High-resolution technology elements are working together to provide new, creative possibilities for filmmakers and live event production teams looking to push the bounds of imagination.
Technology developments in filmmaking have deeply broadened the spectrum of what is visually possible and have also taken the live event experience to all new heights. With the implementation of high-resolution LED video environments that have become the backbone of such award-winning production designs as Star Wars: The Mandalorian, production houses across the nation have begun to look at applying this type of technology for the benefit of their clients. Such is the case with PixelFLEX rental network partners Mountain View Staging and Elite Multimedia Productions, who have taken their live and virtual event capabilities into a new realm of possibilities using production designs with LED video.
“We saw how they were using the camera-tracking technology in conjunction with LED video and an Unreal Effects Engine to film the Mandalorian series and we thought this was something we could offer to our corporate clients to make their live events even more exciting,” began Robert Johnson, Vice President of Operations, Mountain View Staging. “We own a lot of LED video panels and have studios with cameras set up in our warehouses across the nation, so it was a great way to pivot to the new reality we are living in to continue to meet the demands for large-scale live events done in a unique way.”
“Once the shutdown’s happened, we saw that live streaming was going to be a vital component to keeping the production industry going and we needed to find a way to take advantage of that,” said Kenny Mason, Production Manager, Elite Multimedia Productions. “Since we already had a demo room with production gear ready, it was a natural progression to transform the space into a virtual production studio.”
The adoption of new technology solutions in a live event atmosphere can often lead to a bit of concern over its expected performance capabilities. By understanding the full scope of the design and how the technology components all work together, the practical application of an LED production environment can completely transform the experience for everyone involved.
“From an LED video perspective, we don’t just start with a product, we start with the size of the room,” added Ben Kristy, Vice President of Production, Mountain View Staging. “Whether its corporate production or cinema, the camera is king, so we first need to identify which shots are necessary to identify the right LED video pixel-pitch. While there have been scenarios where we are working with a flat wall doing tight shots, it all really depends on the storyboard and what shots are happening.”
“We see corporate events becoming more of a hybrid where you will have some people at home and others in remote studio locations,” continued Johnson. “Using this type of camera-tracking technology in a multi-camera shoot, we can then sub people in on the LED video wall to create a final product that appears to have everyone combined in one space. We really believe people will enjoy this because it is so unique and different, and completely changes the way our corporate clients can present their brand.”
Like so many industries around the world that have been affected by the shutdown’s caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the Live Events industry has also taken a big hit. With production companies now struggling for a way to bring large groups together, virtual event spaces with a high production-value backed by LED video have become a popular solution.
“As we were searching for ways to reach new vertical markets and clients at Mountain View Staging, creating studio spaces in our warehouses where we could control all the production assets was a logical solution,” admitted Kristy. “We now have studio spaces in Salt Lake City, Washington D.C., and San Francisco which includes a 10’x30’ PixelFLEX LED wall.”
“PixelFLEX is a great technology to use for this application because there are so many options for a video design, including flat, curved or LED floor panels,” added Johnson. “High pixel pitch and resolution are also key, but you do have a little flexibility depending on the needs of the project, so having the versatility of the PixelFLEX product line allows you to easily find the right solution.”
“I think even after we start to see municipalities starting to open back up, we’ll still have those who aren’t quite ready to go out just yet,” said Mason. “Our space at Elite Multimedia, opens up some many other avenues of using online tools where fans can watch a live stream and actually interact with the artists for such things as songs they might like to see played. It really creates a different way of going to a show.”
It is often in a time of crisis, that the course of an industry can change focus and find new ways to innovate for the future. Taking advantage of the technology developments brought about by the need to go virtual, both Mountain View Staging and Elite Multimedia Productions have found a creative and expedient solution for their clients.
“In the last few years, Elite has started seeing more and more music artists using social media platforms to back away from the traditional system of how they get discovered, and this type of production studio gives them a direct route to take their online presence one step further,” added Mason. “Even when the full live event industry is safely able to open back up, a lot of newer artists will still be able to use something like this to grow their fanbase which can then lead to selecting the right touring gear when it’s time to hit the road.”
“When our clients are familiar with producing top-quality live events, having to move to everyone using a low-res video conference app is not a viable long-term option,” explained Johnson. “At Mountain View Staging, we have the technology, the expertise, and the live event platform to really make a corporate brand stand out to their clients and employees.”
In a production environment where imagination is the only creative limit, the potential for what is possible continues to expand rapidly with the technology. Being able to be in any place at any time, used to be an idea of the past, but it has now become the reality of today.
“We want our MVS clients to know that we can now put them in their product,” explained Kristy. “For example, if you’re Northface, and you want to show off your new winter line, we can use this technology to put you on the top of Mount Everest. If you’re a video game developer, and you’re launching a new World War II video game, we can put you on Omaha Beach. We can could get a little crazy with all that’s possible, such as setting up a square-shaped, outdoor LED video wall for a drive-in event with four sides of LED video where cars can park on all four sides and a lot more people can enjoy the show.”
“While our business approach is not really focused towards filmmaking, we have to understand the latest in technology developments to bring new possibilities to our clients for their events,” concluded Johnson. “We are always trying to be on the edge of what is possible to show people that there are more innovative ways to do events given our new reality.”