Biggest-Ever Deployment of Realtime Motion-Tracking as Marvel Universe LIVE! Touring Arena Show Heads Out on Tour
Last Updated: August 15, 2014 2:49 pm GMT
(Toronto, Canada--August 15, 2014) Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man and 20 other action heroes are all coming to an arena near you – and as a part of Feld Entertainment’s "Marvel Universe LIVE!" CAST BlackTrax motion-tracking solution is bringing these favorite Marvel comic characters to life as never before.
Marvel Universe LIVE! is out on tour this month after debuting in Tampa, FL, premiering at New York City’s Barclays Center on Wednesday, August 13 and visiting 85 North American cities in its first two years before coming to the United Kingdom,with other global destinations to be announced. Produced by Feld Entertainment, this visually stunning multimedia production sees the Avengers, Spider-Man and members of the X-Men in a live production for the first time – doing battle with some of their most notorious foes, in a show designed to wow audiences of all ages.
As you might expect, spectacular stunts, high-tempo action sequences, pyrotechnics and jaw-dropping special effects are all part and parcel of the show’s design. But Marvel Universe LIVE! and its extraordinary visual impact is amplified by BlackTrax.
BlackTrax Realtime Motion Tracking Solution
BlackTrax is the spontaneous means to the end -- it delivers realtime precise X,Y,Z so the downstream technologies can deliver WOW – on time, on target.
BlackTrax is the multi-award-winning realtime tracking technology solution that delivers precise streaming 3D & 6D positional data to electro-mechanical controllers for targeting the connected automated robotic technologies already used extensively in event and entertainment production, and houses of worship. Using proprietary IR and RF, BlackTrax delivers dynamic streaming positional data with up to six degrees of freedom (x, y, z, plus roll, pitch & yaw) to 3D & spatial audio, automated lighting, multimedia servers, and robotic cameras – all at the same time, in realtime.
Any object or performer tagged with the FCC and CE certified BT Beacon (patent pending), which comprises a gyroscope, accelerometer, and tiny wireless radio, to which an IR LED is attached (The Tracking Point), is tracked inside the predefined space at over 100 frames per second by multiple overhead BTCameras. The orientation of the object/performer is communicated by RF directly to the BTServer. The BTBeacon’s inertia measurement unit provides redundant 3D positioning via its tiny radio transmitter should the IR line-of-sight between the BTBeacon and BTCams become obfuscated.
BlackTrax at Marvel Universe LIVE!
MODE Studios’ Bob Bonniol was hired by Feld Entertainment to handle video content and system design for the show, and whose previous live-event credits include Blue Man Group in Las Vegas and Electric Zoo NYC.
“We knew from the beginning that we needed to track scenic elements and characters to create the convincing scenic locations and combat effects that would amaze the audience… I felt confident from the start that BlackTrax would be the answer,” comments Bob Bonniol.
The reason for Bonniol’s enthusiasm is not hard to see. By attaching BlackTrax Beacons to cast members, Bonniol and his team use the dynamic positional data of each Tracking Point (there can be nearly 200 unique Tracking Points onstage at any one time; each has an unique tag number used to establish a relationship with downstream technology). Tracking Points provide accurate target data for the d3 media servers used to drive the production’s projection-mapped backdrop.
The BlackTrax and d3 development teams worked together for this ambitious show, taking d3’s existing advanced projection simulation toolkit and integrating BlackTrax as to track data across enormous resolutions with extraordinary accuracy and limited latency, while still bemanageable by the user. d3 servers were also used for parallel series of scene changes in show lighting. Indeed, BlackTrax, working through Martin Professional Consoles, made it possible to use automated lights that pull zoom and iris (rather like spotlights) to track performers automatically from places where it was imprudent or unsafe to put follow spot operators.
“Marvel Universe LIVE! has characters flying through the air, speeding on motorcycles, flipping across the space, performing car stunts and engaging in martial-arts fights. We needed a solution that could keep up with super-hero speeds. Only BlackTrax was up to the job.”
