Imagine you could be standing in front of a building that no longer exists. Look at it from all sides. Which one do you see? A skyscraper? An old church? As part of XReco’s News Media Demonstrator, the DW team chose the former Palace of the Republic, a building that hosted the parliament of East Germany from 1976 to 1990 in Berlin. They recreated it as a 3D model with XReco technologies and are showcasing it in a professional broadcasting studio. Keep reading to find out what happened and how you too can use the same tools and 3D models for your purposes – without any professional equipment or experience.

Figure 1: Nico Patz of DW standing ‘inside’ the 3D model.

Just in time for the start of spring, colleagues from DW (Deutsche Welle, Germany’s public international broadcaster) met at their Bonn headquarters in March 2024 to test the integration of an XReco 3D model into a professional journalistic studio production.

This first technical trial brought a lot of fun, some intriguing insights and new experiences for everyone involved: The presenter was able to successfully interact with a 3D model of Berlin’s former Palace of the Republic, rotate it in the virtual studio, zoom in, zoom out and even have himself placed inside of the model. See for yourself in the photo below. If you want to know more about the production, you can also watch the behind-the-scenes video of our test run here.

Figure 2: Testing of 3D model in virtual studio.

The test run showed that 3D models created with XReco can be used in a real studio production workflow. Since the Palace of the Republic is no longer standing, the XReco technical partners had to create its 3D model using helicopter footage from 1991, resulting in a quality with potential for improvement due to the old material (as you could see in the video). This is a very special case – an experiment. But if these results are possible with circa 30-year-old material, imagine what is possible with current HD-quality drone images. It shows how promising XReco technologies are in using 2D material to create 3D models, and thus reconstruct entire buildings, their structure and surroundings. With more current footage, you can count on the quality being top notch, as other examples showed. Below, you can see a 3D model of the Basilica of Superga in Turin that our partners at RAI created.

Figure 3: 3D Model of Basilica di Superga, Turin, shown in a virtual studio by RAI.

In case you were now wondering: What about self-employed or amateur creators? We got you. You can do all this even if you don’t have access to professional equipment.

The next step for us is to create what we call XR Capsules, an easy-to-use tool for creating sketches and templates for virtual studio productions, provided by XReco partner Visyon. Now you too canxcreate your own virtual studio and, for example, build a platform or a stage with screens and present your 3D model. Whatever your heart desires. You don’t need a huge budget or coding skills for this.

Figure 4: XR Capsule Editor.

You simply select the template you like in Visyon’s XR Capsule Editor and outline your own virtual studio in simple steps: Customize the size of the stage or insert simple space holder elements that later appear as tables, screens, or people. These can quickly be created and/or imported as 3D models from the XReco platform.

Additionally, ‘Free Viewpoint Video‘ (FVV in short) from our partner UPM is going to be integrated into this workflow. It can be used to further refine your creation and turn it into, e.g., an augmented reality experience – which viewers can then see from several sides at up to 120 degrees.

Your creation needs finishing touches? Then it’s best to use our partner Unity’s 3D authoring tool, which is conveniently connected to the Capsules. Here, you can, among other things, change the camera perspective, adjust the lighting, add further scaling, rotations, zooms or even text. You will soon be able to download a simplified XReco version of this tool with corresponding tutorials from our website.

Figure 5: Finalizing the virtual studio production with the Unity Authoring tool.

The process for creating your own virtual studio and 3D models will be simple, intuitive, and hopefully as much fun for you as it is for us.

Stay tuned for more insights into our production processes!