Virtual event production company, The Famous Group, are well-known for creating memorable virtual fan experiences. Harnessing the power of Stage Precision’s SP software, The Famous Group has stepped into a new era of virtual event control, thanks to SP’s camera calibration tools, which they recently deployed on projects at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We’ve been working with the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC at the Bank of America stadium since 2022,” recalls Erik Beaumont, Head of Mixed Reality at The Famous Group. “Unlike other projects, our work with these teams is ongoing, with mixed reality being used permanently. The mixed reality Panther has become an important part of games for the Carolina Panthers, and the need to recalibrate the system before every match was becoming a challenge in terms of resources and peoplepower.”
Before switching to SP, The Famous Group were using stYpe camera tracking, fed directly into Pixotope calibration software to manage the mixed reality elements of the productions for both teams. “This was very hands-on, and a task that needed to be repeated every game,” continues Beaumont. “We had trained the stadium’s in-house team to do this, but our team still needed to return for frequent readjustments as things happen and cameras get moved. This was not ideal - we needed a long-term solution.”
Using SP’s calibration tools, The Famous Group were able to set up an alignment system that the average user can calibrate. “We have used the calibration tools in SP to create a system that is calibrated against the in-stadium calibration board,” explains Beaumont. “Simply put, the camera team put a video board graphic on the screen that can recalibrate the cameras through a simple scan of the video boards. This successfully recalibrates the system to a high-precision level.”
Although the initial set-up required the expertise of The Famous Group, on-site visits have been greatly reduced and the in-house team now has control over their virtual production system. The workflow takes in stYpe camera data and sends it directly to SP. The calibrated data then goes into Pixotope, which outputs the mixed reality content. In the case of the Carolina Panthers, the content is a giant Panther, which appears to scale the stadium and stalk opposing team players during the football game.
Not only is this great news for teams at the Bank of America, but also represents a step forward for other permanent virtual production installations. “This is a huge milestone for us that makes a lot of other permanent install projects viable,” says Beaumont. “Our on-site support requirements are minimised, and in-house teams benefit from more control of their own productions. This workflow can be transferred to any stadium and for all kinds of events, as long as there are video boards and cameras, it’s just a case of figuring out the content.”
The Famous Group have found Stage Precision’s SP to be extremely fast, reliable and precise, with seamless integrations of leading virtual and augmented reality technology. “Through the implementation of SP, we’ve transformed our work at the Bank of America Stadium,” concludes Beaumont. “The overhead has completely changed and we’re looking forward to implementing these powerful calibration tools on future projects.”