Microsoft's latest move to further secure its hold on the emerging mixed reality space comes in the form of two new Mixed Reality Capture Studios in San Francisco (the flagship studio) and London.
Announced on Oct. 25, the new studios will allow producers from a wide array of fields (advertising, entertainment, education, independent projects) to capture performances that can be turned into holographic content. According to Microsoft, after production at the studio, the content will be primed for use with augmented reality devices, in virtual reality environments, and on 2D platforms such as tablets and smartphones.
The two new studios follow the original Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio, based in Redmond, Washington, which has been churning out interactive content for about seven years. Current HoloLens users have already had the chance to enjoy some of the mixed reality experiences created at the Redmond location, including performances by Star Trek actor George Takei, singer Reggie Watts, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
Using a specially designed green screen stage, 106 cameras, and computer vision algorithms that produce textured 3D surfaces, the studios serve as an easy solution for producers looking to rapidly enter the mixed reality space without the technical hurdles involved in constructing their own, custom capture facilities.
Our goal is to reach and support partners, creative agencies, studios, application developers, and others to help them create the most immersive mixed reality content possible.
The studio in London is a licensed facility in collaboration with Dimension (a joint effort from Hammerhead and Digital Catapult), and Microsoft plans to license more Mixed Reality Capture Studios around the world with additional partners down the road.
Microsoft's Mixed Reality Capture Studio will also work in conjunction with a new Mixed Reality Academy. The academy was initially launched at the Redmond facility two years ago and will now be offered at the San Francisco location as well.
Along with access to the Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio, the Academy also allows developers and content creators (from beginner to expert level) to get hands-on training in producing mixed reality experiences.
Microsoft hasn't offered details on when additional locations will be rolled out, but with three dedicated, public-facing mixed reality production studios, the company is once again showing that its commitment to AR and VR isn't just an experiment with new technology. This is a long-term, big bet on the future, and that starts with working harder to get the general public involved and up to speed on the native tools of immersive content creation. This is a great start.