The coronavirus pandemic caused a lot of emerging technology companies to pivot to the digital realm, as travel and large gatherings were put on hiatus for an unforeseen period. Emmy award-winning video production company Diamond View made the decision to pivot in May 2020, from spending 80% of their time on location capturing footage, to building a state-of-the-art virtual production studio, Vū. in Tampa Bay, so they could instead spend 80% of their time in studio. Vū is a 10,000 square-foot virtual production studio that currently houses one of the largest LED Volumes in the world. Such LED Volumes, or curved LED screens placed in an enclosed space, use XR (Extended Reality) technology, and are a modern day replacement for green screens. CEO Tim Moore believes the new Vū studio will, “be a catalyst for growth for film and video production in Florida.”
In early 2020, after realizing that they wouldn’t be able to travel to shoots scheduled for March and April due to the pandemic, the Diamond View team quickly decided to make the investment into creating one of the largest LED volumes in the world. Moore’s bet on early adoption has begun to pay off. Diamond View has signed contracts with Jack Daniels and Mercedes Benz, eyeing similarly large name clients for 2021.
Grit Daily caught up with Moore to better understand the implications of Extended Reality (XR) technology and how the pandemic has shifted the video production industry. Moore founded Diamond View in 2007, after doing videography for weddings and special events and eventually making his way into commercial productions. The company is mainly focused on commercial work and brand storytelling, but Moore is excited about Vū because the technology, popularized by Lucasfilms’ production of “The Mandalorian,” is being used to create feature films. Moore decided to build Vū in Tampa because he believes it supports the goal of transforming Tampa Bay into a major commercial production hub, and provides a unique asset not only to Tampa but also the Southeastern United States.
Officials in the region have welcomed Diamond View with open arms. When asked what kinds of regulations are in place to prevent misleading consumers about the way a place truly looks (i.e. for a vacation ad,) Moore expressed that, due to the novelty of the technology, that there is currently no regulation in place. If a resort wants to show footage of a never-ending sunset or enhance the look of their building’s interior features, it’s possible. In fact, when working on a healthcare company’s commercial, due to the difficulty of getting real hospital footage amid the pandemic, Diamond View was able to procure their own realistic looking footage of hospitals for the customer to choose from. Extended reality blurs the lines between reality and fiction, and seems to be the next phase of enhanced imagery. Much like the wide use of filters on selfies to enhance a person’s features, XR for video production is an inevitable step towards an enhanced, immersive experience that feels real.
Next month, Super Bowl LV will be held at Raymond James Stadium, home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Diamond View expects to be ready to host concerts for streaming and to build more relationships with brands flooding into Florida for the event. At last year’s Super Bowl in Miami, they worked with Bleacher Report, Adidas, and several other large brands. While Moore has noticed that the pandemic has made many companies reluctant to commit far in advance, he knows that Vū is perfectly positioned to make the Super Bowl event unforgettable, despite it being a comparatively smaller physical gathering than in previous years.
Despite the unknown trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic, Moore believes the new digital-focused production technology will be needed more than ever.“Clients can choose anywhere in the world but they shoot with us because we have these exclusive technologies,” Moore said.