Sponsored Feature / ZEISS CinCraft Scenario

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Sponsored Feature / ZEISS CinCraft Scenario

BY: Adrian Pennington

Expanding the boundaries of VFX

The new ZEISS CinCraft Scenario is a game-changing tool accelerating, demystifying and democratising camera tracking technology for every production, from premium blockbuster to commercials shoot.

ZEISS has acquired Ncam Technologies, a pioneer of real-time visual effects solutions, and has launched a ground-breaking system that frees filmmakers from the complexity and restrictions of real-time camera tracking.

Ncam is unique among competitor tracking systems due to its use of computer vision-based tracking. That means it is not limited to only being able to be used within a studio where infrared or reflective markers have been placed.

ZEISS has integrated Ncam’s award-winning camera tracking technology and has launched ZEISS CinCraft Scenario – the only real-time camera tracking system that works perfectly on LED volumes, on green and blue screen and on any film set, anywhere.

CinCraft Scenario will expand the options and accelerate workflows for high-end TV and large budget feature film, while also opening up the ability to create stunning and original VFX for productions of any size.

ZEISS’s CinCraft Scenario hardware

Current tracking challenges

While increasingly in demand for creating sophisticated VFX shots, today’s real-time camera tracking systems can be very complex to both operate and manage. The technology typically requires a tracking specialist to be on set supporting the production.

Aside from the cost of wet hire, camera tracking is also often a time-consuming and tedious process that requires extensive set up and calibration.

In addition, some real-time tracking technologies can be very restrictive as to where they can be used, as they can only be operated in a studio or stage where infrared or reflective markers have been set up in pre-determined positions.

Furthermore, although it is possible to record and export tracking information for use in post-production, it’s not always a straightforward process. Many systems provide this data in its raw file (CSV or FBX, for example) but aligning this with the footage can be a manual and time-consuming process.     

“While camera tracking is known to be extremely useful for pre-visualisation and virtual production, CinCraft Scenario can bring major benefits to any production that includes VFX as it can record the tracking data on set to be then used in post-production, where it can help significantly optimise an artists’ workflow,” explains Tom Evans, product manager and camera tracking specialist at ZEISS.

As we advance into the era of real-time creative decision-making filmmakers are finding their wings clipped. CinCraft Scenario enables them to fly.

Virtual lens packages from ZEISS

How CinCraft Scenario changes the game

CinCraft Scenario is based on Ncam’s tracking technology and offers the most flexible camera tracking solution on the market. Thanks to its hybrid tracking technology that uses computer vision to ascertain natural markers within the scene, it can be used for any shots involving visual effects, not just within a virtual production environment.

However, it is with the combination of ZEISS Virtual Lens Packages (VLPs) that the system really comes into its own.

“When used with ZEISS and ARRI/ZEISS cine lenses, Scenario benefits from the CinCraft lens characteristics. Their inclusion makes the system plug and play and eliminates the cumbersome lens mapping and calibration process,” comments Sundeep Reddy, product Manager, digital cinematography at ZEISS.

VLPs provided by ZEISS provide all necessarily lens characteristics required for accurate tracking, and integrate seamlessly with CinCraft Scenario, allowing you to skip this process entirely by providing all necessary lens characteristics for accurate tracking.

In fact, CinCraft Scenario has been designed to be as simple to use as plug & play – with the ability to select your respective VLP from a straight-forward drop-down menu – making the manual and incredibly time-consuming process of lens calibration a thing of the past.

Live compositing

Ease of set-up

The easy-to-use system that introduces a user experience designed to match the film crew’s workflow means sophisticated camera tracking is now much more accessible for all types of VFX productions.

The modularity, light weight and small footprint of CinCraft Scenario ensures users can adapt to any camera rig setup. With a lightweight hardware that can easily attach to your camera, CinCraft Scenario does not require any extensive set-up of witness cameras or tracking markers around set.    

Alongside the flexible hardware configuration, CinCraft Scenario also supports a wide range of industry standard cameras and lens control systems. This makes interfacing with a production’s chosen camera equipment simple and does away with needing to modify equipment or workflow to cater for a tracking system.

With a user interface designed for ease of use and enhanced with wizards that guide the user with simple step by step instructions for setting up tracking on set, all of this means that CinCraft Scenario can be operated without a dedicated camera tracking specialist.    

