to generate revenue directly with the studio.

But laying the foundation for next-generation VR and AR helps Intel to stay relevant as a chipset maker as new forms of entertainment evolve. “We are developing technologies for professional use cases,” he said. “We are a technology-driven company.

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