Keep under 4mm pixel pitch LED for virtual production

Keep under 4mm pixel pitch LED for virtual production

What if you’re a couple of guys in a LAB on a Friday and all you have is a 2m x 4m, 4mm (3.9) pixel pitch LED wall that you’ve been loaned by your mates at 80Six, looking at it, what could we get away with shooting on it?

That was this weeks OSF Friday Lab challenge. Usually, this particular panel is only used in our development studio for system testing, not for shooting. But what does an almost 4mm pixel pitch screen actually look like up close and personal; in a real cinema camera. It’s not bad, it’s not great either but if you take a look, it may be good enough for what you want to shoot.

As expected, Trying to not see the LED pixels in the camera, at this huge pitch size, is crazy hard, forget focussing anywhere within 4m of your LED, not gonna-happen you’ll see pixels in your final image, instead we had to position the talent at least 4m away from the screen, supporting the basic rule of thumb of having your talent 1mm = 1m from the LED (approx).

We then went wide open on the iris of our old RED zoom (2.9), we then hit max on the LED processors nits (to try and get as much light between the spaced out LED pixels as possible) but, then we had to ND filter up to counter the maxed out LED. Even then we struggled, a 2.9 could really do with being a 1.9.

Also if you ever need to use such a big pixel pitch as this for real, you are going to need a big shooting stage. What you see here was a total battle with focus points and the amount of stage area you would use with such a high pixel pitch LED (would be a potential 8m of wall clearance, if shooting reverse or in the round).

This means you need a lot more space when your shooting with higher pitch LED panels, as you need space to keep your DOF away from bringing the pixels sharp. All in all a good days shooting and we are happy with the results given the minimum crew, with no post,  all shot and edited in a day, it still amazes us how efficient virtual production is at filming content at speed.

To sum up we’ll be sticking with panels with a pixel pitch of between 1.9 to 2.8 on-set, but this was an interesting little Friday project to see what we could cook up with what we had to hand. I think we may knock a few more of these out over the coming weeks, it was great to actually shoot something on our studio. Be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel for updates.

KIT

RED Weapon 8K
Lens RED Pro Zoom 17-50 2.9
Lighting ARRI Orbiter

GODBOX Pro
LED Infiled Model ER3.9
Brompton S4

Crew

Director / DOP Asa Bailey
Technical Director / Actor Ruben Bailey
System Engineer / Jordan Gough

Pipeline

Platform / GODBOX™ Pro
Software / UE4 / Ndisplay
Edit and Grade / Premier Pro 2021

 

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