Virtual production using LED screens has rapidly gone from a pioneering specialty to a mainstream technique. But the experience has not always been smooth, with the LED screen often being a fixed point that every other department must adapt around.
Brompton Technology, the manufacturer of video processing solutions for LED walls, has been working hard to change that and to ensure that the LED screen becomes a collaborative partner in the creative process rather than an obstacle. DPs are used to being able to adjust their shutter angle to achieve a particular creative effect or manage motion blur. But with an LED screen in the mix, they have often been restricted to selecting a specific shutter angle to avoid visual artifacts. No longer! Earlier this year, Brompton introduced ShutterSync, a feature that allows the refresh timing of the LED screen to be adjusted to match the chosen shutter angle of the camera.
It is a similar story with color, where LED screens can vary wildly. Brompton has pioneered ‘dynamic calibration’, a technology for LED that ensures accurate reproduction of colors within the gamut and intelligent management of out-of-gamut colors. Dynamic calibration also underpins the implementation of HDR video, which is increasingly becoming a requirement for virtual production — in part due to the ability to encode absolute color and brightness information into HDR content, which can then be faithfully reproduced on the LED screen.
Where custom color management or on-set grading is required, Brompton’s Tessera processors support the import of 3D LUTs in industry-standard .cube formats. The capability to manage those 3D LUTs is now integrated into leading tools, such as Pomfort LiveGrade, so that digital imaging technicians can now grade an LED screen in the same way they would manage any other monitor.
There are now even workflows available to support multi-camera virtual production shoots using LED screens. These rely upon Brompton’s ‘frame remapping’ technology, which allows multiple different content streams to be interlaced so that a frame from each stream is shown in turn.
The last 18 months have seen rapid, widespread adoption of virtual production using LED, and equally-rapid advances in the technology available to make the LED screen a full partner in the creative process. Brompton is continuing to support our many users in the space and advance the state-of-the-art for virtual production with LED.
Richard Mead is the CEO of Brompton Technology (www.bromptontech.com).