04-27-2023 - Technology, News
Virtual Production for Cinema Demo at the 2023 NAB Show
By: Victoria Graham
The 2023 NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center took place April 14- 19th, where Sony presented demonstrations of the latest technology for virtual production. Visitors experienced live demonstrations of virtual production applications for cinema and broadcast industries with live actors and camera operators.
Virtual production can take us anywhere in the world – and even to other worlds – from the comfort of a studio set. This technique gives us the ability to composite a 2D or 3D background on a large LED display with the subject in front. It is quickly replacing green screen technology for cinema production as it can save significant time and money in post-production and can also be utilized for live broadcast events.
At the centennial NAB Show in Las Vegas, Sony offered live demos of the VENICE 2 in Rialto mode, which allows the user to separate the sensor from the camera body by 40 feet in conjunction with the Crystal LED B series display. The display featured a 1.5mm pixel pitch with a matte surface to eliminate reflection and offered an incredibly realistic image quality with a wide color gamut and high brightness capability. It’s ideal for virtual production as well as on-set use.
Sony is currently the only manufacturer providing high-end digital cinema cameras and the most advanced LED displays to create a complete cinematic ecosystem where they can work seamlessly together. This month, Sony introduced the Virtual Production Tool Set, which includes the Virtual VENICE camera and display plug-in and the color calibrator tool, which works with Unreal Engine. The new Virtual VENICE camera and display plug-in allows for more accurate planning of shots before principal photography.
On day one of the NAB Show, Phil Galler of Lux Machina and Rod Bogart of Epic Games joined a panel on the Sony Main Stage to discuss these new tools for cinematic virtual production. As Bogart explained, “Adopting this virtual production workflow has caused people to plan their projects better in general.” These new tools simplify color science, creating a closed-loop ecosystem that saves time, money and allows application for smaller projects that do not have the resources for extensive post-production.
The new tool set includes a Virtual VENICE camera and display plug-in and a Color Calibrator. When installed with Unreal Engine, the Virtual VENICE in the camera and display plugin allows users to reproduce the settings on the VENICE, VENICE 2, and Crystal LED display. This allows the Virtual Art Department to create assets using the VENICE’s color pipeline during pre-production for better planning prior to crews arriving on set.
Virtual VENICE also solves another common issue in Virtual Production: moiré. This happens when a mismatched interaction between the digital camera sensors and a repetitive pattern from the pixels of the LED display causes an undesirable interference pattern. To address this issue, the new Virtual VENICE plugin creates an alert system both in pre-production and during shoots, as moire is not always obvious to the naked eye.
With the Virtual VENICE working in tandem with the new Color Calibrator Tool, users can adjust the look of HDR-capable LED walls like the Crystal B series to seamlessly match the look of the Sony VENICE cameras. This eliminates the need for guesswork, reshoots, or complex LUTs on set. The result is a huge reduction in color calibration and post-production time.
The SonyCine team wrapped the show with four awards, including two NAB product of the Year awards for the FR7, pan-tilt-zoom cinema camera and the VENICE 2 Extension System, commonly referred to as the Rialto 2. The team also walked away with TV Tech’s Best of Show award for the Rialto 2 and an award for the FX30.
Want to learn more? Check out the full coverage of the 2023 NAB Show and learn more about Sony’s latest tools for virtual production at sonycine.com