Virtual Production

The Benefits of Virtual Production Combined with LED Wall Stage

Using a set of software and tools—a real-time camera tracking system composed of a camera tracker and Unreal Engine, "virtual production" harmoniously blends real and simulated aspects. Studios may shoot on a stage while simultaneously monitoring digital visuals in real time. It's as easy as changing the wallpaper to immerse yourself in a new locale. In the modern film industry, the directors, performers, and everyone else involved has quick access to the finished product and can make adjustments as necessary.

Thanks to virtual production, the days of waiting until post-production to apply visual effects are over. The pre-production process now includes working on and iterating on these (known as previs). As opposed to the previous adage "fix it in post," the new adage is "fix it in pre." Although there are challenges, virtual production offers many opportunities for studios.

A filming scene of a space movie made possible by virtual production.
A filming scene of a space movie made possible by virtual production.

What is a Virtual Production LED Wall?

Suppose you are in a film right now, where you may engage with the local wildlife and environment, record the weather, photograph the fascinating critters approaching you, and see the dramatic shifts in light and shadow that occur from dawn to sunset.

That's fascinating and probably not something you'll run upon in the real world. However, now that you have the LED video wall for virtual production, you can do actions like this in real-time! It is also a technology that is becoming closer and closer to being used by the general public.

The Advantages of Virtual Production

There's more to virtual production than simply communicating virtually. Hence, studios may now expand their facilities, experiment more, and produce high-quality outputs sooner.

Time-Saving and Cost-Saving

Studios may save costs and speed up production via virtual production. With the use of technology, shooting scenes may be done without having to be there physically. The proper decisions may be made with the actors on site if creative decisions and modifications are made beforehand. In turn, this results in more polished takes and fewer edits.

Real-Time Previewing with More Natural Performance

Contributors to virtual worlds now have the ability to see precisely what they are recording thanks to the introduction of virtual cameras, LED video walls, and live compositing that incorporates a green screen. Due to LED walls, shooting directors and performers may see what the set looks like from both the cameras and their own perspectives.

Library of Assets

Pre-built assets from resource repositories may be integrated into a virtual asset. Without starting from scratch, they may be easily adapted and customized to fit the requirements of each production. The cost of these virtual assets is reduced because they are stored electronically, eliminating the need for actual storage, labor, and transportation.

Enhanced Visibility, More Realism

Filmmaking has always been rather compartmentalized. Many people did not notice the computer-generated imagery (CGI) visuals or the rewritten stories until the film was finally released. From previs all the way to post-production, everyone involved may have more comprehensive visibility and more realism, thanks to virtual production.

More Creative Freedom and Possibilities

Now, decentralized teams from all over the world may simultaneously produce virtual content without any delays. Filmmakers now have the ability to build their crews with creatives and technical professionals from anywhere in the world, regardless of their location. The number of possibilities expands without any corresponding rise in cost. Ultimately, with the help of virtual production technology, the possibilities for filming and video production become excitingly limitless.

What Visual Effect Studios Need for
LED Virtual Production

Here are some of the important elements needed by visual effect studios for virtual production:

Game Engines (Unreal Engine 5)

Engines for creating video games (game engines) are the backbone of the virtual production industry. After Unreal Engine 5 is released, studios are able to quickly and easily add new environments, as well as modify existing ones with new sounds, animations, and lighting.

Camera Tracking System

Camera Tracking System is essential to the efficacy of LED displays. Camera tracking systems recognize which tangible point the camera is positioned and translate the data into a 3D camera that inputs into Unreal, completing the technology necessary to have the correct parallax on the scene. With this information, the engine can project the appropriate data and adjust the light reflection accordingly. The data is also stored so the camera's info may be forwarded immediately to post-production if necessary.

LED Display

Blue and green displays are being phased out in favor of newer, more LED display technologies. The standard production workflow involves sending the shots to the visual effect department so they can be adjusted to the correct setting. Plate lighting may be adjusted to meet the needs of this distinct world. However, without the intermediate stages of the traditional visual effects pipeline, the reflections, backdrop, and props are all instantly experiencing this lighting shift and matching exactly on the LED display.

Cloud Data Management

Quick access is essential when many huge files need to be opened simultaneously. More people from various locations may work together by transferring operations to the cloud.

Digital Asset Management

While cloud storage facilitates file access, it is not a replacement for a comprehensive data management strategy. Everything can be bundled into a gaming engine with little effort. Traditional methods of transferring data, such as using cloud storage services like Dropbox or lugging around bulky hard drives, are no longer practical or efficient. Technologies for digital asset management allow businesses to protect their assets better and work together.

Digital Project Management

A significant number of movable components are often involved in virtual production processes. It is essential to have a tool for project management that can easily adjust to changing circumstances and boost visibility in order to keep everyone on track.

Virtual Art Department (Artists)

Virtual Art Department (VAD) creates digital assets in films, such as characters, props, and scouting. VAD artists contribute to the design process by evaluating whether or not a proposed set construction is feasible. They take photos of sets and locations, do digital scouting, and create rough sets for the director of photography to pre-light.

LED wall used for virtual production and more
LED wall used for virtual production and more

Tips for Shooting on an LED Virtual Production Stage

The following are some of the most important pieces of advice that various cinematographers have shared with regard to shooting on an LED virtual production stage:

Shoot with a Large Format

The displays should be somewhat out of focus to avoid a diffraction pattern effect caused by the LED pixels. The smaller depth of focus of an LF (large format) camera is helpful here.

Avoid Fast Camera Moves

Real-time rendering of a virtual backdrop consumes a lot of computing resources. Thus there is always a delay. The Mandalorian gets around this problem by filming in a traditional approach, which works well inside the Star Wars world, relying more on dolly movements and jibs than on many handheld shots. The backdrop delay becomes more pronounced the quicker the camera moves. High frame rates are discouraged for a similar reason. However, this limitation will certainly disappear as computing power improves.

Keep Your Distance

To preserve the effect of the illusion, the performer and the camera should avoid getting too near to the displays. Rule of thumb: the space in meters shouldn't be smaller than the screen pixel pitch. The actual camera-to-screen distance depends on the effects that creators are looking for, as well as the chosen shooting scene.

Final Words

Here, we discussed a current subject in the industry: virtual production stage and LED walls for filming. Since this represents a shift toward far greater overall efficiency and more sophisticated end results, it is something that everyone involved in multimedia content creation should be aware of.

So, please don't hesitate and get in touch with us immediately if you have any questions or concerns about the uses and applications of LED displays.

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