Authored by Ludovic François, CEO & CTO of TrackIt. The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.
Architects and community planners long relied on scale models to represent their vision to clients and stakeholders. These true-to-life miniatures offer a view of structures and neighborhoods well suited to in-person walk arounds, but don’t translate well to the digital world.
Studio 4D, an architectural visualization firm with clients across the US, realized early that high-quality digital visualizations that are easily viewed and shared, are essential to enable architects, designers, and developers to convey their projects to community stakeholders and future investors. In 2016, the company broke new ground by adapting Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to build and present its architectural models digitally.
Originally designed for video game developers, Unreal Engine lets Studio 4D design and present immersive, three-dimensional walkthroughs of communities for interactive viewing. The company’s designers use Unreal Engine’s toolkit to build richly textured structures surrounded by authentic landscapes, with roads and walkways flowing with virtual people enhancing the experience of the community to come.
In 2020, as Studio 4D’s clients shifted to remote work, the company recognized that its live video presentations had to scale to accommodate much larger audiences. Instead of presenting to a handful of project partners, Studio 4D needed the ability to stream live demonstrations to hundreds of viewers or more, without sacrificing the real-time interactivity that makes its models so engaging.
The company turned to TrackIt, an AWS Partner with deep experience engineering live streaming solutions. TrackIt recognized that Amazon Interactive Video Service (Amazon IVS), could provide a scalable, high-quality solution to Studio 4D’s streaming video needs.
TrackIt explored a range of approaches, including integrations between IVS and common videoconferencing offerings. Ultimately, the TrackIt team recommended a direct integration between Amazon IVS and Unreal Engine. Doing so enabled Studio 4D to show their work with the highest resolution and frame rate to maximize the quality of experience for viewers.
TrackIt customized the solution for Studio 4D with an easy-to-use React application to give presenters a simple web interface to create and manage their IVS streams. To deliver the WebRTC output streams from Unreal Engine to Amazon IVS, which supports RTMP inputs, TrackIt configured a container running on AWS Fargate. The container then connects to the live output from Unreal Engine and uses FFmpeg to broadcast real-time audio and video in high-definition to the Amazon IVS RTMP endpoint.
While building the solution, Studio 4D was beginning some very large-scale architectural development projects. The size of the developments, and therefore number of stakeholders on walkthroughs, drove the need for a production-ready solution to support the customer’s construction timelines. Once the final approach was agreed to, the solution delivery was completed in a few short weeks and then integrated into Studio 4D’s own presentation interface.
Studio 4D immediately put its new live streaming solution to work delivering its first project – a real-time interactive experience of National Landing. Located just outside of Washington, DC, National Landing is a forward-thinking, mixed-use urban community being developed by JBG SMITH. Studio 4D’s virtual walkthrough takes audiences across the developer’s operating and under construction portfolios as well as its planned 7.2 million-square foot development pipeline in National Landing. Going forward, Studio 4D plans to use the solution for every community planning project it delivers.
“Our job is to communicate virtually the richness, complexity, and detail of thoughtfully designed urban cityscapes to any viewer on any screen,” noted Hilario Canessa, CEO of Studio 4D. “Still images and on-demand videos cannot convey the scope of what our clients are ready to share or what their stakeholders need to see. With TrackIt and AWS, viewers can truly explore these communities and fully appreciate what they have to offer.”
To learn more about Amazon IVS, visit https://aws.amazon.com/ivs/
TrackIt is 5-year old cloud management, consulting and software development solutions company based in Venice, CA. We specialize in Modern Software Development; DevOps, Infrastructure-As-Code, serverless, CI/CD and containerization with special expertise in Media and Entertainment workflows, High-Performance Computing environments and data storage. Learn More about TrackIt.