Directors of Happy Camp, a program produced by Hunan Satellite TV Station, decided in late June to invite relatives of four program hosts to appear on the show as a way to highlight the 20th anniversary special edition of the program. Digital techniques were required to renew the youth of the presenters’ mothers in the blink of an eye and fulfill interaction between the mothers and the presenters on the stage through front-projected holographic display. Recording of the program started on July 4th, only two weeks after the decision was made.
The virtual production department at Hunan quickly assembled a team to begin the production process. Performance of characters was simulated real-time in the Unreal engine by adopting avatar creation from body scan data. Then, through rendering and image matting, characters appeared on the stage through front-projected holographic display to interact with the presenters as well as fulfilled the real-time broadcasting in the system.
Dison Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd., Vicon’s Distributor in China, undertook the motion capture work of this urgent task. Zipeng XIA, manager of Dison’s Technical Support Department, explained: “The technical difficulty of the capture work is that we have to get the most fluent real-time motion effect with very little time for system preparation. We have to capture four characters within a 7*7 ㎡ site, with no crush or dropped frames. Thanks to the perfect support of the live subject calibration, unbreakable solving and Unreal engine of Vicon Shogun, we were able to cut the time for initial preparation work by at least 75% while meeting the standards of the station for live broadcast. Additionally, it proves that Vicon Shogun could play a more important role as a tool for real-time animation for virtual production in the Broadcast and Television industry.
“It’s a technical breakthrough for our station, and it enlightened people in the Chinese Broadcast and Television industry on creation with new methods which we have been seeking for a very long time. Thanks to the mature technical application of Vicon and the solid technical support of Dison’s motion capture team, we were able to make this edition perfect for our audience. We hope that Vicon will develop more techniques which benefit the Chinese Broadcast and Television industry and we also expect more in-depth local cooperation with Dison.” Said Di YU, supervisor of virtual programs of Hunan Station.
Background of the Program:
Happy Camp is the leader of entertainment TV programs in China, it has 10,436,593 followers on Weibo, Chinese Facebook. Its single episode viewership record is 48,692,200 and it has won numerous awards since its first episode broadcasted in 1997. It was described by the New Weekly as “the most influential TV program in China for 15 years” in 2005, and it was the highest rated entertainment TV program in China in 2006. As of July 2017, Happy Camp has broken four Guinness World Records including the “Single Episode of An Entertainment Television Program with the Largest Audience”.
About Hunan Satellite TV Station:
China Hunan Satellite TV Station is the most authoritative TV institute in Hunan Province. Its first program was transmitted through the Asia II Satellite on January 1st, 1997 with the channel call sign of Hunan Satellite TV Station.