Volumetric Video Capture Suite

Anyone can create an amazing 3D hologram of themselves in the world’s first automated volumetric capture suite at the We The Curious Science Centre.

Zubr teamed up with science centre We The Curious to develop a unique immersive visitor attraction that invites families to create their own amazing, 4D holograms. Each visitor or group is recorded in a 10-second performance, which is then viewed on custom We the Curious virtual reality headsets as an animated 3D model. The system is fully automated and accommodates one capture per minute. The technology powering the suite was acquired by Magic Leap. Zubr are currently developing a range of new high quality volumetric video capture capabilities to launch in 2021.

The world’s first fully-automated volumetric capture suite.

A We the Curious virtual reality experience had been on the cards since Zubr and WtC started exploring possibilities to develop a unique immersive installation in 2015, with the exhibitions team eager to implement an experience similar to our Immersion Dance project. This would be a fresh installation built around the theme of experimentation, aimed at family audiences – and suitable for children as young as 8.

We the Curious Virtual reality volumetric video capture studio by Zubr
Zubr VR Lab Augmented Reality hologram headsets in We The Curious

VR headsets were to be used for viewing the resulting 3D content. However, a key challenge for using VR as a quality visitor attraction is the difficulty in keeping the hardware and the user experience running smoothly without the attention of staff – a major reason often cited by museums and visitor attractions for failing to introduce long-running VR installations. 

As such, a significant part of Zubr’s development work was the creation of a fully automated system to manage visitor flow, hardware operation and file transfer simultaneously. The system uses screen signage to direct visitors to the capture station and the headsets, manages the volumetric capture from three camera nodes, and even notifies users through the headset when their time allocation is up. Thus, the world’s first fully-automated volumetric video suite was born, and ran uninterrupted for two years!

Putting visitors at the centre of the content.

Exhibition designers at visitor attractions such as theme parks and science centres know that audience engagement with AV installations is significantly higher if they have a strong element of personalisation. This is an area that VR in particular lags behind other types of exhibits, with most content being pre-produced theatrics – often linear, and catered to a narrow audience segment.

Zubr VR Lab virtual dance capture at We The Curious science centre in Bristol
Zubr VR Lab volumetric video 4D scanning hologram augmented reality installation in We The Curious Science Centre

Volumetric capture presents the opportunity to capture not only your likeness, but your performance too – What better way to ensure a digital experience appeals to young and old, families, school groups, dancers and footballers alike? Our visitors have captured their unique dance moves, golf swings, slow-motion playfights and tiny dramas – with the anticipation of reliving it as a Star Wars-style 3D hologram through the unique We the Curious augmented reality headset.

More than 50,000 unique captures of visitors have been recorded as volumetric video through our system – a triumph for public engagement with an extremely inaccessible technology. All captures are automatically deleted after use.

Zubr is developing new volumetric video systems for 2021

The underlying technology powering the volumetric capture and rendering was provided by Mimesys, a startup which Zubr has been closely working with for more than five years. The quality of the Mimesys capture solution was such that the company was acquired by Magic Leap, and Zubr has since migrated to newer volumetric capture solutions.

The Zubr team are very proud of this groundbreaking exhibit we developed with We the Curious. As it was ahead of its time, its potential was not fully realised – but we have no doubt that the format will be revived, now there is a greater understanding of volumetric capture. As such, Zubr is working on new volumetric video offerings for 2021.