Microsoft has opened a new studio to enable customers to create holograms that can be used for mixed reality experiences, from 2D screens to fully immersive VR.
There are now three Microsoft ‘mixed reality’ video creation studios to help kickstart holographic content for its augmented reality HoloLens headset and its Windows 10 partner’s virtual reality headsets.
The company has opened a new studio at its Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco which is home to the flagship Mixed Reality Capture Studio and its Mixed Reality Academy. It already has capture studios at its Redmond headquarters and one in London, run by Dimension Studios.
The studios aim to help partners, creative agencies, studios, application developers, and others to create the best immersive mixed reality content.
They arrive as Microsoft expands its Windows 10 Fall Creators Update rollout, which brings support for mixed reality content that can be viewed through VR headsets from Dell, HP, Acer, Lenovo, and Samsung. Microsoft also acquired AltspaceVR to support its VR and AR strategy.
“Our goal is to make high-quality holographic captures accessible for mixed reality creators everywhere,” Microsoft said in a blog announcing the initiative.
Microsoft plans to open more capture studios around the world under licensing agreements similar to its partnership with Dimension Studios. This expands on the first Mixed Reality Academy Microsoft opened in Redmond two years ago, which has captured “thousands of performances”, including from astronaut Buzz Aldrin and beatboxer Reggie Watts.
The studios will need some heavy duty data storage equipment. As it notes in an FAQ, its studios uses 106 cameras to capture performances. Its computer vision algorithms then create 3D surfaces of whatever the cameras capture. The camera system outputs a whopping 10GB of raw footage per second. It then compresses the holographic video for easier transmission and viewing. Microsoft says it can compress play back down to about the same bandwidths as HD video.
The new San Francisco studio is capable of capturing around an hour of continuous footage, whereas the Redmond facility is limited to about four minutes, followed by downtime to store data.
It’s not virtual reality (VR) versus augmented reality (AR). It’s a spectrum from VR to actual reality. That makes sense to industry wonks, but it could leave consumers in a confused reality.
Microsoft’s latest Fast Ring Windows 10 Fall Creators Update build for PCs includes a number of feature updates, especially around Mixed Reality support.
Microsoft has hired Elizabeth Hamren, the former CMO of Oculus VR at Facebook, to run a new dedicated Mixed Reality marketing team.