disguise Technologies Ltd
88-89 Blackfriars Road,
Tel: +44 (0)20 7234 9840
- 2022 Innovation
In the current golden age of video, high resolution, pixel-perfect digital graphics have become a staple of modern entertainment, perfectly complementing live concerts, broadcast programmes, films or television shows. Whatever the circumstance, video content provides the ultimate escapism to the viewer, allowing them to imagine themselves completely immersed in whatever world they see on screen. And it is all possible with the help of various technologies that all work together to ensure the highest quality output.
There to secure that all the integrated elements work together is disguise – an end-to-end production workflow that allows creatives and technical producers to design, sequence and control their production from concept through to showtime.
Think about some of the most visually stunning live shows you have seen, featuring video on large LED or projection displays… disguise was probably behind them. For the past two decades, disguise has been pioneering the technology powering concert tours for artists like Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé, festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury, and even theatre productions like Frozen and Harry Potter. Now, disguise leads the way in providing an intersection between physical and digital worlds with a solution that has earned the company the 2022 Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation.
A pioneering solution for live shows
disguise is a technology platform to imagine, create and deliver spectacular visual experiences. With a unique combination of expert production software and powerful media server hardware, disguise empowers brands and artists to tell stories that inspire their audiences.
Born in 2000 out of a pioneering new technology, disguise was first developed to deliver showstopping visuals at concerts for the likes of U2 and Massive Attack. Over the years it has become the most integrated and robust workflow – setting the gold standard in live event production.
Its extensive history in live events led the disguise team to develop the technology to be purpose-built for an environment where there is no room for error. This enables its user community to perfectly pre-visualise and edit their projects using disguise’s Designer software, while its RenderStream infrastructure seamlessly manages the rendering, tracking, and synchronisation of video content – thereby significantly simplifying system deployment and operations.
disguise’s core value is linked to the motto of “create together,” with its community of users being at the heart of everything it does. The company works alongside the world’s most talented visual designers and technical teams who test out disguise’s software ahead of each release and offer valuable feedback to the development and improvement of the product, while they get early access to new technology to power their productions.
Extended reality and the virtualisation of live events
When the Covid-19 pandemic caused a global halt on live events, the disguise team had to come up with a solution to continue supporting its user community who was suddenly left without work. The entire company pulled together and accelerated the development of a new technology – one that had been a mere science experiment at the time – that would enable users to deliver the same visually spectacular productions, but in a virtual setting. And so disguise Extended Reality (xR) was born.
Built on the foundation of the core disguise software, xR integrates with leading LED, real-time graphics, and camera tracking technologies to power immersive virtual environments that are projected onto LED screens. This content can be rendered from the camera’s perspective – meaning what we see on screen is a fully immersive, 3D scene extending far beyond the LED walls in the physical space. Actors can be performing on a small-scale LED stage, yet xR can turn it into an expansive virtual environment from the camera’s perspective – stretching out far beyond the walls of the set. In May 2020, disguise xR saw its first major application for Katy Perry’s memorable performance at the American Idol 2020 Finale, by XR Studios.
Since then, the demand and potential of xR has skyrocketed, turning the technology into a global phenomenon that has powered over 500 productions to date, across broadcast, film & episodic TV, corporate and entertainment events. As a result, more than 300 stages powered by disguise xR have been built across 40 countries to meet the growing global demand for this groundbreaking technology.
Since extended reality was such a new and unexplored field at the time of release, disguise offered free access to its software interface and free online training so the next generation of storytellers could become accustomed to using its tools. In its mission to further break down barriers and enable access, disguise made its interface available in sixdifferent languages at the end of 2021.
The global success of xR also attracted a majority financial backing from The Carlyle Group in 2021 and enhanced disguise’s partnership with theworld’s leading game engine developer Epic Games, who are also a minority stakeholder in the company. disguise and Epic now work closely together to better integrate disguise xR with Epic’s Unreal Engine game engine to enable users to deliver the world’s most visually ambitious virtual productions.
Opening the gateway to the metaverse
With the increasing virtualisation of events and experiences, disguise is uniquely placed to blur the line between physical and digital worlds. This Spring, the company launched its Metaverse Solutions division to help brands and creators develop live, location-based and virtual experiences for this emergent space. Its xR technology acts as a Gateway to the Metaverse, transporting brands and artists from a physical set into the metaverse where they can better connect with their audiences.
An in-house R&D programme was also set up to integrate disguise xR with all the major and emerging metaverse platforms so its user community can deliver experiences into these new spaces. Within this programme there are also in-house experimentation hubs known as disguise Labs, bringing their creativity, technical consultancy and innovation to empower those wanting to launch metaverse experiences. Starting in New Zealand, the Labs team will be expanding worldwide to support emerging metaverse projects.
Sitting at the creative core of live entertainment for over 20 years, the disguise team provides revolutionary technology and works alongside a network of creative and technical specialists to deliver the next generation of shared events and experiences.