Virtual Stages: Transform your online events into a unique experience

Microsoft holds multiple events each year, bringing thousands of people together from different parts of the world so they can present product and busines updates both to its customers and to its partners.

Due to the self-isolation mandate caused by COVID-19, all the in-person events had to be cancelled. In light of the yearly MS Build event, Microsoft needed a solution to keep its event equally impactful to the audience, and ensure the audio and video quality, despite it being delivered online.

Microsoft Corp
Artificial Intelligence
Azure Kinect, Background Matting
In order to find a solution, Plain Concepts collaborated with Microsoft Corporation to develop a solution that speakers could easily use from the comfort of their homes, yet at the same time gave the audience the feeling that sessions had been professionally recorded. The application harnesses the power of Azure Kinect and the latest AI advances.


The speakers had to present without being able to travel to a studio or a television set, where a team of professionals (such as a camera or lighting assistant) could assist.
Virtual Stage


The technology consists of two separate parts. The Speaker Recorder app captures the colour and depth information through one or two Azure Kinect cameras. The speaker can use a presenter to scroll through PowerPoint slides and a wireless microphone.
In Azure, the Background Matting service uses depth information to generate inaccurate speaker segmentation. The backend then separates the background from the speaker, with high precision, generating a transparent video.
Once the speakers record the content, it then goes into production to add virtual scenarios, backgrounds, or presentation slides.
Virtual Stage


Thanks to the virtual stage, companies can now organize and manage online events in a professional way for their employees or customers.
Given covid-19, it is unknown when large, in-person events can take place again. As such, virtual events are becoming increasingly relevant due to the multiple benefits it proposes. One benefit is the production of the presentations is easier to coordinate among employees, with less time spent away from the daily business. Additionally, not having to rent large event spaces, cater food, or cover speakers' travel also leads to significant cost savings to the company.