As cinematographers and studios demand a flexible, realistic and timely way to transport viewers to imagined or remote destinations, especially with the restrictions presented by the pandemic, virtual production is quickly becoming the hottest alternative to on-location shooting. Instead of using blue- or greenscreen technology, which adds characters or locations in post, storytellers are turning to virtual production as a cost-effective and accommodating solution for creating virtual environments that can be interacted with on-set, captured in-camera and finished in realtime.
At Sony, product managers are testing how digital cinema cameras, such as the original Venice and the Venice 2, can be optimally paired with the Crystal LED wall to create cinematic images more easily while decreasing the work in post. Our engineers are currently testing, among other things, color calibration tools, which provide a consistent color pipeline for virtual production workflow embracing Venice and Crystal LED.
As a creative entertainment company with a hand in electronics, movies and gaming, as well as a stake in some of the most influential providers of rendering and visualization toolsets, Sony is in a unique position to leverage the latest innovations and develop products that work together to optimize workflows. With technology that spans across the production, distribution and viewing chain, Sony’s holistic capabilities and potential are hard to match.
The company’s high-performance Crystal LED display and original Venice digital cinema camera can be used to facilitate a dynamic virtual production environment that leverages the same wide color gamut. In fact, the B-series Crystal LED display is purpose-built for virtual production environments, developed in close collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment and the filmmaking community. Sony also works alongside thought leaders, like Epic Games, on virtual production solutions, supporting Epic’s Unreal Engine and In-Camera Visual Effects (ICVFX) toolset to help bring the virtual world into the real world.
Recently, Sony worked with Epic Games to test the performance of our original Venice camera in comparison to competitor cameras and walls, including our new Crystal LED wall. The tests compared a variety of aspects and challenges that productions face, including skin tones, color calibration, moire and more. The test findings and analysis will help to improve the virtual production user experience and workflow.
At Sony, we’re focused on continuing to test and intensify our work with leaders in the virtual production realm to create solutions that are easy to use and establish a streamlined workflow, while addressing common challenges. To help achieve this, we recently launched a group, which I manage, dedicated to new areas of business, including virtual production, which builds on our commitment to the community and our customer base. Together we can help identify and establish new standards for the industry and serve as a trusted resource and expert in this evolving space.
As the industry embraces this new workflow, Sony is prepared to enable creators with intuitive, high-quality tools to enhance their storytelling and minimize the costs associated with traveling to different locations — all while providing new and engaging levels of reality.
Kevin O’Connor is the Head of New Media Sales and Business Development for Sony Electronics (pro.sony).