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Star Trek: Discovery beams up virtual production for new series

Show filmed season four at Pixomondo's virtual production stage in Toronto

Virtual production technology from Brompton Technology and Pixomondo helped the Star Trek: Discovery production team film the latest series of the sci-fi show.

Season four is the first time the show has employed virtual production as part of its filming process. The show shot the VP elements at Pixomondo’s large volume stage in Toronto.

The stage is 70’ x 30’ horseshoe-shaped volume equipped with ROE Visual Black Pearl 2.8mm (BP2) LED panels for the walls and ROE Visual Carbon Series 5.77mm (CB5) panels for the ceiling, each with Brompton Tessera SX40 4K LED video processors. It also features OptiTrack motion capture cameras to handle multi-camera tracking, and the LED walls are fed CG content in real time from Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.

Brompton’s Tessera SX40 offers support for full 4K screens at 60Hz with 12 bits per colour output, as well as a zero-latency up/down scaler that matches the source to the screen, said the company.

“This has been a landmark year for Pixomondo as we made a number of significant moves to make virtual production central to our portfolio of production services,: said Jonny Slow, CEO of Pixomondo. “With Brompton onboard as a key technology partner, we were able to deliver an ambitious and innovative solution for the producers of Star Trek: Discovery, as they embraced LED volume use for the first time with season four.”

Adam Callaway, technical solutions manager, Brompton Technology, added: “We’ve been working with Pixomondo for several years, and we’re glad that Brompton processing continues to be a key part of their arsenal as they introduce new shows and crews to the benefits of virtual production.”