Advanced Television

Lightware Visual Engineering helps guarantee LED capture quality

March 8, 2022

Lightware Visual Engineering is providing critical equipment that ensures the highest image fidelity on the XR stages undertaking the shooting of many high profile TV shows, movies, and live performances to hit the world’s screens in 2022.

As XR technology evolutionizes the film and broadcast sector, with the technology being used on filming for The Mandalorian, Batman, The Lion King, Thor: Love And Thunder, and more, and companies such as Riot Games use XR to broadcast leading eSports tournaments, the use of LED capture volumes to provide game-changing realism for virtual production environments is truly taking off. 

A typical workflow uses disguise’s XR (eXtended Reality) technology to shoot real life actors in front of state-of-the-art wraparound LED screens which display the realtime computer generated backgrounds that feature in the finished content. Unlike traditional green screen techniques, XR provides environmental lighting to the real life actors and props, providing superior effects shots while also delivering more naturalistic performances as the actors can see the CG elements they are interacting with. XR-shot sequences also require much less post production to correct errors such as spill that can break the suspension of disbelief and reveal a shot to be studio-bound.

One of the key requirements for the XR Screens that make up the capture volumes is for a robust and reliable AV infrastructure to do the heavy lifting of uncompressed video signal management, without which the photorealism is compromised. This is where Lightware’s MX2 matrix switchers come in and have rapidly established themselves as an integral part of the growing number of XR stages being built around the world, offering uncompromising 4K60, zero latency video transfer over HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort 1.2 connections at large-scale cross-point layout.

“Productions spend a lot of money generating the pixels used for backgrounds in high profile shows such as The Mandalorian and others, and it is critical that each and every one of those pixels is delivered exactly where it needs to go when it needs to be there,” says Gergely Vida, founder and CEO of Lightware Visual Engineering. “That is precisely what our MX2 matrix switcher has been engineered to do, at scale, with no latency, and at 24 frames per second every second.”

The units are also fully redundant, which is an important consideration given XR’s growing use in live events work such as Billie Eilish’s ‘Where Do We Go – The Live Stream’ and Katy Perry’s ‘Singles Day’ performance for Alibaba. As such they feature hot-swappable N+1 redundant power supplies so that if one of the supplies fails unexpectedly, the remaining PSU units continue to operate allowing the XR system to continue seamlessly.

“More and more XR stages are being built worldwide and the need for mission critical components that can guarantee performance is becoming more and more obvious,” says Vida. “As well as live work and for high-end and high-profile shows and movies, LED capture technology is being used in an increasing number of productions as costs come down. It is seen as an ever more capable and sustainable alternative to location shooting for all genres, as well as an upgrade to top of the range virtual studio environments. We are delighted to be involved with its rollout and look forward to helping the technology progress ever further to larger capture volumes and even more photorealistic looks in the future.”

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