Distance Learning Using Green Screen Technology.One presenter stands in a Los Angeles office interfacing with the background image projected behind her. The other presenter stands right next to her, working in tandem with the background image, but is physically based in Ohio. Welcome to SightDeck, where Hollywood’s green screen technology meets corporate and educational applications.
Since 1976, Ultimatte has proven itself a leader in green screen compositing technology designed for television and motion picture applications. Ten years ago, Ultimatte began to develop a similar technology without the green screen for corporate, presentation and educational applications. SightDeck’s goal was simple: deliver green screen-inspired technology to the corporate world, assisting in distance learning, sales pitches and related applications.
To achieve this and create a solid, plug and play package, Ultimatte turned to Gefen for digital signal management solutions that would prove to be extremely reliable in the field.
“We saw nearly unlimited applications because SightDeck works exceedingly well with projected images and we already had the masking technologies of green screens,” says Lynne Sauve, president, Ultimatte. “We knew that to be successful, SightDeck had to be easy to implement, and we envisioned an absolutely plug and play system with a little help from Gefen.”
SightDeck creates a mask of the presenter(s) in real time and enables complete interactivity with background graphics, created beforehand. SightDeck is essentially a hardware system, including a screen, camera, projector and server card backed by Gefen signal management hardware to enable seamless connectivity.
When two or more SightDecks are combined you can double your imagery with two simultaneous outputs. So your colleague in Ohio can present in real-time right alongside you. Presenters can see each other and reference each other. In this way, SightDeck enables the creation of panel discussions with people located all over the world, looking as if they are all in the same room.
SightDeck’s high definition camera supports two images: the masked presenter(s) and the projected graphics. It will work with most projectors with a less than 3 frame delay and minimal thermal drift. It supports touch screen technology so presenters are able to manipulate and interact with projected content and other presenter’s movements in a seamless fashion.
“You really have to see this in action to believe it,” says Sauve. “After ten years of intensive development, we perfected the essence of green screen for the corporate world. It’s basically a kind of virtual reality that can encourage and support live interactions between people located all over the world. It really takes presentations to the next level.”
With touch screen technology applied to the projected background, presenters can control, edit, change or add to content being projected. “Anything you can control on the PC, you can control on the touch screen behind you,” explained Sauve. All content can be simultaneously output in high definition format, streamed live and recorded with a first generation quality output.
Editing tools on the GUI can appear projected on the background image or hidden from everyone but the presenter. Everything is user controlled. A video conferencing codex is built into the system so someone can dial-in and be heard as well as seen by the presenter or everyone participating. The system is totally interactive and contains multilayered transparencies to bring people into the picture, visually dissect issues, collaborate and problem solve.
Content is output as 720p/60 HDSDI and SightDeck includes two Gefen Scalers to support the 720p output. “The Gefen Scalers are highly reliable and work intuitively behind the scenes. They really help make the system plug and play; nobody has to play around with video resolutions.”
Gefen’s USB Extender is also included for remote touch screen applications. “Gefen is an integral part of the SightDeck solution,” adds Sauve.