Definition August 2021 - Web


IMAGE The use of LED volume on The Mandalorian has created a new standard for production

problems start to arise, because once lit, that green will spill out on to the actors and set, creating reflections that are extremely costly to remove in post. I’m not a soothsayer, but I think, even just for the benefit of this, LED volume is a no-brainer. It’s not easy, though. You need special teams to operate the screens and people who can run Unreal Engine and do the rendering. You can’t just click on an object with your mouse and move it around. An action like that can sometimes take three or four hours to render – and that wouldn’t work in a real-world set, because you can’t have actors and crew waiting for the machine to render a change. You have to be ready and there’s a lot of prep involved, but this isn’t just going to be another 3D blip. Virtual production is definitely here to stay, and the technology is going to keep getting better and better.

the quality of the panels is not excellent, and they cannot be used to light the actors alone. Arri, among other companies, makes very high-end lights, but how we make those is quite complicated and expensive. These lights also had years and years of research put into them, and the panels market – which is dominated by China – is still relatively new. What is the benefit of LED volume if there is still work to be done? PRIOR: The lighting quality of the panels isn’t great, but what they’re able to show you is the correct colour. So, if you’re in a dark green forest, or next to a vibrant orange fire, this is what will be reflected off the screen and on to the actors. Scenes like this are traditionally done using green screen, which needs to be lit, because it’s made out of fabric. However, this is where

our shows, it’s nice to see that they’re all slightly different.

Arri Rental has just opened its own mixed- reality studio. Is this a sign the industry is committing to virtual production? PRIOR: Absolutely. All the major studios either already have LED volume, or are working towards having it. Warner Bros. just announced a 24,000 sq ft stage at Leavesden, and Disney has an entire wing of its company dedicated to mixed reality, which is used to provide LED volume to its own shows, as well as others. And that’s something we took note of – we wanted to be able to provide this technology similarly to multiple productions. Soon, it will make sense for all stages to have panels on the walls instead of blue or green screen, because they can actually create the perfect chroma key. Right now,

AUGUST 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 25

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