The browser-based interface allows a user to access the interface from any other network connected device, such as a tablet or laptop, this makes operating the system on set easy, and when combined with the optional WiFi hotspots generated by the hardware, allows the user total freedom on set.

This ensures CinCraft Scenario can be seamlessly set up and paired during camera prep before going to film set, with the integration of the CinCraft lens characteristics database allowing the camera team to skip the cumbersome lens calibration process, saving time, money and stress.

CinCraft Wrangler software

Real-time camera tracking – anywhere

CinCraft Scenario is the most flexible camera tracking solution available. Based upon Ncam’s award-winning, camera tracking technology, CinCraft Scenario uses computer vision to track natural features within the scene and calculate the cameras’ exact position within a 3D space. This visual data is also fused with inertial data from inside the CamBar to produce a robust tracking solution across a wide range of environments.

Due to its use of natural feature tracking, CinCraft Scenario is not limited to only operating within the confines of infared or reflective markers placed around set. This gives users the ability and flexibility to track outside of these physical limitations, allowing it to be used outside as well.

However, where required, CinCraft Scenario does also support the use of additional tracking markers ensuring the versatility of the system and being able to meet the needs of the scene.

Digital marker tracking

Unprecedented freedom to create with VFX

CinCraft Scenario is not only applicable to all real-time filming environments but also for every production that integrates VFX.

In addition to providing camera tracking data for use in a real-time rendering engine for virtual production, CinCraft Scenario records data on set for further use in post-production. With CinCraft Export, a free software from ZEISS, users can convert the tracking data into the specific file format required for their respective VFX software, streamlining the entire workflow process and opening up new opportunities within VFX.      

To further improve the usability of tracking data in post-production, Export will allow users to easily view and browse through all the recorded tracking data that was captured on the production. From there, it’s possible to easily and non-destructively select and export specific sections of a take using timecode.  This makes the process of aligning tracking data from set to the trimmed down edit painless and straightforward.

 While any premium high-end productions that utilises LED volume walls will benefit immeasurably from the streamlined approach of CinCraft Scenario, the democratisation of camera tracking will open the technique up to a whole new audience of creators.

Reflective marker tracking

Hardware Options

CinCraft CamBar

The camera-mounted camera bar captures raw data via the Scenario software. It’s small, lightweight and includes an integrated IR emitter and synchronization technology to allow for tracking in different environments.

CinCraft Origin

The system’s centre piece runs the Scenario software to set up and perform camera tracking. It aggregates raw data from CinCraft CamBar, computes position and movement in real-time and can save this data for post-production.

CinCraft Link

The small and lightweight device receives raw data from CamBar and transmits it over a wired network connection to Origin which is setup elsewhere. It can be rigged on the main camera instead of the Origin and helps keep the tracking hardware’s footprint to a minimum.

Key benefits of CinCraft Scenario

Use anywhere – ZEISS CinCraft Scenario works in natural environments, on classical film sets, with green and blue screens and in LED volumes. With distinct operating modes that excel in different places, users can easily choose the mode that is best suited for their project. No other system has this flexibility.

Works in every application – ZEISS CinCraft Scenario provides camera tracking data for use in all major applications – no matter if it is for real-time or post-production workflows – adding yet another layer of flexibility.

Ease of use – ZEISS CinCraft Scenario introduces a user experience designed to match the film crew’s workflow. It works with regular off-the-shelf equipment and is natively compatible with major camera and lens encoder systems to provide all the data the system needs to track properly.

Plug & play – no cumbersome calibration when used with ZEISS cinema lenses.

State of the art UI – a clean layout and self-explanatory wizards guide the user to configure the hardware with tracking on a film set in every environment and scenario indoors, outdoors and studio.

Record & export – record and export camera tracking data in a variety of file formats to suit your VFX software, significantly reducing time and effort in post-production, especially in match moving.

Affordable – giving you the option to select the hardware and software licenses (and duration) that best fits your needs


Users will be able to configure their CinCraft Scenario camera tracking system according to their specific needs or choose one of four pre-configured bundles. ZEISS CinCraft Scenario will be available at the beginning of Q4, 2023 via the CinCraft website, or via ZEISS partner and Authorised CinCraft Scenario reseller, Creative Video Productions.

For further information on CinCraft Scenario, please visit: zeiss.ly/cincraft-scenario

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