State-of-the-art 3D studio at Sabey Ashburn
The volumetric capture studio for Avatar Dimension inside the Sabey Data Centers campus in Ashburn, Virginia. (Image: Avatar dimension)
Like most data centers in Northern Virginia, the Sabey Data Centers campus contains large data rooms filled with servers and storage equipment. But the Sabey site in Ashburn is also home to a unique facility pioneering a virtual future.
the Avatar dimension The facility houses a soundproof studio filled with cameras, bright lights, and a wraparound green screen. Inside, they make holograms.
The process is known as volumetric capture and uses specialized cameras that surround a person or object and convert the image data into 3D holographic creations that look real from any angle.
Rapper Flo Rida recently used the new studio to record a 3D performance of his song “Low” as a NFT (Non-Fungible Token), a digital collectible. His performance – and Avatar Dimension technology – was just showcased in a “60 minute” segment on the rise of the metaverse experiences.
It’s a far cry from memories of blurry holograms in sci-fi movies like Star Wars (“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi”). Holograms are now a scientific reality as photorealistic digital humans blend the digital and physical worlds to create training and entertainment experiences for many industries.
Sabey Corporation President David Sabey said Avatar Dimension’s holographic technology can “extend the unlimited benefits of a new digital frontier.” Sabey believes that holograms will enable many new types of digital experiences from a distance.
“As we saw during the pandemic, the internet immediately responded to the challenges presented by providing society with virtual tools to help replicate the real experience of everyday life,” said Sabey.
Sabey Corporation is the main investor in Avatar Dimension, in partnership with Dimension Studio and video creation agency based in St. Louis Avatar Studio. The studio they created in Ashburn is one of seven in the world to be Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio certified.
Next Generation Technology as a Data Center Opportunity
Sabey’s work with Avatar Dimension is an example of how data centers play a key role in next-generation technologies transforming society. Creating holograms involves large digital files that benefit from low latency access to servers and large-scale storage. Location is important for data-intensive creative processes, and this data gravity could create new possibilities in tech real estate.
Sabey is also one of several Ashburn data centers that serve as test beds for new technology, performing engineering tests atop the world’s largest network and fiber intersection. Ashburn is known as “Data Center Alley” for its abundance of cloud computing facilities, with over 100 data centers covering over 10 million square feet. Other examples include the co-innovation installation in the new Equinix DC21 data center and an advanced cooling lab in Digital Realty’s L building.
The 4,000 square foot studio inside the Sabey data center includes a green room, client area and offices, as well as the soundproof studio housing a circular array of 70 12-megapixel Volucam cameras. The subject is placed in an 8-foot circle of light in the center of the studio, and high-resolution cameras work together to capture the artist from all angles. Video files are merged to create 3-dimensional holograms.
“The cameras create huge files, which are merged using cutting-edge technology from Microsoft,” said architect Kyle MertensMeyer, the designer of the facility, in a statement. virtual tour of Ashburn facilities. “These files are so large – terabytes and terabytes – that they can take several hours to turn into a final product.”
That’s why the installation is ideal for a data center, with ultra-low latency access to powerful processing and storage. The process was demonstrated in the 60-minute segment filmed at the Ashburn facility, in which CBS correspondent Laurie Segall was transformed into a hologram and inserted into a digital landscape. Here’s a portion of the segment, featuring a discussion of NFTs and the surge in metaverse experiences brought on by the pandemic.
During its pre-operational phase, Avatar Dimension completed a number of projects for clients ranging from businesses, military and government agencies to marketers, games, fashion and entertainment. Some examples:
- The 2020 Air Force Global Futures Report, where a chief futurist of the US Air Force was transformed into a holographic presenter for a report using virtual reality.
- The Center of Creative Arts (COCA) Virtual Web Tour, the first-ever online experience that combines 360 ° images with photorealistic holograms to bring viewers inside the newly renovated St. Louis campus, guided by 3D docents.
- The Microsoft Ignite 2021 Keynote, where 3D holograms of marine biologists Edie Widder and Vincent Pieribone were captured as part of the Microsoft Mesh Virtual Presentation in AltSpace VR.
- Afterworld The Age of Tomorrow by fashion house Balenciaga, where hologram models were created for her virtual 3D catwalk experience.
Another area of potential growth for holograms is the growing popularity of NFTs. These digital expressions of art, music and sports highlights use blockchain technology to validate ownership of assets online. Flo Rida is an investor in Emmersive Entertainment, which produces NFTs to expand brands of athletes, artists, musicians and creators online.
A new frontier in technological real estate?
NFTs are one of many initiatives to leverage holograms to boost engagement with fans, influencers, and collectors. These could include holographic concerts in which digital artists are shown in homes or other remote locations, or allowing fans to interact with holograms of their favorite artists in social media posts. As technology evolves, new use cases are likely to emerge.
This is certainly the point of view of Microsoft, whose technology plays a major role in the operation of Avatar Dimension. Microsoft has pioneered holograms through its HoloLens mixed reality glasses and even holographic data storage.
“Content creators are increasingly using volumetric video as a new medium to provide viewers with more immersive and connected human experiences,” said Steve Sullivan, CEO of Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studios. “Our mission is to provide high-quality, accessible and affordable human holograms to fuel the growth of mixed reality, and we are delighted that Avatar Dimension is our studio partner in Washington DC, bringing this technology to the East Coast. “
It is also clearly an opportunity for Sabey Data Centers, one of the most experienced players in the sector, with more than 25 years of experience in the field of data centers. The company operates over 3 million square feet of critical space, making it one of the largest privately held multi-tenant data center operators in the United States, with campuses at three sites in the Northwest Pacific, Manhattan and two data centers. on the Ashburn campus.
The Seattle-based company initially focused on business development, including office and industrial space for large Seattle corporations like Boeing and Starbucks.
But Sabey has also been listening to how technology is driving the need for specialist real estate. The company has diversified into data center real estate, as well as technical facilities for life sciences and healthcare. Avatar Dimension is the next step towards the emerging frontier of tech real estate.