Deeper Dive—The tech inside Verizon Media’s new 5G video production studio

Verizon Media's new 5G studio includes a motion capture stage and technology that allows for augmented reality content to be broadcast in real-time. (Verizon Media/RYOT)

Verizon Media this week announced the opening of 5G production studio in Los Angeles in cooperation with the company’s immersive media firm, RYOT.

The company said its new studio will be equipped with mixed reality and motion capture capabilities designed for producing immersive and interactive media for consumers and advertisers.

Nigel Tierney, head of content for RYOT at Verizon Media, described the new studio as a hub for creating augmented reality, virtual reality and 360-degree videos—or what Verizon Media refers to as 5G content.

The production facility will feature an integrated 5G node and within the main 5G studio will include a motion capture solution that Verizon Media built with help from VICON and its Vantage mo-cap technology along with its technology that allows for real-time broadcasts of augmented reality content.

Tierney likened that AR technology to what the Weather Channel uses to produce 3D environments behind its on-air personalities.

Verizon Media and RYOT also built a volumetric capture stage at the studio. Tierney said his company thinks of all the above technologies as being able to work within 4G and wired networks.

But Tierney said the idea now and what 5G promises, and what Verizon Media is actually testing against, is being able to do things like streaming that mo-cap data in the cloud or being able to do things like split rendering, where a mobile device hands off rendering to the cloud so it can function simply as a display.

Verizon Media RYOT Studio
(Verizon Media/RYOT)

Moreover, Tierney said 5G’s real-time interactivity potential could get consumers more invested in content.

“We think the promise of 5G is that we can now have that personalization in real-time,” said Tierney. “We can change the environment you’re looking at or change the characters or change the storyline.”

Tierney said Verizon Media is also thinking about its new studio and technologies as a way to empower other creators to leverage 5G technologies. He said 5G takes away things that have historically inhibits artists, like rendering: Instead of having to change aspects like lighting, send it to the render farm and then wait to see the results.

“Now you can have that in real-time using game engine technology and 5G,” Tierney said.

Verizon Media is planning to show off some early work from its studio during its NewFronts presentation later this month. “Hypezilla,” a new show available on Yahoo Play, the company’s new gaming and entertainment app, is a weekly show focused on fashion, footwear and culture. It will feature an actor performing in real-time on a motion capture stage and appearing as an animated character named Hypezilla.

Verizon Media and RYOT also recently partnered with rapper Lil Dicky on an animated video and interactive website for his song “Earth.”

Alex Wallace, general manager of news, entertainment and studios at Verizon Media, said the new 5G studio, along with Verizon’s existing 360-degree, 4K-capable studio in New York City, is about innovating all forms of video and audio.

“Through this expansion and our 5G capabilities, we’re developing the next generation of content and driving innovation at the convergence of storytelling and technology,” said Wallace in a statement.