LED screen hire company iMAG has partnered with film production company Treehouse Digital to pioneer a mobile LED virtual production facility to help the film and live events industries navigate through global Covid restrictions.
The result is a mobile facility that offers a full LED setup based on ROE Visual LED panels.
“We were quick off the mark with our full-service mobile VP solution and it has definitely been paying off,” said iMAG MD and technical director Alex Strachan. “With Treehouse Digital bringing years of experience in filmmaking and iMAG offering the hardware and our knowledge and expertise gained through working in high-pressure live environments, the partnership is a match made in heaven.”
Chris Musselwhite, producer and head of production at Treehouse Digital, which works with major streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon for film and TV, noted that using a LED volume addresses many of the limitations of alternatives such as greenscreen and rear projection in terms of lengthy/more challenging post-production processes and overall space requirements.
“When LED VP came into play, we recognised there was a huge market for it, both for live action backdrops and virtual environments via Unreal Engine,” said Musselwhite. “So we started contacting companies that were doing LED screens for live events and we came across iMAG.
“They didn’t just think about what they were doing in that moment, they asked strategic questions such as ‘Where could this go?’, and ‘What could we do with it?’ The partnership just felt like the most natural fit for both brands.”
In forming the alliance, iMAG and Treehouse have created an ecosystem of like-minded experts from a variety of specialist areas, all working towards developing an ultimate LED solution for virtual production, with advanced control options and VP workflows.
“With virtual production on the rise, the true-to-life colour accuracy and image bit depth of High Dynamic Range is becoming extremely popular,” Strachan said. “Having invested in ROE Visual LED panels and Brompton Technology processing, as well as having our entire fleet of LED panels recently calibrated with our newly purchased Brompton Hydra measurement system to make them Brompton HDR-ready, we tick all the boxes for our clients.”
One of the set ups has been deployed at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), and comprises a 20m x 5m curved LED backdrop using ROE Black Onyx 2.8mm with a ROE MC7 ceiling for ambient lighting. Pulling on iMAG’s experience in the live industry, the system is tour ready, allowing it to be transported either in full, or to specific dimensions, to any desired filming location. Most recently, it has been used at Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol for a large project with Netflix and at Gillette Studios in London.
“Our aim is to be a one-stop shop,” Strachan said. “In virtual production, every single element matters. Our top-of-the-range LED equipment, combined with our industry reputation and technical expertise, means we are able to provide a complete service to our clients, while holding their hands all the way through the process.”