We are closing the loop today on the show as we take a look at some of the test clips from our Virtual Production shoot.

We spent two days with the LED wall and all of Dave's fun stuff and these frames are from those tests.

We talk about what worked well, what didn't work at all, and some things to remember for when this tech shows up on your next shoot.

Enjoy!

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Patreon Podcast: Mindhunting Coverage

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The Feature Film breakdown will be an extensive look at a 25 shot scene from Mindhunter and later in the week we will be looking at Patreon member's work on the live stream.

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Virtual Production - The Shoot

We shot for two days inside of this warehouse doing a series of tests on the Virtual Production project.  We had two large LED walls comprised off individual LED panels that acted as our 3d world. 

The goal was to see what happened when we threw a bunch of different scenarios at the panels, the hardware, the software, and anything else we could think of.

Camera Gear:

This was a rag tag group of peole and gear for this shoot.  We shot on the Alexa Mini LF with the set of Cooke Speed Panchros.

For lighting on the first day we had an Aputure 120d and a set of Astera Titan Tubes.

On the second test day we added an M18 and a skypanel S60.  Not exactly run and gun but not ideal either.

The Location - A Shed

Location?  What do you mean location?  I thought this was a virtual production shoot...

That is true and normally the location of a virtual production shoot wouldnt matter but in our case the LED walls were set up in a storage warehouse.  This means there were skylights in the roof which made controlling the levels of ambient light very difficult.  

The harder to control the ambient, the harder to make use of our already tiny arsenal of lights.

The Shoot - Shot by Shot

Shot 1 - The Forest

The Shot

First test up was seeing how far off axis we could get from the walls and get away with it.

The Lighting

We had the Aputure 120d off camera and high up from frame right. 

There was a ton of ND in the camera to keep the overhead skylights from ruining the mood.  It would have been nice to use the skylights for ambient but the color was terrible from the plastic coverings that were doubling as windows.

The Result

Set Up #2 - The Room

The Shot

The Wunderboï looking lost in his own house.

The Lighting

Here we used the screen from frame left in combination with the Aputure 120d for the key light and then supplemented the dill with a Titan Tube from frame right and behind.

The Result

Set Up #3 - Mars Selfie

The Shot

Selfie time.

The Lighting

We were experimenting with whether the screen should be at max brightness or not here.  The 120d is coming in from frame left but the level is lower as the brightness of the screen is now cranked.

The Result

Set Up #4 - Yolo

The Shot

This is the same world as the previous shot but we zoomed off and did a virtual production move to a top level location with some harder light.

The Lighting

Frame right is the 120d that is still in the soft box but has had the diffusion removed for a slightly harder variant.

The Result

Set Up #5 - The Forest

The Shot

We changed worlds and our on screen talent stepped in.  We wanted toe a variety of textures and worlds on the screen so here we are in the forest look.

The Lighting

Here I swapped the 120d to the other side of the stage and tried as best as we could to match the color temp on the screen and in our virtual world to what the 120d was giving us.  

Not super successful in the end but with a little imagination we could easily be in. aforest quite convincingly.

The Result

Shot #6 - The Big Room

The Shot

We tried a tracking shot from right in front of the screen to about 25 feet from the screen.  This is about 8 feet from the screen.

The Lighting

Same as the WunderboÏ set up from before.

The Result

Shot #7 - The Air Lock

The Shot

When the sun went down and killed the ambient we had been fighting all day we decided to do a little scene inside a airlock type set up.

The Lighting

We had a mixture of Titan Tubes peppered around the set as well as one handheld by yours truly for the edge light.

The 120D played for ambient more than anything else.

The Result

Shot #8 - In Tight

The Shot

Our hero opens up a chest and inside is another Titan Tube.  Surprise!!

The Lighting

Everything the same as before but with a bit more nuance as we get tighter and more able to control the levels.

The Result

Shot #9 - The Change Up

The Shot

The reverse of the previous shot.

The Lighting

See previous shot.

The Result

Shot #10 - The Medium

The Shot

This was about as far back as we could get and not look off either side of the 90 degree wall we were looking in to.

The Lighting

Same as above.

The Result

Shot #11 - Big Dave

The Shot

Dave decided to jump in the space suit and try his hand at acting.

The Lighting

We rotated the virtual world and shot his angle with the lights in the same spot.

The Result

Shot #12 - Matchy Match

The Shot

For our hero's angle we rotated the world again in 3d then flopped the lights to make sure everything lined up as it should.  

The Lighting

Same as above but flopped.

The Result

Shot #13 - Day #2 Forest

The Shot

Day 2 started with a little haze and various shot sizes close to the LED walls to check for any unknown issues.

The Lighting

We had a Skypanel through a 6x6 for the key.  Then we had a Skypanel on the ground frame left for the fire light edge and finally an Arri M18 through a 4x4 frame for the cooler edge on the key side.

Add a little haze and that is it.

The Result

Shot #14 - Focus

The Shot

We walked backwards tracking along with our talent until she exists frame and we rack to Liam in the BG.

The Lighting

Same as above.

The Result

Shot #15 - The Hand Off

The Shot

This was the trickiest shot in terms of the lighting as we didn't have any overhead to push ambient into the scene.

The Lighting

We used the Arri M18 to push light into the roof then used both skypanels to cross key the talent in the foreground.

The Result

Shot #16 - My Favorite

The Shot

The shot of the day.

The Lighting

Same as above but we could bring in some neg and 4x4 frame to soften up the skypanel key that is coming from frame left.

Also added the fire light effect with the left over skypanel and brought it around towards camera to catch his near side cheek.

The Result

About The Author

Wandering DP

Cinematographer and host of The Wandering DP Podcast. You can see select examples of work at my personal site or follow me on instagram.

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