New $5m augmented reality studio in S'pore is first of its kind in South-east Asia

The new studio features walls covered in LED panels that show realistic backgrounds. PHOTO: OCEANUS MEDIA GLOBAL

SINGAPORE - Local media tech company Oceanus Media Global (OMG) has launched a production studio equipped with technology similar to what was used to create virtual sets for the Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian.

The walls of the $5 million studio in Ubi Road are covered by LED panels displaying realistic backgrounds created and rendered in Unreal Engine 4, a 3D graphics tool that is widely used in video game and film production.

The movements of physical cameras in the studio are synced up with virtual cameras, creating the illusion that someone standing in front of the LED wall is inside the virtual environment.

OMG is a subsidiary of Oceanus Group, which is primarily a food tech business.

Speaking at the studio's launch on Thursday (May 5), OMG chief executive Nick Tan said the technology can be used in various media productions, including corporate events such as conferences, presentations or training courses; live entertainment events such as concerts and festivals; and film, TV and music video production.

The studio is the first of its kind in South-east Asia, he added.

"Our studio will serve as a platform for clients to get a taste of what 'futurealistic' experiences could be like," Mr Tan said.

"The launch of our Futurealistic Studio will raise the bar for immersive media productions in Singapore and we are excited to be at the forefront of our industry."

The company on Thursday showed off several demos of the tech available at the studio, including a cinematic scene set in a forest; a presentation featuring 3D data visualisations; a dancing digital avatar controlled by an actor in a motion capture suit backstage; and cars being assembled in a factory.

Mr Tan said the company is in talks with several clients, including for an upcoming local TV series and a local musical artist for a music video.

OMG has previously worked on several large scale productions involving augmented reality elements, including last year's National Day Parade.

Other past clients include gaming peripherals maker Razer, which engaged OMG to produce its RazerCon digital convention in 2020 and last year, and local rapper Shigga Shay, who performed live-streamed "mixed reality" virtual concerts last year while wearing a motion capture suit that translated his dance moves onto a digital avatar.

OMG also used its new studio to produce a virtual annual general meeting (AGM) for its parent company, which was live-streamed online to shareholders last Friday.

The studio is the first of its kind in South-east Asia, said OMG chief executive Nick Tan. PHOTO: OCEANUS MEDIA GLOBAL

During the AGM, Oceanus Group's chief executive Peter Koh delivered a presentation and participated in a panel discussion with the group's directors in a virtual environment that resembled an apartment built on a floating platform, with waves and mountains in the background.

At the launch on Thursday, OMG also announced its intention to grow its current team of 50 to at least 75 over the next two years. It is looking to add jobs mostly related to producing immersive content.

Covid-19 measures during the pandemic made virtual experiences a necessity, but Mr Tan said hybrid content and immersive digital events are here to stay, and audiences will still be interested in them even as live events make a comeback.

"There was interest in virtual immersive content even before the pandemic, but it was more like a dream or something on a wish list," he said.

"The pandemic accelerated the technology and now we have more people actually doing it and expecting it. This will become essential for any kind of event, because people will expect to have some form of immersive or virtual production."

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