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Assimilate unveils end-to-end VR toolset and workflow

Assimilate unveils end-to-end VR toolset and workflow

Assimilate, a provider of real-time post-production and workflow tools, has revealed details of its new SCRATCH VR Suite, a professional Virtual Reality end-to-end workflow with an all-inclusive, real-time toolset for working naturally within a 360 environment. The suite covers dailies, conform, color grading, composting, finishing, and mastering in any format and any resolution.

The first public SCRATCH VR Suite demo will be at NAB 2016, the ASSIMILATE booth N8525 in the VR Pavilion, north hall.

The SCRATCH VR Suite includes the latest post-production tools and features of SCRATCH V8.4, and content creators will automatically be upgraded to SCRATCH 8.5 when it’s announced. SCRATCH VR also includes SCRATCH Web, and creative tools that are specific to the VR suite. SRATCH Web is a key component of the SCRATCH VR data-workflow and ecosystem, enabling real-time, on-line collaboration and review via Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR headsets.

“It’s clear that high-quality VR content is really taking off in real-world applications – science, technical and vocational training, education, and of course entertainment – and ASSIMILATE is at the forefront of this next revolution in visual content,” said Lucas Wilson, VR producer at ASSIMILATE. “While the excitement is in the content, it’s the behind-the-scenes software and hardware that give filmmakers and content creators the needed tools to make quality VR happen. Working in a new technology like VR can be complex, and the SCRATCH VR Suite simplifies the workflow so that creators can stay focused on the content while maintaining high levels of productivity and quality.”

Jeff Edson, CEO at ASSIMILATE, said: “The SCRATCH VR tools have proven to be very useful within a VR pipeline, and have been actively used as part of jobs with Samsung, Reebok, Momofuku, FOX, and many others. VR is a new visual realm that requires the best advanced VR technology, and that’s what we provide.”


Get a sneak peak of the VR basics here and then see all the new features at NAB 2016.

For a limited time, the SCRATCH VR suite is being offered at $995 US – a $1,995

New SCRATCH VR Suite creative tools

In recent months ASSIMILATE has extended the capabilities of SCRATCH and SCRATCH Web with a series of tools and functions to offer a streamlined VR workflow. A basic set of these tools is available in the standard versions of SCRATCH, SCRATCH Play and SCRATCH Web. The new SCRATCH VR suite includes these basic tools, as well as the new advanced grade and composite tools.

Control panel for Oculus Rift – All the Play controls used to browse through your timeline become available in the Oculus display as an overlay on top of the image. Use the mouse pointer to operate the controls while still looking in all directions of the image. This way you can start, stop, jump forward, back, or browse through your timeline without removing the Oculus headset or having another person operate the Play controls. Many colorists are able to operate their color panel blindly. In this case, the Oculus Playback control allows you to do the basic grade of your production without ever taking off the Oculus.

Pan 360 framing controls – New Yaw, Pitch and Roll controls to re-orient a 360-equirectangular shot. This allows you to control the point-of-interest of a shot, making sure it is in the middle. When editing multiple shots one after the other, you can ensure the point-of-interest of each shot is in the same direction. Examples of how to use the controls:

  • Create a pre-defined path in a 360 video. So even though the end-viewer will still be able to view in all directions, you, as a creator, can already define a path that the viewer will follow.
  • Stabilize a shot (future builds to include linking the tracker/stabalizer directly to these parameters).

Effects wrapping – When applying an effect, such as a blur or clarity, SCRATCH samples pixels from the opposite side to calculate the effect on the left / right side of an image. This prevents a seam in the middle of the image when viewing it in a 360 projection.

360 repeat option – When the canvas falls over the left or right edge of the main image, it will be repeated on the opposite side. The shape will automatically wrap in a 360 projection without any seam. Note that the handles of the shape are only drawn on one side of the canvas; the outline of the selected image is also drawn around its counterpart.

Pan 360 – Use the equirectangular-2D effects node to blend any 2D element into your 360 projection, or to include a text, logo, effect (e.g. lens flare) or graphic element (of different size than the source image) neatly into the 360 scene. Use the Yaw, Pitch and Roll controls to position the element into your 360 scene. You can further tweak the position and perspective of the element by using the canvas parameters of the layer of the element on the color frame.

This quite easily evolves into a substantial composite tree, which gives substantial controls for positioning and blending in the element. Product updates will make this even more straightforward with a less complex composite tree.

End users appeared to throw their weight behind the new software. Cliff Plumer, president of Jaunt Studios, said: “We are pleased to see the world of high-end post-production starting to create the tools necessary for finishing true Cinematic VR. With the SCRATCH VR Suite, ASSIMILATE provides a unique set of finishing and review tools which have been used on several Jaunt productions,” said . “The world of VR is exploding, and SCRATCH VR is at the forefront of providing creative artists the real-time tools they need to get the job done.”

Leandro Marini, founder and supervising colorist of Local Hero, a high-end post facility in Santa Monica, is a pioneer of post-production for VR media. In early 2015, his studio developed a VR workflow in SCRATCH and did the color grading and finishing of “Kaiju Fury”, a short-film production of New Deal Studios and JauntVR.  Marini has completed many high-profile VR projects, such as “Scream Queens” VR for FOX, and is currently in post-production for a new VR project by an A-List director to be released later this year.

“SCRATCH has proven to be the most effective and powerful post toolset and workflow for me, and I’ve found it to be the same case for VR content. And SCRATCH Web is a first-class review tool that streamlines client and technical reviews, which can otherwise be a time-consuming process,” said Marini. “With the SCRATCH VR Suite, I now have a complete end-to-end VR workflow that enables me to be highly productive and to create high-quality results for my clients, giving me a competitive edge.”




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The Editor is a technology journalist with 15 years experience of covering telecoms and media.

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