INDUS TRY. VIRTUAL PRODUCTION
Extreme LED ROE Visual, AGS and Megapixel VR have come together to launch a new product that pushes the possibilities of LED technology to the extreme. The new GhostFrame solution can display more than one image feed on an LED panel with different inputs that are invisible to the human eye, but visible to the camera. And it is aimed at film, broadcast and event production teams working on virtual productions. Creating multiple and hidden sources in one video feed gives production teams the freedom to operate without restrictions – reducing installation and production time, while allowing for real-time post-production in a near-zero latency environment. The PX1 LED timing controller, an advanced version of what the industry refers to as a receiver card, has a lot of processing power. This makes it possible to implement the GhostFrame features within the LED panel, not the processor, so that you can take maximum advantage of overall system capacity. The system works intuitively. In the processor, a user has control over which parts to enable, thereby reducing the risk for artifacts; it can assure perfect alignment between panel refresh rate and the camera shutter. The system offers four separate 4K inputs, and you can use several feeds in combination with tracking patterns and/or chroma key colours still – and hide these. Another advantage is that there is no need to pre-render or use special hardware to composite a combined feed.
turned on. The Startracker is best for a static studio, as the IR markers shouldn’t be moved often – and was used at MTV’s EMA Awards and on one of the most sophisticated virtual production shoots attempted by Netflix. Ncam’s inside-out tracking system succeeds where others struggle – with daylight, markerless, wireless tracking. Using two sensors on wide-angle lenses mounted underneath the camera lens, the software understands the 3D space, placing virtual elements in the scene. Ncam can integrate wherever you are shooting, with no need to prep a space – but beyond this ease of set-up, the primary benefit of the system is its ability to track outdoors. It’s been used on everything, from Star Wars to the Super Bowl. We haven’t even got to graphics cards yet, and the industry’s growing need for real-time ray tracing to increase image quality (maybe we’ll do that next issue), let alone what AI can do for virtual production (maybe the issue after). Nonetheless, progress is being made – virtual production has become democratised, and is 100% here to stay.
on a series of cameras following infrared trackers, either inside-out (sensor mounted on the camera viewing trackers around the set) or outside-in (sensors mounted on the set viewing trackers on the camera). There are benefits to both, with varying impacts on how you would build a set. Optitrack’s outside-in tracking method has been used for an incredible number of applications, and it is the system of choice for The Mandalorian on its virtual production stage. Traditionally used for character mocap, this method was also used for the recent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ’s performance capture. The solution uses sensors arranged around a stage, fitted with IR LEDs shining outwards. These track reflective silver orbs – IR markers – around the stage and, for our purposes, on the camera. While not as useful for live stage applications given the necessary visible markers, the accuracy is ideal for film applications, where they can either be hidden off- screen or replaced in post. Other go-to technologies include tracking systems from Mo-Sys and Ncam. The Startracker from Mo-Sys is an inside- out system, with a sensor and IR lights shining from the camera position to track IR markers on either the floor, or ceiling, of the studio. It is flexible; the trackers can be placed with no regard to location or spacing, even above a lighting grid – and after calibration, everything is set, and the system starts automatically when
ON THE SPOT Ncam’s Mk2 Camera Bar can be mounted on a camera, so that all tracking and lens data is computed locally
“Optitrack’s outside- in tracking method has been used for an incredible number of applications”
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