WarnerMedia leads the way in advanced use of virtual tools in Argentina and Chile
Brainstorm has supplied a number of virtual production equipments and solutions at the WarnerMedia’s facilities in Argentina and Chile, making the entity a pioneer in the advanced use of virtual tools in the Southern Cone and consolidating itself as the undisputed leader in the region in terms of generating high-level hyper-realistic television content, thanks to the symbiosis of the Spanish company’s advanced technology with the creativity of the channel’s qualified graphics department staff in Chile.
The project was initiated at the end of 2018 by VIDEOMEDIA, Brainstorm’s reseller in Chile, and executed by Warner Media in mid-2019. The regional guidelines have been led by Alexis Collao, Director of Broadcast Technology of WarnerMedia in Latin America, who, together with an interdisciplinary team, projected the use of virtual studios as a medium and long term solution as a mechanism to achieve greater efficiency in the ROI related to content production. In an effort between the Graphics Area (which already provided solutions to all areas of the channel), the Engineering Department and the collaboration of Brainstorm, two laboratories were set up over the last two years, with the aim of practising, evaluating the possibilities and tacitly comparing each virtual tool available on the market.
The first augmented and virtual reality lab was so successful that the channel’s management decided to allocate a budget to the project. The equipment supplied is identical and in both Chile and Argentina consists of three InfinitySet +Track with Unreal Engine, an InfinitySet Controller with Unreal Engine, two design systems with InfinitySet Edit with Aston Designer and Unreal Engine, and an OnDemand.
The graphics team focused on generating an efficient production pipeline for set development in Unreal Engine 4, assigning a team of five designers to generate multiple exterior and interior virtual sets. The approval of the budget and the purchase of Brainstorm’s solutions meant leveraging a figure that linked the real-time potential of Unreal Engine through photorealism and top-level blueprints with the operability of Infinity Set.
The second laboratory, started at the end of 2019, provided Warner Media with a range of possibilities to articulate the figure of this Unreal Engine 4 + InfinitySet integrator, which resulted in the first on-air broadcasts with a case of Fernanda Maciel and Congressional Data for CNN Chile and Chilevisión, in trackfree mode.
At the beginning of 2020, WarnerMedia defined the physical location where the virtual production set would be installed: a space that was destined for props storage, but was reassigned due to the good results of the second laboratory. In February, Brainstorm provided the Warner Media operators with training and installed the final equipment along with the integration of Ncam.
In October, WarnerMedia broadcasted for the first time a live preview of the Chile-Uruguay football match, using UE4 scenery, actors, cameras and screens integrated from InfinitySet and a camera with Ncam tracking, proving WarnerMedia’s leadership with its TNT Sports-Chilevisión channels. The impact was such that the heads of the drama area of teleseries have been very interested in this solution, expanding the future possibilities of the project.
“In the more than 2 years that we have been working with the implementation of virtual studios, we have advanced considerably until we have reached the maturity of the project, so that we have already launched programmes with virtual scenery on air with great success. In the USA, Virtual Studios have become an industry standard and this year in particular, one of the strategic priorities of WM’s International Technology area is to adopt these technologies locally, which is a challenge that we have been able to develop successfully in the region,” says Alexis Collao.
According to Sergio Amuchastegui, responsible for Brainstorm sales in the region, “at a strategic and commercial level we are very pleased with the results obtained so far by our business partners, which have been achieved with local support by César Núñez, a key element in this implementation. During the pandemic we have provided them with more than 15 Brainstorm Suite licenses across Chile and Argentina as extraordinary support so that those involved could work from home; we expect to be able to reactivate the second and third stage in 2021 according to the information WarnerMedia have provide us with”.
In the words of Borja Chirivella, Brainstorm’s Commercial Director for Latin America, ‘the key elements to successfully complete this regional project have been mainly the impulse and trust put in Brainstorm at all times by Alexis Collao and the great internal professional talent of the creative and technological areas, who have worked in complicity showing a total cohesion and understanding in the resolution of the obstacles that have appeared along the way and in the achievement of the common objectives’.