Big Blue Technology Co. Ltd is a subsidiary of Blue Focus Group, one of China’s Top 500 Fortune enterprises and a prominent marketing technology group. Big Blue Technology holds a significant position in the Blue Focus Group Metaverse business segment and specialises in virtual production technologies, innovative Metaverse technology, and cutting-edge extended reality solutions. In early September, Big Blue Technology proudly welcomed over 400 guests to the grand re-opening of its second virtual production studio in China, BLUE BOX xR Studio. Based in Beijing, the upgraded studio offers a wide range of applications, from advertising to TV productions to broadcast to xR virtual product launches and more. It features a state-of-the-art LED setup, including ROE Visual LED screens and industry-standard Brompton Technology LED processing.
Located in Chaoyang District, Beijing’s largest and most populous urban area, BLUE BOX xR Studio spans 1,400m2 and is equipped with dressing rooms, a lounge, and other essential facilities, including convenient on-site accommodation for production crews. The studio boasts a range of high-end equipment, such as Brompton 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors, ROE Visual LED screens, disguise media servers, ARRI cinematic lighting equipment, Vicon motion capture systems, and Mo-Sys camera tracking systems. “This makes it one of the most cutting-edge studios with top-of-the-line configurations for xR and VP in China,” says Vno Hu, Chief Technology Officer at Big Blue Technology.
Having opened its doors for the first time in 2022, BLUE BOX xR Studio quickly attracted significant attention from the market thanks to its highly advanced hardware systems and an experienced technical team. Over the past year, the studio has worked with world-renowned brands like Audi, BMW, Lenovo, Ping An of China, Samsung, Tencent, and Volkswagen, among others. The team has also successfully completed 15 TV commercials and broadcast-related creative shoots, as well as hosted hundreds of events such as the Lenovo Innovation and Technology Conference, all of which showcase the studio’s creative capabilities. “The formation of our Beijing facility has, in my opinion, been a driving force in our industry, instilling confidence in the virtual production sector and helping to advance the industry,” comments Hu.
“With the support of outstanding talents and top-notch equipment, Big Blue Technology has optimised and integrated international leading hardware and software technologies, establishing a competitive advantage that positions us at the forefront of the industry,” Hu adds, going on to highlight that, along with their first studio in Shanghai and the latest addition of the BLUE BOX xR Studios in Beijing, there is another facility currently under construction in Hebi City, Henan Province, with further plans to open new studios later this year and in 2024. With such an ambitious expansion strategy, Hu is confident the company “will be able to independently connect and complete all links in the industry chain thanks to its core technological advantages and virtual reality content production platform.”
Hu acknowledges there is still a gap between the level of recognition and acceptance of virtual production in the domestic market when compared to the international market. “Popularising virtual production will take some time, but we believe that day will arrive soon, and we see tremendous potential in this technology. For 2022-2023, the primary focus of both facilities has been on xR production, with virtual production also being a key aspect of our business,” he explains.
Alongside the highest-level hardware and software technologies, the Big Blue Technology team boasts extensive end-to-end shooting experience, which includes virtual content creation, and directorial expertise, all of which enable them to provide the high-end creative production services demanded by the studios’ customers. “Depending on the production requirements, we can seamlessly configure the LED panels to create a screen covering approximately 400m2 for virtual production,” Hu continues. “We utilise ROE Black Pearl BP2V2 for the main screen and ROE BM4 for the floor, all powered by five 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors and 18 Tessera XD 10G data distribution units in each studio, with further backup SX40 units available for larger projects.”
Brompton LED processing plays a vital role in the studios’ set-up, enabling fast and efficient operation of the LED screens. “Our team relies on a full suite of Tessera features, with our favourites including PureTone, which eliminates unsightly colour casts in the greyscale for balanced, neutral output,” says Hu. “We’re also big fans of Dynamic Calibration, the enabling technology for Brompton HDR, that allows us to achieve beautiful, uniform video content even at extremes of brightness and colour gamut.”
Having led the team in over 60 xR virtual production projects in recent years, Hu notes they remain committed to optimising workflows and focussing on technological innovation. “For instance, we have incorporated various camera tracking methods, real-time-driven virtual characters, real-time stage tracking, optimised the ACES colour management process, and are also preparing a comprehensive Ndisplay development solution,” he states. “Many of these technological innovations need the combined support of hardware systems and software development, and we are fortunate to have companies like Brompton Technology on board to support us with that.”
With the extensive upgrade, including the installation of all-new hardware equipment in just over two weeks, BLUE BOX xR Studio will re-open this autumn. Hu underscores their meticulous attention to detail to deliver the highest standards for their customers. This unwavering dedication has already garnered recognition, with several TV advertisements, commercial events, and a potential film shoot already confirmed at the studio.
“We appreciate the steadfast support from Brompton throughout the process,” says Hu. “We are completely satisfied with the performance and reliability of Brompton Tessera processors, and the service and collaboration we’ve received from the Brompton China team has really bolstered our confidence. As we embark on future virtual studio construction projects, we remain committed to maintaining our partnership with Brompton. Their dedication to research and development, as well as their commitment to creating new products and features, is unparalleled. With their well-respected position in the industry, utilising Brompton’s LED video processing solutions has given us a significant advantage.”
“We had the opportunity to participate with the Big Blue Technology team during the grand re-opening of BLUE BOX xR Studio, marking a new phase in its creative potential,” concludes Elijah Ebo, Brompton’s Director of APAC Operations. “We are delighted to see the team using our LED processing technology and look forward to the innovative productions that will originate from this facility, and to continuing our partnership with the company for upcoming projects.”