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The Round: AR platform safe guards future of live theatre

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

The impact of the pandemic saw theatres shutdown almost overnight, leaving actors and producers out of work and audiences marooned at home. With a background in theatre and dance production, Pip and Tom from Reality Check Productions were awarded a project, funded through Innovate UK. The aim To create a live theatre experience from home by building an Augmented Reality (AR) platform that production companies would use to continue theatre performances whilst in lockdown – and beyond. Motion capture would track actors performing from their homes with the data being streamed to a centralised location before being broadcast live into audiences homes via mobile devices. The solution Working alongside Figment Productions, James from Copper Candle and a team of freelancers, Target3D were sub-contracted, offering in-kind management of the mocap aspect. As a test bed for the live streaming, an initial shoot took place at StudioT3D where live motion capture data was captured and cleaned. To get the best possible performance an optical, rather than inertial system was used.

As lockdown restrictions lessened, it became possible to do a live performance with actors in the studio that was beamed live to audiences at home. The resulting software opens up this option for theatres – to use their performance spaces in a largely normal sense, but with the audiences safely at home, although still with a live, unique experience. By driving localised data in a real-time engine audiences experience this live via animation with all the nuances of a live performance – with no two performances being the same.

"In the context of theatre, The Round is unique and also very in the now, in terms of what's currently happening with theatre and live events,” Target3D’s Rob Jefferies commented. “The Round also safe-guards the future of theatre and enables the arts to be shared further than previously possible."

The result As a proof of concept, the platform was proven. Target3D continue to support Reality Check Productions through the next stages of development for The Round, bespoke software enabling the creation and distribution of live digital performance in Augmented Reality. Speaking at the end of the first stage of the project, Pip from Reality Check Productions shared, "Working with Target3D has been transformative for our product development. Not only were they able to provide us with the facilities we needed to test our proof-of-concept, but their in-house team of mocap experts supported our software build and their expertise in rigging new systems has enabled us to refine our model for scaling the product to get theatre-makers up and down the country creating their own digital theatre productions on The Round. We're hoping to work closely with Target3D in the future to grow our product and services." Target3D are specialists in motion capture service work and host London's newest large-volume mocap studio. Get in touch to find out how we can help get your project off the ground.



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