Providing the very best in complete LED Virtual Production solutions.
Virtual Production (VP) is the ‘umbrella term’ for describing 6-8 variations of creating composited visual effects in real-time, by combining camera-tracked computer graphic imagery (CGI) with real camera footage.
In the TV/cinematic world they use the term ‘real-time VFX’ (real-time visual effects) or ICVFX (in-camera visual effects) because the composited visual effect shot happens in front of the camera in real-time, rather than in a computer in non-real-time.
In simple terms then, virtual production is the blending of a CGI scene or object with a physical camera feed, using camera tracking as the glue, to create real-time VFX content in the camera.
Virtual Production has been in existence since the mid-1990s, and up until about 6 years ago it was used exclusively for broadcast productions, typically sports, news, and weather. In this version the graphics engine creating the virtual studio was basic, certainly not photo-realistic, and the camera tracking used to blend the virtual studio to the camera movement, was neither sufficiently accurate nor did it enable full unrestricted camera movement. It also required a green screen studio to enable the talent to be separated from the physical studio, and for the virtual CGI studio to replace the green.
Around 2016 people began experimenting with Epic Games’s Unreal Engine to create far more photo-realistic virtual studios (VS) or augmented reality (AR) content for cinematic productions using blue/green screen studios. At that stage the use case was to avoid making VFX errors on set that were costly to fix in post-production, or even worse, they required a re-shoot. The system used proxy quality CGI assets, and it worked brilliantly in enabling productions to see in a monitor, and then fix on-set, any eyeline or positional VFX errors. But this system still required the lengthy and costly post-production compositing stage after shooting. The goal then was to move to real-time visual effects using full quality CGI assets.
Although not the first production to use LED screens or ‘LED volumes’ for virtual production, Disney’s “The Mandalorian” released in November 2019 changed cinematic features/episodic TV production forever. For the first time, two key technological innovations came together – full quality photo-realistic CGI scenes used in real-time, being displayed on an LED screen or ‘volume’. For the first time this enabled what was shot on set to be the complete VFX shot captured ‘in-camera’, which was referred to as ‘final pixel’. It wasn’t quite that simple in the end, but the concept of shooting visual effects shots in real-time was firmly established, as was using LED screens to display the virtual scene instead of using blue/green screens and adding the virtual scene in post-production.
Today the technology has developed further. The LED tiles are more ‘cinematic’ in their colour and light properties, the Unreal Engine virtual scenes are even more photo-realistic thanks to developments in graphic processing cards (GPU), and the camera tracking – the glue that blends the virtual CGI world to the real world that the camera sees – has become more accurate and is now able to accommodate virtually any camera or lens movement.
Today, this same virtual production technology, along with all of the benefits it provides, is available to the corporate sector. But not every manufacturer or systems integrator can offer a complete solution, in fact very few can. Bendac is one of the few companies who have the background and experience to offer complete LED VP studios for the corporate sector.
LED Virtual Production is the most exciting development today in broadcast, cinematic features and TV. It dominates the press and is part of most exhibitions, seminars, and forward-looking discussions. The same technology and the same benefits are now available to corporate entities.
The excitement over LED Virtual Production is all down to the key benefits Virtual Production provides:
The excitement over VP is all down to the key benefits VP provides:
Very few companies have the experience or knowledge to deliver corporate LED Virtual Production solutions, avoiding all the known challenges of LED Virtual Production, whilst delivering optimised workflows with calibrated colour pipelines, and crucially accompanied by craft LED Virtual Production training to enable a traditional corporate video team to extract the full value LED Virtual Production provides.
Bendac is unique in being able to combine its considerable LED experience with a team comprising individuals with 25+ years of virtual production experience. Mike Grieve, Bendac’s CCO, has been involved in virtual production from its start in the mid-1990s, and has been involved in every major development of the technology to the current day. His experience across broadcast, cinematic, and TV, both commercially and technically, helps ensure the Bendac engineering team is creating, delivering, and supporting the very latest LED Virtual Production solutions.
Very few companies have the experience or knowledge to deliver corporate VP solutions, avoiding all the known challenges of LED VP, whilst delivering optimised workflows with calibrated colour pipelines, and crucially accompanied by craft VP training to enable a traditional corporate video team to extract the full value VP provides.
Bendac is unique in being able to combine its considerable LED experience with a team comprising individuals with 25+ years of virtual production experience. Mike Grieve, Bendac’s CCO, has been involved in virtual production from its start in the mid-1990s, and has been involved in every major development of the technology to the current day. His experience across broadcast, cinematic, and TV, both commercially and technically, helps ensure the Bendac engineering team is creating, delivering, and supporting the very latest LED VP solutions.
Bendac’s value proposition and differentiation, starts with its deep LED technical and operational knowledge. Not all LED tiles are suitable for virtual production, and knowing the correct combination of technical features and key components used in a LED tile, enables us to select the best tiles for image reproduction through a camera chain.
Next comes our experience and understanding of TV systems integration, lighting design and implementation, and visual effects compositing, the key essentials required before adding in the virtual production components to complete a Virtual Production system.
Then our expertise in camera tracking, LED processors and content servers, colour pipelines, and Epic’s Unreal Engine, enables us to design any type of virtual production solution a corporate requires, taking into consideration the space, power, and HVAC available.
Importantly Bendac’s Virtual Production solutions are based on the same equipment used by broadcasters, studios, and streamers to produce live entertainment and cinematic productions. Bendac also uses a colour pipeline system developed by Netflix and partners to ensure colour consistency from the graphics engine driving the LED screen, to the content recorded through the camera.
Lastly, we fully understand that the most difficult part of transitioning to new technology, isn’t the technology itself, it’s transitioning the people who will use it. That’s why we’ve developed a virtual production craft training course delivered through a commercial LED Virtual Production facility servicing television and cinematic customers.
Each corporate LED Virtual Production system delivered is then supported by Bendac’s technical team through a comprehensive SLA agreement, tailored to the demands and budgets of each customer.
Whether you require consultancy on a LED Virtual Production studio, or you require a full system integration proposal, fill in the form below and one of our consultants will connect with you.
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Our comprehensive guide to building LED VP studios with Bendac’s complete solutions