Dr Brian Collins (IBM UK Scientific Centre) gave a seminar at the University of Bradford on 29 January and described recent work at IBM in association with the BBC Tomorrow's World team. A Virtual
Studio was created which enabled programme makers to create imaginative sets with limitless perspectives, sweeping camera shots, and where the quality of the imagery was almost indistinguishable from the real thing at a fraction of the cost. Tomorrow's World viewers saw the result when presenter Howard Stableford stepped on to a 'virtual set' inside a Roman baths, in which he sees himself in a pastiche of Julius Caesar and Up Pompeii.
In reality Stableford was filmed in a conventional TV studio, but the set was created artificially using technology which combined computer graphics and a motion controlled camera. Unlike other attempts at virtual sets, where only the virtual set, or the actor, or the camera is in motion, this technique allows simultaneous motion of all three. The resulting sequence of just over two minutes was broadcast on BBC TV as part of the Tomorrow's World - Christmas Special on 22 December 1995.
Dr Brian Collins