Established in 2005 by Michael Mansouri and Gianna Wolfe, Radiant Images began as a production company, focusing initially on the automobile industry, but quickly growing into a full-service rental house. As early adopters of digital technology as production transitioned from film to digital, the company has differentiated itself by working with productions to develop solutions rather than just renting out a camera package, becoming in essence the technology arm of production companies.
Located on the 4.17-acre campus known as the Los Angeles Media Tech Center with 28,000 square feet of space, the new facility is more than double the size of their previous one and is the fourth expansion since their inception. The new facility features a huge camera prep area with an adjacent kitchen/lounge; ample parking; plus a dedicated wing housing Radiant’s newly created VR division in partnership with VRLIVE, a virtual reality live-streaming network that delivers 360-degree content to any mobile device anywhere.
Already well-known for working with small cinema cameras and customising rigs, Michael Mansouri is always on the lookout for new technologies and business opportunities. He saw the potential of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) early on and moved quickly to develop solutions that would work for productions of varying quality, difficulty and budget. In a move that shows how Radiant Images differentiates itself, he also hired a post supervisor, Shyam Kannapurakkaran, who works with producers to design workflows that ensure the transition from set to post in this daunting new environment is both seamless and efficient.
Radiant Images is also fortunate to have Sinclair Fleming on staff as Director of Engineering. Fleming has years of experience developing cutting-edge products and oversees an on-site rapid prototyping capability that is a critical part of Radiant’s ability to quickly provide tailor-made solutions for their clients.
“WE’VE DESIGNED SIMPLE SOLUTIONS – TEMPLATES REALLY – FOR VR PRODUCTIONS. CREATIVITY IS STIFLED IF THE PROCESS IS TOO COMPLICATED”
Evidence of this is apparent in Radiant Images’ collaboration with Headcase VR on a custom rig utilising 17 Codex Action Cams – the Headcase Cinema Quality VR 360. The request from Andrew Shulkind and Lucas Foster at Headcase seemed almost impossible – create a cinema-quality VR camera rig in less than a month. Mansouri and his team considered many camera options – the SI-2K, Indiecam, NOVO, Sony A7S and ALEXA Mini, amongst others. But all had something missing – some had limited dynamic range, others had no genlock, others were simply too big for this application.
Fortunately, Radiant Images knew of a camera that might provide an ideal solution – in fact, they already had one in their rental pool. The Codex Action Cam was the right size with great dynamic range, the ability to genlock and an established, reliable workflow. The design of the rig itself was an iterative process, requiring 27 revisions in a month and ending up with a rig that can produce stunning images backed up with Codex’s solid media and workflow. Simple things like having matching timecode and metadata between all the cameras greatly simplify the post production process.
Following on from their successful collaboration with Codex, Radiant is now working with the Foundry on a Nuke plug-in. They are also involved with VRLIVE, who capture and distribute VR content for immersive experiences on multiple mobile platforms. VRLIVE’s live streaming solution offers a 360-degree video stream, distributed to any smart phone, viewable as a 360-degree scrollable live-video or with a virtual reality headset.
Images courtesy Radiant Images