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ARRI'amp;s virtual film set for the Netflix series

ARRI'amp;s virtual film set for the Netflix series

[13:56 Sat,31.December 2022   by ]    

The potential of virtual film sets with LED walls for professional film productions is currently being demonstrated by the Netflix mystery series "1899" by the German "Dark" duo Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, which was shot at Dark Bay Virtual Production Studio in Babelsberg. Before Netflix&s "1899," only Disney&s series "The Mandalorian" had relied entirely on virtual production design, so there was still a lot of new ground to be broken by the film team during shooting. ARRI Solutions, ARRI&s dedicated high-end production studio design and engineering team, took responsibility for the planning, commissioning and technical integration of "1899," playing a key role in the success of the virtual production.


The Dark Bay Virtual Production Studio in Babelsberg opened at the end of July 2021 and consists of a curved 55-meter-long and seven-meter-high LED wall made up of a total of 1,470 seamlessly joined ROE RUBY 2.3 LED panels with a brightness of up to 1,500 nits. This is complemented by a modular LED ceiling plus ARRI Skypanels, as well as additional mobile LED lights for interactive lighting including corresponding scenic reflections. The dynamic virtual backgrounds for the LED walls are rendered in real time by the Unreal Engine, replacing the traditional green screen with realistic backgrounds already during shooting. (Here is our article about the advantages of a virtual film production as well as its problems.)


The Dark Bay&s Revolving Stage is unique in the world: almost the entire interior of the studio consists of a 21-meter-diameter motorized turntable that allows filming of real sets from different angles. This overcomes physical space limitations of the LED wall and significantly reduces changeover times. Complete sets can be rotated 360° in just three minutes, and entrances and exits can be simulated through a hatch (trapdoor) built into the stage. As a second innovation in the field of virtual film production, the Dark Bay has seven permanently installed sprinkler nozzles (Rain Rig), which allow rain effects to be simulated true to nature on 300sqm.

The trade magazine Cinematography World has published a interesting interview with the cinematographer in charge Nikolaus Summerer, in which he talks about his experience working with ARRI Solutions to develop an effective virtual production design and the experience of working on a virtual set. For example, the ideal LED screen for the background would be a full circle, but that&s not possible because you need space to put the physical sets and film equipment on the "stage." To make the foreground blend with the LED background, which is necessary for the illusion of the setting of a scene, a mix of light from the LED wall and other light source - especially for the skin tones - such as ARRI&s SkyPanels was used.

Director of Photography Nik Summerer

Dramatic lighting, important for some scenes, such as those with cloud storms, fog, rain and lightning, was provided by a large toplight that integrated nine individual softboxes filled with a large number of ARRI SkyPanels.

The camera used was an ALEXA Mini LF with anamorphic lenses fed by a Genlock signal to communicate directly with the LED wall. Most of the background content was created digitally in Unreal Engine. Prior to shooting, a lot of "virtual" scouting was done, meaning the team drove a virtual camera through a 3D environment to figure out where the action should take place and what real and virtual backdrops were needed to best tell the story.


Nik Summerer sees the ability to place a character precisely in relation to background elements during filming as a major advantage over green screen shoots, where such setting decisions are often made many months later in post-production without the cinematographer.

According to Summerer, working with the virtual set also requires a new way of working: for example, as a cameraman, he first had to experiment with background screens to familiarize himself with their dual role as background and lighting instrument. And he had to learn to work intensively with the team responsible for the background screens to change their brightness, color temperature and contrast, or to change background elements. It was only through this experimentation and the resulting understanding of the limitations and challenges, possibilities and advantages of the new technology that he was able to make creative decisions for the best results.


Link more infos at bei www.cinematography.world

deutsche Version dieser Seite: ARRIs virtuelles Filmset für die Netflix Serie "1899": Die neue Art der Filmproduktion


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deutsche Version dieser Seite: ARRIs virtuelles Filmset für die Netflix Serie "1899": Die neue Art der Filmproduktion

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