VIRTUAL PRODUCTION INDUS TRY.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Season 1 of The Mandalorian used a virtual set – it was 75ft in diameter and 21ft high, with an LED ceiling
was a wide shot of them sitting on a rock that looked all wrong. The purple light reflecting on their faces made their skin tones jaundiced – so even though the colour reflections were accurate [and not green from chroma key], it’s a clear example of lighting quality not being quite where it needs to.” This is something manufacturers will have to figure out – and Mo-Sys’ Cinematic XR initiative is aimed at driving change in the image quality of LED panels. Purpose-built for cinematic and broadcast use, and designed by expert engineers, the solution improves final-pixel Unreal Engine image quality. Geissler explains: “There are two extremes of Unreal graphics quality. In final-pixel LED volume shoots, you sacrifice Unreal image quality for immediacy. That is, you can’t turn the Unreal quality dials up without dropping below a real-time frame rate. At the other end of the scale, post-production compositing enables non-real-time rendering with all the Unreal quality dials at maximum, but at the expense of time and cost. Mo-Sys’ new NearTime
rendering combines the immediacy of final pixels with graphics quality approaching offline compositing, stretching rendering time in a patented and automated workflow.” Another thing manufacturers need to keep in mind is that bigger is no longer better. LED displays are measured in pixel pitches (the distance in millimetres from the centre of one pixel to the centre of the adjacent pixel), and they need to be narrow enough for the images to be photographed. In our industry, panels with a pixel pitch of less than 4mm are known as ‘fine-pitch displays’, and displays with a pitch of less than 2.5mm are called ‘super fine-pitch displays’. From a marketing perspective, fine-pitch displays are indisputably the focal point of many vendors’ products, like Video Screen Services’ Black Pearl display, and boast vibrant colours, clear images and sufficient brightness. By contrast, On-Set Facilities, a rental company in the UK offering LED screens and monitors, advises that the bigger the pixel, the more light it outputs onto the actors. Therefore, very fine pixel pitches
may not be optimum for filming – but until the image quality of these panels improves, a lower output of beauty lighting is probably for the best. CAMERA TRACKING Another essential component is the ability to have the LED volume tracked to the camera movement by a wireless sensor. This means, as the DOP frames the shot on the LED wall, it adjusts to the camera’s perspective – and that’s no small feat, as it requires minimal to zero latency in order to work. Most tracking systems rely
29. SEPTEMBER 2021
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