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Creating a Remarkable Virtual Production Experience at Sony Electronics

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Creating a Remarkable Virtual Production Experience at Sony Electronics
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Peerless-AV® supports Sony’s Digital Media Production Center (DMPC) in providing an innovative space for showcasing state-of-the-art products, supported by a custom, multi-faceted dvLED video wall.

Overview

On May 31, 2023 Sony officially opened the new Virtual Production Lab at its Digital Media Production Center (DMPC) in Los Angeles, California. This immersive training and education facility offers production managers, cinematographers, and other customers a unique opportunity to test drive Sony’s line of professional cinema equipment, including the flagship VENICE 2 Cinema Camera, used for popular motion pictures such as Top Gun Maverick. Inside the demo room is a multi-faceted direct view LED (dvLED) video wall, serving as a traditional green screen replacement for virtual production testing and validation, supported by a custom mounting infrastructure designed, fabricated, and installed by Peerless-AV®.

During their long-term partnership, Sony and Peerless-AV have worked on multiple installs for fixed, front-service dvLED video walls in the corporate, retail and, now virtual production, sectors. Sony has used SEAMLESS Kitted dvLED Mounting Systems from Peerless-AV for a number of its Crystal LED Displays.

For this particular install, Sony required a custom solution that would enable the company to showcase its market-leading offerings for virtual production, encompassing high-end dvLED, cinema cameras, monitors, and infrastructure solutions.

The Challenge

The main challenge was to make efficient use of the limited space without compromising the product testing experience. Sony also wanted to maintain the competitive advantage of upholding exquisite display quality, so the dvLED video wall had to be seamless and provide a captivating visual for those viewing and testing products at the facility.

The Sony team knew this installation was highly complex, making accuracy and coordination with the design and planning process critical. Peerless-AV and Sony went through many iterations and solutions to ensure the products would be showcased with the perfect result. Through thorough communication, meticulous measurements of the space, and collaboration, it was concluded that a multi-faceted video wall, containing a flat side and a slightly curved side, would allow for the most flexible working space for creative testing.

“Peerless-AV was a logical choice for mounting support,” said Jason Metcalfe, Project Manager of the installation and Solutions Sales Engineer at Sony. “We had a lot of confidence in the quality of Peerless-AV’s products and knew they would align with our intricate design needs. Their in-house engineering and install resources were critical to support this complex and high-profile project.”

The Solution

Peerless-AV custom designed and manufactured a SEAMLESS Bespoke dvLED Mounting System for this project to accommodate both the flat and curved sides of the wall and join them flawlessly in the center corner. Peerless-AV’s design would provide secure, adaptable support for Sony’s Crystal LED displays and successfully showcase the 2D and 3D background environments for in-camera capture.

The curved side of the video wall was designed to emulate widely adopted design standards meant to eliminate noticeable color shift and ensure consistency of the picture when viewers (or cameras) move off-axis to the dvLED display. Although common to all dvLED displays, color shift can be more distracting when captured on camera.

“We are always up to the challenge of creating custom solutions to problem solve for unique, complex, and challenging spaces,” said Jeff Blankensop, Senior Director, West/Central Region at Peerless-AV. “This multi-faceted video wall was just the type of project our precision engineered and highly adjustable dvLED mounting systems were created for, and we knew the results would be successful in creating a continuous and uninterrupted virtual backdrop.”

The dvLED mounting system was just one element of the start-to-finish support provided by the SEAMLESS by Peerless-AV dvLED Video Wall Integration Program, which also incorporates expert design and engineering, custom project management and on-site support. Involving Peerless-AV’s expert team at the start of every project, to help navigate and solve any potential problems can save significant install time and costs, while ultimately ensuring a successful result.

The Installation

The installation spanned only five days to install the mounting frame and five additional days to install the Sony Crystal LED cabinets.

Alongside additional parties with expertise in virtual production, in-camera VFX, camera robotics and stage lighting, Sony and the Peerless-AV installation team worked meticulously to deliver a stunning dvLED video wall on an efficient timeline. All of these aspects were crucial in creating the best experience for those testing Sony products and showcasing the capabilities of the professional line of cameras.

The flat segment of the SEAMLESS Bespoke Mounting System measures 20ft W x 10ft H, while the curved segment is 16ft W x 10ft H with only a 3-degree curve between each column, comparable to what one might find on-set. The dvLED video wall consists of 162 total Crystal LED B-series cabinets in 1.58mm pixel pitch. The total system is 18 cabinets W x 9 cabinets H.

The flat section is arranged in a 10 cabinet W x 9 cabinet H configuration, totaling 90 cabinets. The curved section in an 8 cabinet W x 9 cabinet H configuration with a total of 72 displays. The complete system measures 36ft W by 10ft H, with the 20ft W by 10ft H flat section and 16ft W x 10ft tall, curved section. The system video resolution is 6912px W x 1944px H, yielding over 13M pixels, more than 1.5x 4K resolution. This focus on high pixel density is a critical point factor in Sony’s vision for the next generation of on-set virtual production.

The precise measurements and x, y, and z-axis adjustments provided by Peerless-AV’s dvLED mounting system were essential to the Sony team, making the entire system easy to use and adapt throughout the installation process. For example, the stand-offs attached to the floor allowed for efficient placement and adjusting when constructing each part of this complex video wall. The flexibility provided by Peerless-AV’s custom dvLED mounting system made any inevitable adjustments simple during unique challenges throughout the installation and reinstallation. The Peerless-AV SEAMLESS Bespoke Mounting System makes the teardown and installation highly repeatable while ensuring consistent alignment each time.

“Our team members noted the granular control and alignment offered by Peerless-AV’s system was extremely helpful in completing the installation as quickly as we did,” said Metcalfe. “It was reassuring to know the level of accuracy was maintained throughout each step of the process.”

The Results

From designing to fabricating and installing, the entire project took six months to complete and was a huge success thanks to the collaboration and dedicated work of all parties. Sony was incredibly happy with both the product and installation assistance provided by Peerless-AV and remained confident in the high-quality dvLED mounting system throughout.

“As a result of this installation, our demo facility achieved an advanced level of immersion sure to wow those testing Sony’s product lineup,” said Kevin O’Connor, Senior Director, Cinematic Production Solutions, Sony Electronics. “We couldn’t be happier with the final product, and we are so excited to show it off.” 

Sony showcased the dvLED video wall at the grand opening event for its Virtual Production lab inside the DMPC. The official opening included the unveiling of the new testing and training stage, with attendees such as content creators, professional cinematographers, high-level camera operators, and more, on-hand to discover Sony’s efforts in supporting virtual production. Senior executives including CEO of Sony Corporation, Kimio Maki, Sony North America President and COO Neal Manowitz, and Sony Imaging Products & Solutions Americas President Theresa Alesso were in attendance. The completed installation was a stunning display of Sony’s continued focus on developing technologies to support advanced content creation workflows like virtual production. 

 

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