Definition August 2024 - Web


MAMA MURPHY’S LAW Syncing 35mm with LED walls was key to making Fallout work

with uninterrupted space would be a concern. “Finding a suitable stage near the Brooklyn base of the production was a challenge, though we ultimately built the volume in Bethpage, Long Island,” he says. Fallout ’s LED wall was built using ROE Black Pearl 2V2 panels, controlled by Brompton Tessera SX40 processors. “For tracking,” Sciutto adds, “we used the Stype RedSpy cameras and the Stype Follower system for objects.” The facility’s servers, meanwhile, are packaged up in a shipping container, built out by Fuse to provide 12 4K outputs to drive the LED wall, and another six for wild walls to be positioned for specific set-ups. “It’s all operated by six operator stations in mission control,” Sciutto continues. “From our team, 37 people worked on Fallout over the full season. We had 19 artists building virtual sets, six operators running the Unreal nDisplay system – with others handling camera tracking, lighting programming and overall production supervision.” With the technical set-up in place, Sciutto and his team could move on to design. The economics of VP have always worked best on shows which might otherwise have relied on upscale set builds, as it was on Fallout . “We collaborated closely with production designer Howard Cummings and his art directors to determine what would be built physically versus virtually. With the scale of the environments, replacing those with physical set builds would have required massive stages or locations,” Sciutto highlights. 35mm had largely petered out in the 2010s, but Fallout is part of something of a revival. The intersection of 35mm film and VP, however, has been reasonably rare – though Sciutto immediately

understood the method. “It brought a distinctive aesthetic, an artistic grit and a layer of separation between the different elements of the wasteland. But it also presented technical challenges, such as syncing the film camera with the digital LED walls and ensuring colour consistency between physical and virtual elements.” Fallout was shot on ARRICAM ST, genlocked to the video wall systems, but matching colour between the real and virtual worlds took deeper thinking. Colour in VP is often an iterative process, but on 35mm that would be slower. “Part of commissioning an LED volume is ensuring a validated colour

pipeline,” Sciutto explains. “You start with the source content in Unreal, route it through the various equipment and display technologies, then finish with the captured imagery in-camera. The process of developing the film captured on our pre-light days created a three- day turnaround from shoot to review. The video tap on a film camera is meant for framing – not colour accuracy – so we used secondary digital camera systems, allowing our operators to have accurate data to dial against.” Sciutto and his group also worked closely with Fallout ’s lighting team on an image-based lighting set-up capable of reacting convincingly to alterations in the virtual world. “It allowed us to dynamically change the lighting in real time, such as during a scene where lights needed to turn on while Lucy was exiting an elevator in the vault door environment. That on- the-fly adjustment wouldn’t be possible without a synchronised lighting system.” The speculative future of Fallout called for a variety of spectacular




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