WorldStage is expanding its expertise in xR production with the opening of xRStage Times Square @ New 42 Studios. The venture is a partnership of WorldStage and New 42, a performing arts nonprofit that operates New 42 Studios, an array of 14-column-free rehearsal studios, at 229 West 42nd Street.
xRStage Times Square is the latest WorldStage LED Smart Studio location offering a production facility with a dynamic LED stage and fully immersive xR production capabilities. Extended Reality (xR) is a new production technology that combines live-action camera tracking and real-time rendering to create immersive and interactive virtual environments. As a pioneer in the development of technical solutions to support xR productions, WorldStage continues to expand the availability and accessibility to this new production process. To date, WorldStage has built studios in Secaucus, NJ, Nashville, TN, two in the San Francisco Bay area, and several in tradeshow environments.
"In working with our partners at New 42, it became increasingly clear to all at WorldStage that both organizations should focus on the opportunity we have with this new venture, says WorldStage vice president of lighting Terry Jackson. "We are now able to bring a powerful production studio to the heart of midtown Manhattan where the Broadway community and many others will be able to explore the creative and technical advantages that virtual production has to offer."
Already well-known for its 14 rehearsal studios, ten of which fit the entire footprint of a Broadway stage, New 42 Studios has attracted theater, film and television clients as well as nonprofit performing arts companies in the two decades since its founding. Now, the addition of xRStage Times Square will provide those clients with new production opportunities and serve a growing roster of customers eager to take advantage of advanced technologies for their projects. New 42 partnered with WorldStage to utilize the LED volume for its June celebration in Times Square called "Let's Get This Show on the Street."
"xRStage Times Square is a very flexible space that suits many different uses," notes WorldStage creative director Shelly Sabel. "With its adaptable seating configurations and LED volume, the space can serve fully immersive xR productions, projects requiring LED backdrops, pre-recorded presentations, live broadcasts and hybrid events with live and virtual audiences. It's the kind of versatile studio that meets the needs of just about any project."
The studio has customizable room layout options for bleacher seating from 64-140 people, plus lounge, banquet, classroom and meeting seating. The dynamic LED stage features a ROE 3.1mm c3ONE LED back wall (19.67 feet x 15.73 feet) and angled side walls (13.77 feet x 15.73 feet) for a total of 48 feet of horizontal space. The studio also boasts an interactive 5.1mm LED i5Floor.
The studio has a built-in production booth and a broadcast-ready video village located on stage and, like WorldStage's other xR production stage locations, offers a complete camera and video package, full lighting and rigging, audio and a webstreaming package. xRStage Times Square also provides all the services and amenities needed for any production, including dressing rooms, green room and catering space.
"In the coronavirus era, it's especially important to manage and provide all the necessary services within one facility," says Jackson. "xRStage Times Square is a unique, problem-solving space right in midtown Manhattan. Broadway, commercials, film, TV, corporate presentations--any production, live or recorded, will recognize the value, ease of use and flexibility."