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Real Time 3D Motion Graphics Studio for Creative Music Industry SMEs

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - VisualMusic (Real Time 3D Motion Graphics Studio for Creative Music Industry SMEs)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2018-06-30

In today’s entertainment sector, the ability to provide compelling visual 3D animation presentations during musical events in clubs, concert halls and other such venues, is restricted to large scale events promoters, artists, and mega-clubs. The main reason for this is that such visual animation presentations must be designed in advance for a particular event and specifically tailored for the music to be played. Moreover, designing, developing and finally rendering such visual presentations is costly both in terms of time and budget. Such projects require the end-user to contract expensive video artists to create bespoke animation content and, during the live entertainment event, there is also a need to have an expert operator, commonly known as a “Video Jockey” (VJ), triggering the content as the music is playing. Such barriers to entry restrict the development and proliferation of real-time 3D motion graphics technology amongst creative SMEs in this sector of the mass entertainment market.

The aim of project VisualMusic is to remove existing barriers to entry and extend the use of this technology by developing a more affordable, easy-to-use, real-time 3D motion graphics studio and marketplace for graphics content. The VisualMusic studio will eliminate the need for expensive design and development expertise in both the preparation and delivery of animation content. Furthermore, the VisualMusic studio will provide the user with the capability to generate visual animation presentations in real-time as the musical event is in session.
In order to reduce costs and improve capability, project VisualMusic proposes to transfer the power of partner Brainstorm’s real time 3D graphics technology, normally used in the broadcasting industry, to the “live event” sector of the entertainment business. The VisualMusic project will also to provide experts in motion graphics design and development with a marketplace for new content.

Project VisualMusic is a response to an express need from creative music industry SMEs for an advanced, “semi-automatic”, yet cost effective ICT solution to improve competitiveness in the music and entertainment sector. In collaboration with Brainstorm, creative music industry SMEs will have the opportunity to develop new market potential and improve their competitiveness and growth in the global entertainment market.

The main objective of VisualMusic is to develop a high performance, cost effective, real-time 3D motion graphics studio for creative music industry SMEs that will:

A. Increase the competitiveness of the European creative industries by stimulating ICT innovation amongst creative music industry SMEs.

B. Establish a vibrant EU technological ecosystem for the creative industries' needs.

C. Foster exchanges between the creative industries SMEs and providers of innovative ICT solutions.
During the first year of the project, the VisualMusic consortium has successfully identified the users's needs and requirements and defined the functional requirements of the VisualMusic application based on those requirements. UNIPD has led these user consultations and requirements definition. Technical partners and end users have participated in this process to create the appropriate framework for the development of VisualMusic. Brainstorm, UPV and SRP are working hard in the development of all modules that takes part in VisualMusic. Activities like optimisation and adaptation of the real time graphics engine, development of the scene extraction plugin, design of the DMX communication and natural interaction module and the extraction and segmentation of the audio are in an advanced stage of development. All components are also starting to be integrated and will be successfully connected in 3 more months. The validation of the system, the refinement of VisualMusic as well as the market place development will be carried out in the second period of the project.

Horizontal activities like project management, dissemination and commercial exploitation and business planning have been also carried out during the first year of the project and they will be intensified during the second phase.
The VisualMusic technology will be an innovative solution with high market potential ready for deployment at project completion. The results of the project will provide creative music industry SMEs with the capability to generate innovative animation presentations to accompany music played at entertainment events.
The VisualMusic project has been devised as a collaboration between ICT innovative technology providers and creative music industry SMEs. The nature of this collaboration is described in detail elsewhere in this proposal. Moreover, the VisualMusic technology will improve the competitive position of creative music industry SMEs by improving their capability to produce high-end multi-media content to enhance audience experience.

The potential for improvements to innovation capacity amongst creative music industry SMEs as a result of the VisualMusic solution is considerable. With recourse to high performance real-time 3D motion graphics studio technology, creative music industry SMEs will be able to enhance the quality of their entertainment events and compete with large scale sector players. Small-scale events promoters, artists, clubs and other entertainment venues will be able to produce higher quality, more innovative content. The VisualMusic solution will change the way in which users design, develop and deliver creative content, providing much greater flexibility in the way they meet the needs of both local and global markets.

VisualMusic is a much focussed Innovation Action which has come about in order to meet the express needs of creative music industry SMEs in the entertainment sector. As has already been explained, the driver for user needs in this instance is the lack of a cost-effective, high performance real-time 3D motion graphics studio solution in the market. By reducing the cost for this technology, the VisualMusic technology is overcoming existing barriers to technology take-up. There are no real foreseeable barriers to impact in terms of regulations or restrictions to technology take up in the external environment.

The challenge to be addressed here is that existing visual animation solutions are complex, expensive and beyond the reach of many creative music industry SMEs in the entertainment sector. Building on existing industry standards, the VisualMusic consortium will produce a more cost-effective, market-ready solution. Moreover, as the tool will be based on a real time graphics engine, it will allow changing and modifying already existing contents, and will be capable to play and synchronize graphics and music automatically, removing the need of specialized operators to control the system.
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