What an exciting time to be alive and thriving in the latest and greatest technology fields. Using a combination of OBS, Unity, and Scatter’s Depthkit Studio we were able to help the 3rd Annual Polys WebXR Awards pull off something monumental for our time: a fully live streaming volumetric captured mixed reality awards show broadcast! Say that 10x fast!
We have had the honor of being a crucial linchpin in the overall design and aesthetics of the Polys WebXR Awards since their inception three years ago. Ben Erwin, founder and producer of the Polys, is not only a good friend but an admirable advocate of the greater WebXR community. Along with our wonderful director Ginna Lambert and a slew of amazing and tireless individuals (see our shout outs at the end) this year’s broadcast stepped far and above its two predecessors by combining live in-person presentations, live volumetric streams, live teleconference calls, and an actual physical holographic trophy presented to the winners. I have to admit even the team was impressed with ourselves on this one!
The XR Stage
The actual in-person show took place in Brooklyn, NY at ZeroSpace — an immersive production studio of cutting edge visual technology and a tech nerd’s dream playground. The live audience was seated in front of a giant gorgeous LED panel XR stage with full emissive graphics enveloping the wraparound walls as well as the entire floor. Presenters and award recipients would come up as per the usual award show format, however there was a twist which is where we come into the picture.
The Volumetric Stage
Some of the broadcast segments were delivered not in person but as live volumetric holograms streaming directly from the Scatter Depthkit Studio into a Unity world that we designed then piped back out through the in-game cameras to OBS and finally out to the live feed. We created moving camera angles to show off the full 3D effect of the volumetric scans and even a working portal to allow guests to seamlessly step in and out of our virtual stage. It was an amazing ballet of timing and showmanship which culminated in an incredibly novel and new experience for the masses.
The AltspaceVR Funeral
Midway through the event we sent the broadcast directly into AltspaceVR to our own Polys Red Carpet Theater world where folks were gathering not only to watch a live stream of the show but to mourn the loss of a truly great platform which is sadly now only a part of history itself. BRCvr cofounder Athena Demos gave a heartfelt eulogy following the precession of a glass-front casket containing the original robot avatar, powered down of course. Across the top of the casket was draped a black flag with the AltspaceVR logo embroidered onto it. As the casket floated gently down the black carpet aisle and came to rest, standing and facing the crowd among an arrangement of flowers and candles, the sounds of sniffles could be heard throughout. It was a very touching moment and we’re thankful to have been able to facilitate and include it into the broadcast.
The Holographic Trophies
What would an award show be without trophies for the winners? In years past they have been simply 3D models minted as NFTs and given to recipients but this year things got physical. Thanks to Looking Glass the Polys were able to hand out these clever little boxes that display a holographic trophy engraved with the winner’s name on the front. The display slowly fades from full trophy to nameplate closeup. You can even turn the box and see the whole thing rotate inside. How fun! Here’s an embedded example:
The Polys Team
Of course none of this would have been possible without the combined efforts of quite a number of talented and dedicated people. We likely wouldn’t even have the opportunity to play with such cool tech without ZeroSpace producer Elena Piech having our backs. James George and Cory Allen from the Scatter team were absolutely phenomenal to work with and went above and beyond to help us integrate their Depthkit Studio into our Unity build. Sophia Moshasha and Julie Smithson did an immaculate job with hosting the show and interviewing guests. Our new friend Briar Prestige was there in person to present the WebXR Platform of the Year. Author and VR event host Helen Lundström Erwin enchanted each arriving and helped with preparations and post production. We even had rockstar neuroscientist filmmaker Rolando Masis-Obando himself behind the cameras running the live teleprompters!
Additional thanks to Alan Smithson, Karen Alexander, Lauren Moulder, Paige Dansiger, Deborah Worrell, and Robin Moulder-McComb, all of whom have contributed to the success of this production in one way or another. Also a special shoutout to Kiira Benzing of Double Eye Studios for an amazing dance performance. Surely we are forgetting some names on this list as the team was quite large and expansive but know that a lot of dedicated individuals worked tirelessly to coordinate and execute this feat. We are proud to be among such pioneers in the field and cannot wait for the next leap forward!