With virtual set design, it pays to hire a professional

If imitation really is the highest form of flattery, what should we make of it when, in addition to the imitation being embarrassingly poor, someone is trying to profit from it?

turbosquid
A poor quality, knock-off “Virtual News Studio” model for sale on Turbosquid.

Recently spotted for sale on Turbosquid, is this tacky imitation of the ITV News set. Rather than pick the fake apart, I’ll just include a comparison shot (below) from the actual ITV News set, designed and prepared by a team of dedicated and experienced professionals.

ITV News virtual set
The ITV News virtual set. An original set, prepared by a team of highly experienced designers (Lightwell, BDA/Jago Design/Lambie Nairn) together with a fantastic client, ITN.

The one detail I will mention is that the fake model uses 10,000 polygons, whereas the original newsroom model uses only 62 polygons, incorporates pre-baked lighting textures, and can actually function as a virtual set within VizRT – just one of the multitude of reasons why it pays to use a professional.

MUTV virtual set designs have now been added to Lightwell.tv

The lightwell webiste has been updated, and now includes images from the MUTV Thursday Focus set designs that I completed last summer.

MUTV Thursday Focus virtual set designs for use with the Newtek Tricaster

This was one of a number of projects that have been waiting to be added to the site. Still to be added are the digital backdrops for ABC News in Australia, and the Newtek Tricaster based virtual sets for the Met Office.

 

Met Office Virtual Sets

I am currently working on the design and production of a batch of virtual sets for the Met Office. The Met Office, based in Exeter, have their own studio facilities equipped with the Newtek Tricaster. The pre-packaged sets that come with the Tricaster are poor and overly generic, so the Met Office approached Lightwell to deliver a superior quality, bespoke solution. The final versions of these sets are due to go live later this summer, but The Met Office were so pleased with some of the original concepts I produced, that they have already began using these in some of their online webcasts (see above).

The final versions of these virtual sets will feature a fully resolved design and be of higher resolution and finished to a greater level of accuracy and detail.

ABC Breakfast News and ABC 7PM News

ABC Breakfast, which went live this morning, January 27, 2014 and features a pair of animated backdrops that I designed and prepared. The scene is a hybrid view combining architecture from Melbourne and Sydney and a large chunk of the Yarra River.

Prepared in parallel with the Breakfast backdrops was a version for the 7PM news bulletins from Melbourne. This is a more straightforward cityscape view of Melbourne.

Both projects utilise the work of local photographer, Ollie West, to which we applied extensive manipulation, including full sky and digital water replacements and the addition of animated elements including cars and lights.

These will be the first of a batch of designs that Lightwell are working on for ABC throughout the first quarter of 2014.