WORKFLOW V I RTUA L PRODUC T I ON .
us to perfectly blend physical floors into the background. When you’ve got different pools of light, it becomes harder, but there is this relatively new tool in Unreal Engine, called colour correct regions. We’re essentially colour grading, but instead of working globally, can place adjustments in a 3D space. “By creating different depths with props on the stage, you also give the focus puller more planes of focus. Sometimes, if your talent is very sharp and the background is out of focus, your brain will wonder why there are only two different focal depths.” The most obvious adjustment for the camera operator and focus puller is maintaining the volume immersion. Framing off the wall, or highlighting the panels in sharp focus, need to be avoided. “There’s also a little bit of latency between the camera and what we call the camera frustum, which is the projected view of the camera onto our wall – it takes some getting used to. Our wall is quite good, with a delay of about six frames. But if you want to do quick whip pans or erratic camerawork, we need to overscan the camera frustum,” the virtual production supervisor explains. “We normally render what the camera can see at the highest resolution. Whatever the camera
SHAPING THE SHOOT The evolution of traditional on-set roles can be noted by no one more accurately than Garden Studios virtual production supervisor, Mark Pilborough-Skinner. Among a host of broader production spaces, the studio became home to one of the UK’s first permanent LED volumes when the technology first rose to prominence. Garden Studios’ volume itself is comprised of Roe Diamond panels, spread across a 12x4m back wall. A ceiling is built with Carbon 5 fixtures, offering a lower pixel pitch, but increased brightness of 6000 nits. That’s enough for around 80% of a typical shoot’s fill light. “The physical and digital art departments have to be in close communication,” Pilborough- Skinner notes. “You need to make sure that your physical foreground props match the digital ones, otherwise there’ll be a big disconnect when you’re looking at the final pixel frame. “It’s the same with flooring, although it’s possible now for “Physical and digital art departments have to be in close communication”
can’t see, we render the lowest quality, so you’ll still get all the lighting effects. The only caveat is if you’ve got lots of reflective props.” With much of a scene’s lighting provided by the volume itself, the gaffer’s role has undoubtedly changed – but not for the worse, according to Pilborough-Skinner. “Gaffers may think a lot of their normal remit has been moved to the hands of the technical team behind the volume. But, actually, we say our LED ceiling is just another lighting source for them. “We recently did a day and night time-lapse shot. Our ceiling panel was changing from warm to cold, but the gaffer and DOP didn’t think it was punchy enough. They asked us to create blue and red circles overhead, and animate
ON THE AIR Virtual production is making waves – not only in the film industry, but across live broadcast, too
CONTRAST Nvidia’s Omniverse platform enables multi-tool collaboration between all creatives working within the complex 3D workflow. Real-time renderings of each change are offered, in pre-production or even on-set
65. MAY 2022
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