Large LED Screens Replace Green Screens

LED screens

Instead of green ccreens some movie studios are using giant LED screens to create backgrounds. These 4K LED video screens can make it seem like the actors are in the rainforest, a space station or a desert. These virtual sets have recently been used in films like Netflix’s “The Irishman” and Disney’s “Mandalorian” TV series.

Advantages Over Green Screen

LED screens have a significant advantage in that these virtual movie sets can be created and tweaked from engineers working from home. The actors and camera crews are still waiting out the Covid 19 lockdowns, but the engineers and directors can create the amazing sets we’ve come to expect in big movies. And it happens much quicker than green screens because the lighting of green screens takes time. The LEDs often provide most of all of the light required for the scene which is a major time saver. And with LED backgrounds the shots are mostly captured in camera rather than in a more involved post-production process.

The LED virtual sets surround the actors with light from the images on the screens so this light bathes the faces, clothing, even the chrome on motorcycles which makes it more realistic compared to similar results achieved with green screens. Unlike green screens, the scenes of LED sets are reflected in the eyeballs of the actors. The actors do not have to imagine what is on the green screen. They see the actual images on the LED screens. This makes acting much easier. Actors can now react in real time to the environment they see around them rather than imagining what the green screen might look like.

In Disney’s “Mandalorian” TV series, Disney used a 21-foot-tall by 75-foot-wide LED stage from its visual-effects unit, Industrial Light & Magic. The set looks like a box with one side open. Think of it as a modern version of rear projection. The LED screens create a virtual studio.

Camera Moves in 3D Space

A key point of a virtual studio is that the real camera can move in 3D space, while the image of the virtual camera is being rendered in real-time from the same perspective. So this virtual scene has to adapt at any time to the camera settings such as zoom, pan, angle, traveling, etc. This is what differentiates a virtual studio from the traditional chromakey which uses a green or blue screen. Chromakey needs to be edited after the shoot. A virtual studio using LED screens does not need any post production because it is in real-time. However a 3-D graphic artist and 3D computer graphics software are needed to create the virtual background, and any graphics that appear in front.


Caption: Star Wars: The Mandalorian uses LED screens for “virtual sets.”




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