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06-21-2024 - Technology

Sony's Virtual Production Tool Set Now Compatible with Anamorphic Lenses and Competitor LED Walls

By: SonyCine Team

Virtual Production sets, such as a volume or partial LED walls, are unique options for filmmakers who need exotic sets without traveling to exotic locations.

Yet, filming with an LED wall or volume comes with its own set of unique challenges, such as accurately matching the color between the digital cinema cameras and LED walls. To overcome these technical obstacles, Sony has released new additions to the Virtual Production Tool Set, a collection of features for Unreal Engine that unify the Sony VENICE and VENICE 2 cinema cameras with HDR-enabled LED walls.

The Camera and Display Plugin and Color Calibrator help to streamline pre-production and production and are now compatible with anamorphic lenses, as well as competitor HDR-enabled LED walls, including displays from ROE, Planar, and Sony’s own Crystal LED VERONA series.

A screenshot of the Sony Camera and Display Plugin

Simulating a VENICE

By using the Camera and Display Plugin in Unreal Engine, creatives can utilize a virtual VENICE camera within their digital environment. This digital version of the Sony cinema camera can simulate: the color science of the VENICE, the selected exposure index and Neutral Density (ND) filters, and recreate shallow depth of field on the LED wall.

In addition, the plugin can simulate “film back” (scanning the area of the image sensor). This is useful to get the correct size and aspect ratio for pre-vis or displaying inner frustum on LED displays on a stage. The “Film back” simulation can also reflect the desqueeze factor if you are using anamorphic lenses.

This not only unifies the camera department and Virtual Art Department (VAD), but gives more creative control to users.

The plugin also helps with lens choice and camera placement by displaying a custom moiré alert. By using the pixel pitch of the LED wall, filmmakers can find the perfect place for their camera and avoid artifacts that may be caused by virtual production technologies. The moiré alert is also active throughout the shoot, giving the camera department an active view of any issues that an LED wall may be causing.

In addition, any settings from the virtual camera can then be exported and utilized directly with the VENICE or VENICE 2 that is used on set.

Finally, the new suite of tools also provides a new Color Calibrator, ensuring proper color reproduction when shooting on the VENICE or VENICE 2. Much like a Macbeth Color Checker Chart, the Color Calibrator captures a unique grid on the LED wall that is displayed by the Camera and Display Plugin. This tool can work on SDR and HDR walls whether it’s Sony’s Crystal LED VERONA series, or a competitor’s.

These readings are then analyzed to generate a dedicated 3D LUT that is used with your LED controller, color management tool or Unreal Engine. Now, no matter which LED wall you’re using, the colors recorded will match the intended look of the VENICE.

A screenshot of the Sony Color Calibrator

Explore the New Toolset

Sony’s Camera and Display Plugin and Color Calibrator are not only bridging the gap between hardware and software, but between pre-production and production.

With both tools at their disposal, filmmakers can get quick and easy color accuracy, depth of field, and reduced moiré when working with virtual sets.

The Camera and Display Plugin and Color Calibrator are now available and free to download on the Unreal Engine marketplace.

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