Enjoying recent success at the SME Business Elite Awards 2021, winner of the Best Platform for Visual Experience Development 2021, Disguise Technologies is a platform for creative and technical professionals to imagine, create and deliver the world’s most spectacular live visual experiences. By combining the leading experience production software with powerful media server hardware, Disguise empowers brands, artists, production houses, and partners to tell stories that inspire their audiences.
Established in 2000, Disguise Technologies was developed to deliver show-stopping visuals at concerts for artists like Massive Attack and U2. Today, Disguise is a global operation with offices in London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Shanghai. Its technology has sold in over 50 countries and offers technical support in all regions to meet customers worldwide. Content Marketing Manager Joni Lindes explains, “Our vision is to be at the heart of every inspiring live experience in the world. We do this by creating a powerful, collaborative environment where artists and technologists can bring their shared vision to life. Our core values are linked to the motto of ‘Create Together.’ With this, we hope to empower our users to create amazing experiences and use our technology to bring them to life.”
Its combination of versatile software and robust hardware technology helps users design, sequence and control the most spectacular productions. Initially, Disguise operated within the live event space for over two decades. Its workflow has powered global concert tours for artists like U2 and Beyoncé, festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury, and theatre productions such as Frozen and Harry Potter. Joni states, “Although our core motto of ‘Create Together’ hasn’t changed, the projects our technology powers certainly have. We have led the way in Extended Reality (XR) for remote virtual production across film and TV, broadcast, live music, corporate events, and many other creative projects in the past year. Our award-winning XR workflow has enabled over 300 productions in the past 12 months, for music artists such as Katy Perry and Billie Eilish, broadcast TV channels like ITV and Eurosport, enterprise businesses like SAP and Siemens, educational institutions like the University of Michigan and notable VFX studios like Framestore and DNEG.”
Disguise partners closely with Epic Games, NVIDIA, Netflix, and many more to further develop and democratise its virtual production solution and enable teams anywhere to create their best story with the most innovative tools. The last few years have seen Disguise push the boundaries of technological innovation and expand into new markets, resulting in a significantly increased turnover. As a result, Disguise was recognised in the 22nd annual Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 as one of Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing profits over the last three years.
Joni explains, “Disguise caters to creative and technical teams for any project. These include Technical Directors, Video Supervisors, Junior Software Engineers and Programmers on the technical side to Producers, Visual Supervisors, show designers and 3D artists on the creative side and many more individuals involved in bringing creative projects to life. We operate across a multitude of industries, mainly in live concerts, film, broadcast, sports and eSports, fixed installations as well as corporate events, to name a few.”
Disguise has over 20 years of experience in live events, which has led to developing solutions that take technical difficulties out of the equation. This is ideal for live performances and broadcasts where the margin for error is non-existent.
Disguise also makes it easier for clients to adjust on the fly. Joni states, “Using our software, clients can pre-visualise creative concepts and make any necessary changes to graphics directly from the Disguise timeline to enhance production efficiencies. This is game-changing, and our customers echo this.”
Additionally, “Disguise staff or, as we like to call them, ‘Disguisers’, play a core role in enabling the success of the business. We are open, meaning we are transparent with our users and make them feel part of the disguise community. We are also brave, meaning we are always willing to learn and are not afraid to take a difficult path. We are responsive, structurally agile and respond quickly to users’ needs. We are also all-in – meaning we are dedicated to solving any issue and don’t give up until we find a solution.”
However, there was a shock to Disguise and the community when Covid-19 came into place. Joni explains, “Before the pandemic, Disguise specialised primarily in delivering technology to create amazing visuals for live concerts and fixed installations, and the global pandemic brought all that to an end, and users were left without any projects to work on. If we did nothing, business would inevitably dry up and come to a standstill, so we responded by completely transforming our core business, offering and delivering a new solution five months ahead of schedule.”
Its extended reality (XR) solution, an R&D initiative before, became its new core product offering. Joni explains, “Our solution blurs the barrier between imagination and reality. Instead of using green screens, TV broadcasters and film directors can have computer-generated graphics on set in real-time, enabling a far more naturalistic performance from actors as well as the ability to make changes while shooting.”
Disguise has empowered its community of users, many of whom worked in the live events space, to learn how to use extended reality tools on its free-learning platform. They have been using this to deliver engaging visual experiences for a virtual audience in live-streamed concerts and even virtual corporate events. In addition, using Disguise’s Community platform, clients can collaborate and look for new opportunities.
“In 2021,” Joni states, “we are entering a new phase of our growth development. With recent backing from the Carlyle Group and Epic Games, we will continue to innovate and improve within the extended reality space – making it easier and more accessible for our users to access and use in their creative projects. We are particularly interested in expanding our extended reality capabilities in the virtual production (film) and broadcast space. We have received a grant from the UK government fund InnovateUK, which has enabled us to dedicate time to research and develop innovative solutions in virtual production.
“We have also integrated the Academy Colour Encoding System (ACES) into our latest software offering and work with ACES to improve and enhance colour quality and standardisation within the disguise workflow, enabling users to produce virtual productions of high-end production quality,” Joni continues. “What we are very much looking forward to is the return of live events. In 2020, we were able to achieve record growth, despite losing our core group of users. Once they return, the possibilities for what Disguise can achieve will be endless.”
For further information, please contact Joni Lindes or visit disguise.one