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Masterpiece: Nighthawks

“Masterpiece: Beyond the Painted Surface” places British art historian, BBC presenter and BAFTA nominated broadcaster, Dr James Fox inside the virtual 3D representation of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks – his famous 1942 oil on canvas painting that portrays four people in a downtown diner late at night as viewed through the diner’s window.
Working closely with Dr James Fox creative director Christopher Pearson from The Experience Machine (TEM) and the production team from Bild Studios have been able to re-imagine how a painting could exist as a three-dimensional world.

This process has allowed the technology to reveal insights into the painting that have never been considered before. In Masterpiece the 3D representation of Hopper’s painting was created as carefully extracted 3D geometry with detailed layers of texturing added; partly handmade, partly AI-generated, that would resemble the brush strokes and fine crafting of Edward Hopper’s unique painting style.
Finally, the 3D scene was imported into the game engine Unreal Engine and rendered in real-time based on the position of the physical film camera within the volume.

The integration of real-world effects such as time of day, virtual depth of field, environmental lighting and other properties were configured to be controlled via a mobile tablet – directly controlled by the director on set.

Access to high-end xR platforms such as MARS Volume alongside advances in game engine software has opened the opportunity to craft narrative journeys from an entirely new perspective; the inside of an artwork. Considering the painted canvas as an environment that a viewer can walk into has now never been more possible.
Christopher Pearson, founder and director of The Experience Machine

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Produced and Engineering:
Concept and Direction:
Technical Producers:
xR workflows powered by:
Render engine:
Camera supply:
Behind The Scenes film:

Bild Studios
The Experience Machine
James Fox
David Bajt & Rowan Pitts (Bild Studios)
James Medcraft
Unreal Engine
Mo-Sys Engineering
Hotmilk Films

Produced and Engineering: Bild Studios
Concept and Direction: The Experience Machine
Presenter: James Fox
Technical Producers: David Bajt & Rowan Pitts (Bild Studios)
DOP: James Medcraft
xR workflows powered by: disguise
Render engine: Unreal Engine
Camera-tracking: Mo-Sys Engineering
Camera supply: Focus24
Behind The Scenes film: Hotmilk Films

Other works