Sairo Studios

Using vGPUs to generate an immersive sea level predictive simulation

Rising Tides Climate Change in Morecambe Bay

Project Approach

Lancaster and Morecambe College approached Sairo Studios in October 2022 with a proposal to visualise what it would be like if the predicted sea levels in the local area actually happened. Following a recent investment into immersive equipment, including a 360 Igloo and a range of Pico VR headsets, the college wanted curated immersive educational content that brought global warning closer to home for their student body.

Project Approach

Sairo approached the project with an open mind wanting to try new technologies and techniques, in order to deliver the brief. The first challenge was capturing land data that was to a high enough fidelity to be used, so Sairo chose to partner with Christians Survey & Inspection Solutions, which provided access to the highest quality drone photogrammetry data. Photogrammetry is the process of using photographic data to capture an object and then running the data through a software such as Reality Capture or Agisoft to produce a digital twin. This process yielded both topographic and texture data for the experience, and was combined with further data from satellite imagery firm Bluesky World - although of a lower quality, it covered a much larger area. Finally, the Sairo team then collected a range of terrestrial scans of smaller objects that the drone team could not capture.

From the initial phases of the project, Sairo intended to use Unreal Engine for rendering, as the experience needed to be as photorealistic as possible. Working within Unreal 5 caused several unexpected problems in creating the desired outcome, so three additional plugins were required to address these issues - firstly a water engine; secondly, tree scans with accompanying physics and lastly, one for the 360 cameras. Using the plugins also came with their own challenges meaning many hours of perseverance and troubleshooting were required to ensure the project was up to standard. Finally, Sairo discovered it didn’t have enough computational power to render the complete experience, so turned to a cloud platform to use virtualised GPUs (vGPU) with enough power to load, render and export the project.

Video 2
Video 2

Project Results

The final result is the short film ‘Rising Tides Climate Change in Morecambe Bay’. Rather than just create the simulated digital environment to demonstrate water level rise, the team worked with Tom Naylor, known as TAB Music, to score the project track. Alongside the score, foley - the reproduction of natural sound effects - was undertaken by Joshua Haworth, who recorded on-site in Morecambe, as well as mixing and mastering the project at The Grand Studio in Clitheroe. Finally, Jon Carter from the local RSPB, was asked to narrate the film.

Video 2

The short film has been shown to a number of local schools and colleges in the area, and Sairo plan on entering it into a range of immersive film festivals once the formal launch to the public has taken place.

The Scan Partnership

The Scan Cloud team supported Sairo Studio’s project firstly by offering a proof of concept of the capabilities of the vGPU platform. This then led to sizing of a 32GB vGPU instance allowing the complex render to be completed in a 12-hour period. If available, Sairo’s own hardware would have taken a far greater period - if successful at all.

This part of the project was seamless, as the secure nature of the Scan Cloud platform, hosted in a leading UK datacentre, simply acted as a boost capacity incurring no data upload obstacles or additional costs. Because the project was being rendered on vGPUs, the Sairo team also benefited from being able to seamlessly work on the project from anywhere, updating and tweaking the render multiple times not just from their office in Lancashire, but also from different locations globally, including via a laptop in Hungary.

“Our final issue with the project is where Scan came to save us. We didn’t have enough computational power to render this experience. They allowed us to use their virtual compute power to load, render and export the project. Without this we simply wouldn't have been able to run the render.”

Matty Hall, COO, Sairo Studios

Related content

Feature Page
About Sairo

Learn about the other visual projects being undertaken by the team.

Read more