Bruce Freeman, Chairman, CAST Group, believes industry gurus are only beginning to imagine what the BlackTrax Solution can do: “Early adopters like Feld Entertainment realize they can leverage new technology for competitive advantage and profit -- change the way they deliver their business to set themselves apart, which is exactly what we see first with Marvel Universe LIVE!.
“BlackTrax is about combining creativity + artistry + technology to deliver an intimate, totally immersive experience for each person in the audience. Industry veterans like Bob Bonniol are thinking outside the box and using BlackTrax to deliver content never attempted previously, you know the revolution in the entertainment production industry has begun.”
As well as enhancing WOW, BlackTrax increases the operational efficiency of a large-scale arena show tour such as Marvel Universe LIVE! that depends heavily on the prowess of its technical team that brings rigorous stopwatch process to setups and strikes – the only way to pull-off the rigorous touring schedule. As Freeman explains, “BlackTrax pays for itself. On one hand, BlackTrax is a vital tool that shaves hours off setup time by using its proprietary automated calibration functions for numerous BlackTrax cameras, d3 media servers and projectors, plus more than 75 automated lights paired to BlackTrax. It is vital they share the same 0,0,0 for delivery accuracy.
“On the other hand, BlackTrax’s realtimetracking mitigates endless hours pre-cuing, then rehearsing the artists to hit the “xs” on the nanosecond, then overnight recuing sessions. Replacing repeatability with spontaneity unleashes creativity for artists and designers – look at Marvel Universe LIVE!’s complex fight sequences, which become seriously more spectacular because of the choreography with lighting and multimedia special effects.
“Feld gets it, they did it, and they raised the bar, and that inspires us.”
While it might be a stretch to assert that BlackTrax has actually enhanced the special powers of Marvel’s super-heroes, there is no doubt that Marvel Universe LIVE! is the most thrilling deployment yet of this ground-breaking event solution – and that many more exciting episodes of this particular technology story are still to be written and performed.
Video: Marvel Universe LIVE! Super Heroes in Production:
Marvel Universe LIVE! Trailer:
Marvel Universe LIVE! will captivate audiences with an authentic and original story that brings more than 25 Marvel characters together on one epic quest. The story is framed around the battle over the Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe, that has been shattered into pieces by the mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into thewrong hands. With the pieces scattered across the globe, Thor’s villainous brother, Loki, devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat thatcould not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe.
For a complete list of tour dates, make sure to head over to the show’s Marvel Universe LIVE! website (http://www.marveluniverselive.com) to see which city the Marvel worldwill invade next.
For an inside look at the audition process click here:
For a complete cast list and more information, visit the Marvel Universe LIVE! website (http://www.marveluniverselive.com) and stay current on the latest developments through social media, including:
About Feld Entertainment
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences thatlift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment's productions have appeared in more than 75 countries on six continents and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Nuclear Cowboyz®, AMSOIL Arenacross, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Disney On Ice and Disney Live! More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at http://www.feldentertainment.com. More information on Marvel Universe LIVE! is available at http://www.marveluniverselive.com.
About d3 Technologies
d3 is the world’s first fully integrated visual production system for video professionals, combining a real-time 3D stage visualizer, timeline, video playback engine and projection mapping tools into one product. d3’s unique integrated workflow assists the designer at all stages of the project, from pitch through development to final delivery. For more information contact Judith Hornman at d3 Technologies: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.d3technologies.com
About CAST BlackTrax
Since 1994, CAST has delivered solutions to and for the entertainment production industry and special events and meeting industry. Based in Toronto Canada, we deliver to the world!
CAST BlackTrax is the multi-award-winning realtime tracking technology solution that delivers precise streaming 3D & 6D positional data to controllers for targeting the connected automated robotic technologies already used extensively in event and entertainment production, and houses of worship. Using proprietary IR and RF, BlackTrax delivers dynamic streaming positional data with six degrees of freedom (x, y, z, plus roll, pitch & yaw) to 3D & spatial audio, automated lighting, multimedia servers, and robotic cameras – all at the same time, in realtime. BlackTrax is a complete 'tracking solution', whichmeans either CAST or a BTExpert will ensure it is properly designed and installed to deliver optimal results, as well as provide onsite training and ongoing support. http://www.blacktrax.ca