Company Hopes Affordable Mistika VR and Other Tailored Packages Will Expand User Base

SGO will make its Linux-only Mistika finishing system more accessible this year with the introduction of less-expensive new Mac OS and Windows versions tailored to specific post-production tasks and disciplines. First up is Mistika VR, featuring powerful technology for real-time stitching of 360-degree images.

“We are slicing parts of the product into specific new products that are small brothers of Mistika, but with exactly the same native foundations to address specific industry needs,” said SGO CEO Miguel Angel Doncel in a press briefing this week.

The idea, Doncel explained, is that Mistika VR will work as a standalone application while still remaining part of an overall Mistika workflow. “It could become part of a multi-dimensional workflow that’s 100% compatible because the metadata is 100% the same,” he said. “Moving information in the workflow is extremely simple, and the flexibility we get with that is absolutely stunning.”

Up First: 360-Focused Mistika VR and Educational Mistika Insight

Mistika VR is built around Mistika’s immersive-reality toolset and will offer optical flow stitching in real time, SGO said, outstripping other stitching solutions. At the same time, it’s being presented with what SGO says is a new, more intuitive interface, and it will be available online as a pay-per-use application.

“We’re hugely excited about this,” said SGO Managing Director Geoff Mills. “Whereas Mistika as a finishing system is used by a small number of people, this application could be used by hundreds if not thousands of people who are involved in VR projects.”

And Mistika Insight will be a free, software-only training version of Mistika that uses the same toolset as its Mistika Ultima “hero suite.” Users will be supported by online tools and tutorials aimed at getting them up to speed with the capabilities of Mistika.

Also coming this year are Mistika Color, Mistika Conform, and potentially others, Mills said.

Pulling Tools Out of the Swiss Army Knife

Mistika is one of those packages that gets described as a Swiss Army knife — it has tools that address every aspect of post and finishing. The new strategy is to start offering Mistika’s technology in more narrowly tailored offerings that address individual parts of the process while still interchanging data seamlessly with one another. For those customers who need the do-everything bundle, the Mistika Ultima turnkey system will remain in development, offering feature parity with the other versions. But for everyone else, the new approach will offer less costly ways to adopt Mistika’s technology.

Mills said the concept grew out of its experience working with director Peter Jackson on the pipeline for his movies based on The Hobbit. For that production, Mistika was on location as an on-set look-development tool as well as populating the pipeline for dailies, conform, stereography, color and deliverables. That showed that Mistika was being used in different ways by different practitioners on the road from acquisition to delivery and suggested the potential for breaking the larger toolkit down into several smaller pieces under the Mistika banner.

“The important thing is we’re not taking Mistika as a product,” said Mills, revealing a new “Powered by Mistika” logo that will be featured on NAB signage. “We’re using Mistika as a technology.”