Disguise gives fans a concert experience — from their living rooms

xR stage using Disguise technology at Savannah College of Art and Design in the USA.
An artistic vision: a Disguise xR stage at Savannah College of Art and Design in the USA © Aman Shakya/Savannah College of Art and Design

Two years ago, due to the COVID lockdown, stadiums, arenas and theaters were forced to close. Many live entertainment businesses are on the brink of collapse. Tickets cannot be sold due to the government banning indoor and outdoor events. There’s no way this industry can make money right away. Businesses in the sector lost a total of $30 billion in 2020, according to estimates from trade publication Pollstar.

For UK event technology company Disguise That means losing a lot of potential customers as they are forced to leave their jobs. want a way to build financial stability So found a new way through Extended Reality or xR, a product that helps companies. Virtual live events

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Extended Reality covers a wide range of technology sets. This includes augmented reality. virtual reality and mixed reality that can create a realistic user experience Bring customers to live events

Fernando Küfer said: “The whole company joins forces and accelerates the development of new technologies. which used to be the only scientific experiment at that time This will allow users to present the same impressive results. but in a virtual environment,” said Fernando Küfer, disguised as the CEO.

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Using real-time graphics and camera tracking, the Disguise xR software allows producers to create virtual performances and display them on LED screens. Küfer explains that this technology basically displays content. “From the camera perspective” so that “what we see on screen is a fully immersive 3D scene that extends beyond the LED wall in real space.”

“An actor can perform on a small LED stage, but xR can transform it into a expansive virtual environment from the camera’s point of view — extending beyond the walls of the set,” he adds.

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The Disguise xR proved an immediate success following its 2020 launch, winning this year’s Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the innovation category.

There’s a growing list of high-profile clients as well. American pop star Katy Perry used the technology in May 2020 when she sang “Daisies” during a final television singing competition. american idolThe show involved Perry singing in a virtual world.

Katy Perry Performs 'Daisies' on 'American Idol' in 2020

Katy Perry Performs ‘Daisies’ on ‘American Idol’ in 2020 © xR Studios

Billie Eilish was another early adopter of the Disguise xR. The Grammy and Oscar winning singer used the technology in October 2020 to perform 13 songs at a virtual concert called Where are we going?.

Disguise also works on shows for streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as live events for Eurosport, MTV and the UK’s ITV. It was used in 600 productions and on 300 stages.

He credits the thriving community of users as the key to the company’s success. described as “An essential link between Disguise and its end customers.” This community works closely with the Disguise team to test new software features and hardware products. “Everything Disguise does is done with the user community in mind.”

The disguise can be traced back to the early 2000s, when friends Ash Nehru, Chris Bird and Matthew Clark founded United Visual Artists, a London-based creative technology company. They designed the footage for Massive Attack’s tour in 2003. Window 100before working on concerts for U2 and American rapper Jay Z.

It’s a video development for U2’s. Dizziness Touring between 2005 and 2006, Nehru built software that helped Irish rock bands visualize stage content in 3D before the actual performance took place.

Feeling that this technology would change the live broadcasting industry, Nehru left UVA in 2010 and formed a new company dedicated to developing his software. It became known as Disguise in 2017.

This software is the bread and butter of business impersonation. allows users to “Pre-render and pre-program each pixel of the video file” to enable They “validate ideas” and “deliver performances on time and to the highest standards,” says Küfer. He pointed out that Disguise has provided concert technology for artists such as Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé, for festivals such as Coachella and Glastonbury, and for drama productions such as frozen and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Küfer joined Disguise in 2015, having worked in finance for companies such as Lidl, L’Oréal, Ultra Motor and A2B Bikes. Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, Auckland and Montreal secure investments from private equity firm The Carlyle Group and video game developer Epic Games.

Küfer admits that the company faces “Tough financial times” due to the pandemic But now it should come back to “Higher travel through innovation in completely new and growing markets”. Turnover is expected to grow to £63.6 million in 2022, up from £42.5 million in 2021 and £20.6 million in 2020.

Commercial Production at Savannah College of Art and Design
Commercial production at Savannah College of Art and Design © Allison Smith/Savannah College of Art and Design

But to continue to thrive in the ever-evolving and competitive xR field, Disguise will have to overcome several challenges. One of the hardest things is educating producers about the value of augmented reality and encouraging them to embrace it.

“Augmented Reality as a Technology This only happened in production in 2019,” notes Küfer. “It’s relatively new. This makes it difficult to convince large production studios that already have green screens. [technology] and strive to leapfrog and explore a whole new technology ecosystem.

“While the benefits of Extended Reality far outweigh the upfront costs, But it also required a significant cultural shift within the organization. when it comes to replacing one virtual studio with a new set of equipment for each performance.”

The company has launched several initiatives to sell benefits, such as allowing users to try out the Disguise software interface at no cost. and providing free online training. Disguise also expanded the reach of the software interface by launching it in six languages.

Recognizing that the global entertainment industry lacks production talent, Through its Virtual Production Accelerator Program, the company works to train future filmmakers. This gives young filmmakers the pre- and post-production knowledge to create their own short films.

Competition will grow even as xR launches. Data provider Statista says the market has grown 24.9 percent this year. Disguise has responded by expanding its team. develop new products and take action based on customer feedback.

“We do our best to deal with criticism and challenges from our community,” says Küfer. He is constantly consulted and alleviated any problems or obstacles they may encounter.”

He remains confident in the value the company delivers to its customers. Even if there are competitors, I believe that Disguise will remain competitive for many years to come.

“While other solutions for xR are now available, Disguise offers the most advanced and integrated offering. This means that productions can use it without having to worry about elements failing,” says Küfer. “With Disguise xR, customers can make changes to their content easily and in real time. This is an important aspect in entertainment where immediate changes need to be made.”

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