Stage Precision's Mixed-Reality Toolkit Enables Smooth Sailing for Carnival Cruise Ships

Stage Precision allowed for mixed reality advertisements during the NFC Championship on Carnival Cruises.
(Image credit: Stage Precision)

The Famous Group is a creative technology provider and mixed-reality specialist based in Los Angeles. The team was recently involved in Carnival Cruise Line’s launch campaign for its new destination, Celebration Key.

For maximum impact, Carnival and its media agency, Initiative, planned to air adverts during two sporting events in the U.S. broadcast calendar: the NBA All-Star Game and the NFC Championship. Leading on the creative aspect of the project, the Famous Group deployed Stage Precision’s comprehensive SP toolkit to action a mixed-reality advertisement that would truly capture the imagination of viewers.

“Carnival Cruise’s new resort is still under construction, so it wasn’t possible to show footage of the destination,” explained Erik Beaumont, VP of advanced technology at The Famous Group. “The key challenge was around ‘how can we advertise this?’ and that’s where mixed reality comes in.”

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The concept for the campaign was to transform the stadium or arena into the paradise shores of Celebration Key, live on air. To do so, The Famous Group entrusted SP’s tracking and calibration tools to unify, monitor and control the workflow.

“We used SP features for camera and tracking alignment and camera calibration,” stated Beaumont. “With SP, you don’t need to worry about what tracking systems you use or whether it will be compatible with the software. This is crucial for projects like this where we’re scaling this concept across different venues and set-ups. Things can change, but SP just slots into the mix and makes sure everything works together, whether it’s in a football stadium or an indoor basketball arena.”

The first activation took place at the NFC Championship, held at San Francisco’s Levi Stadium. The Famous Group was working with a limited time frame for set-up and calibration and utilized SP’s powerful calibration tools to streamline the process. “We used a 3D model of the stadium with 3D anchor points for the camera alignment,” explained Beaumont. “Once the data and tracking points are in SP, we don’t need to worry about setting it up again.”

Tracking input was received through two cameras for both activations, but each venue required different camera positions and configurations of the graphic content in Pixotope and Unreal Engine. “We needed to flip the content for the different environments, but with SP that was not a big deal,” recalled Beaumont. “We built the content from the group up to ensure we could use it in any space and relied on SP to do the heavy lifting for editing, rather than the graphics engine.”

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This was made possible through the Pixotope integration of Stage Precision’s openly available SPnet protocol. “The tighter integration with Pixotope through SPnet allows us to have all our controls within one system,” continues Beaumont. “One example of this is for the recording systems. Rather than having a separate recording system, we can trigger recording through SP with just one click.” By managing all necessary calculations and adjustments, SP allowed graphics engines to operate without needing direct access to tracking information or camera positions.

The Famous Group also found the diagnostic features of SP to be a pivotal advantage over previous workflows. “When tracking natively, there’s very little leeway to fix things on the fly,” explained Beaumont. “The reality is that adjustments and fixes are always needed, and this is a golden benefit of the visibility we have in SP as we can quickly identify problems via its clear diagnostics, making us feel a lot more comfortable in a live broadcast environment.”

Further to the benefits of tracking configuration and diagnostics, The Famous Group also testified to the power of SP for experimentation in mixed reality. “SP facilitates an environment where workflows can be duplicated and separated, meaning experimental setups can be tested live,” said Beaumont. “Running experiments in parallel with the main production under the same infrastructure makes continuous innovation feasible without requiring additional resources or putting the main production at risk.” Therefore, SP proves to be a pivotal tool for the continuation of advancements within the mixed reality industry.

The Famous Group executed the two activations of the Carnival Resort Key concept seamlessly and with the possibility of scaling the campaign to more events and venues in the future. “The use of SP significantly reduced our production setup times, improved our calibration process and made for an overall more streamlined production process,” concluded Beaumont. “The Stage Precision team is always super responsive and, looking ahead, we’re enthusiastic to continue experimenting and innovating with SP at the heart of our learning tool kit.”

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