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Sony aims to improve pre-production and on-set workflows with new Virtual Production Tool Set

Tool set aims to improve performance and help solve common virtual production challenges such as colour matching and moiré to enhance in-camera visual effects

Sony is introducing a new Virtual Production Tool Set that works with the Sony VENICE, Crystal LED and other HDR-enabled LED walls to improve performance and help solve common virtual production challenges such as colour matching and moiré to enhance in-camera visual effects.

“The new Virtual Production Tool Set was born from the voice of our creative community who requested tools to help them leverage In-Camera VFX and improve the overall process,” said Theresa Alesso, president of Imaging Products and Solutions Americas, Sony Electronics Inc. “Thanks to the continued feedback of our customers and collaboration with our partnership with Epic Games, we were able to introduce this toolset after rigorous testing.”

It includes a Camera and Display Plugin for Unreal Engine that allows productions to identify and solve common virtual production workflow issues. For example, as individual cameras and LED walls have different colour characteristics, one of the most common workflow issues in virtual production is that the Virtual Art Department (VAD) is unable to anticipate the actual colour performance of specific cameras, said Sony. The new Camera and Display Plugin solves the problem.

When installed in Unreal Engine, the Virtual VENICE in the Camera and Display Plugin allows productions to reproduce the settings of the VENICE, VENICE 2, and Crystal LED display, added the company, allowing the VAD to create assets using the VENICE’s colour pipeline during pre-production before expensive crews are on set.

The Virtual VENICE feature in the Camera and Display Plugin can also simulate the camera’s exposure index and Neutral Density (ND) filters to recreate shallow depth of field and help productions identify lens choices during pre-production. This plug-in also displays a custom moiré alert, depending on the pixel pitch and other specifications of the wall, to help productions make changes to the camera position and camera movement during the pre-production process to save time on set, the company explained.

Additionally, the settings of the Virtual VENICE camera and display plugin can easily be exported from the plug-in and transferred to the on-set VENICE and VENICE 2. Finally, the plug-in continues to provide productions with a moiré alert during the shoot – a helpful tool to identify issues that may not be obvious with on-set monitoring but could become apparent in post production, added Sony.

In addition, Sony has launched the new Colour Calibrator.

The Colour Calibrator is a simple and easy-to-use application for Windows 10 to ensure proper colour reproduction when shooting LED walls with the VENICE camera. It eliminates the need for guesswork, reshoots, or complex LUTs on set or in post. Instead, an intuitive interface improves on set workflows by calibrating the look of LED walls, including HDR-enabled LED walls, to the intended look of the VENICE camera, Sony said.

A test pattern is recorded on the production LED wall with the VENICE camera and the Colour Calibrator application automatically analyses the result, added the company. A 3D LUT is then generated which can be applied to the LED controller, colour management tool or Unreal Engine, making the calibration process easy and repeatable.