Of PVC and Chroma Keys
Updated: Feb 14, 2020
This week for Jitsik LLC I was able to begin creating a custom mixed reality setup in our University City Lab, affectionately referred to as The Garage. The main goal is simple:
1. Create a green screen room with proper lighting
2. Get an HTC Vive system running inside that space
3. Park a car in there and run a set of Arduino boards to run a full simulation
4. Try it again later with a Tesla
Simple right? As much as one might think this is sarcasm, it actually isn't! A fair amount of research went in to how to create something that could perform with predictable conditions, but also look good when fully assembled. The biggest hardship in this project is budget, since we don't simply want to throw money at the issue. After a few weeks of brainstorming and research, I was able to pitch a design for a green screen setup that we could build ourselves. A few emails and a trip to Home Depot later, and we had the supplies to make the first prototype from PVC and green screen curtains.
First curtain installed, showing that it fit inside our smaller lab with a vehicle.
[Quick Edit: This was later pulled tighter and ironed. It would not have performed nearly as well if I left it like that. Proper green screen technique was later used, I promise!] I was very fortunate to have most of my own gear on the technical end, since the bulk of it is running off of my VR laptop. The additional tracker for the live compositing camera and all of the parts for this prototype only ran up to about $600. We were very fortunate to be able to use one of my boss' cars for testing, and that full simulation I was talking about will hopefully be up and running very soon. More on that in future posts!