Creative Technology develops AR virtual events platform

Its Smart Stage setup allows planners to design a 3D virtual environment that achieves the look and function of live events in a downsized studio setting with skeletal crew

Creative Technology's Smart Stage setup enables event planners to host virtual events that helps the speaker to interact with 50 'live' audience members in real time. Credit: Creative Technology

HONG KONG - Specialist audio visual provider Creative Technology has launched its Virtual Event Studio space. Most of its studios are located in North America and Europe. This new virtual event platform with augmented reality capabilities aims to achieve the look and function of live events.

In Asia Pacific, it is has begun building studios in Hong Kong and plans to expand to Singapore, Japan and China soon. In Hong Kong, the company's Alpha Studio will be ready by the end of May to hold simple events and demonstrations for clients to get used to the technology. It is building another studio called Studio 2 at its new premises in Ap Lei Chau that can host a larger recording area along with camera tracking, which will be ready in early July.

According to Mr Justin Choy, managing director of Creative Technology Hong Kong, the company has confirmed bookings for its Virtual Event Studio.

"Some bookings were live events that have now pivoted to an online virtual event, while others are new events that have been designed around a virtual setting. In terms of setup, we have simple ones that use LED and static cameras, to fully immersive 3D environments with camera tracking and remote participation," he said.

The company, which has been providing specialist AV equipment for live corporate, exhibition, sports and entertainment events for over 30 years, offers various setups, including Smart Stage, which allows planners to design virtual events to "look like a true live event that people are used to", said Mr Choy, who demonstrated the platform's features during a webinar organised by PCMA last week.

"There are a lot of different levels of virtual events. A simple setup can just involve two cameras, green screen and good quality video. But one way to keep your audience engaged is to show them something in a way they have not seen before - something that is more exciting than a flat background. One way is to do it in this virtual studio environment," he said.

With augmented reality, planners can customise their stage setup and virtual presentation screen to display content such as keynote presentations, videos, 2D or 3D graphics, social media feeds and live video conferencing tools.

Up to 50 'live' audience members will be able to be featured within the virtual environment itself, and the event itself can be broadcast live on channels such as YouTube and offer an integrated chat function.

Events can be fully operated from the Virtual Event Studios with just the talent, a producer and camera operators in the room, while other operators are hosted in an adjacent room, away from the recording space. Credit: Creative Technology

The studio environment will also enable event speakers to engage in real time with remote contributors and virtual audiences through studio screens that show their audiences, live feeds and presentation notes.

Likewise, virtual participants will be able to 'move' within the virtual environment on their own, similar to how the visual perspective in first-person video games is controlled by the user.

Addressing safety concerns

Another key concern is being able to carry on with events with minimised risk. Physical live events can be turned into a virtual experience that is run in a downsized studio setting with skeletal crew.

Events can be fully operated from the Virtual Event Studios with just the talent, a producer and camera operators in the room, while other operators are hosted in an adjacent room away from the recording space. In addition to the recording space, the studio also hosts its own holding room and toilet. It has developed protocols to disinfect the space and minimise risk of infection to both our clients and our staff.

For planners planning to run virtual events, Mr Choy's parting advice was: "The most important thing for companies right now is to stay relevant and keep sending your key message to your customers. You need to do that in a way that is engaging and interesting for your customers."

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