LONDON—Mo-Sys Engineering has announced Cinematic XR Focus, an innovation that enables cinematographers to pull focus between real foreground objects and virtual objects displayed on an LED wall in the background.
Until now, cinematographers have been unable to do this because the lens focal plane stops at the LED wall. With the Cinematic XR Focus, focus pullers can use the same wireless lens control system they’re accustomed to and pull focus seamlessly from real objects through the LED wall to focus on virtual objects that appear to be positioned behind the LED wall. Reverse focus pull is also possible.
“Production companies have excitedly embraced virtual production and on-set finishing using LED volumes. The ability to create any internal or external set background or set extension with an LED volume, has truly changed the dynamics of filmmaking,” said Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys.
“But there have been limitations. Pulling focus—a fundamental part of the grammar of movies, to direct the audience’s attention to different parts of the screen—has been difficult. The Cinematic XR Focus software add-on transforms the possibilities, allowing cinematographers to freely realize their creative ambitions.”
Cinematic XR Focus, an option for Mo-Sys’ VP Pro virtual production software and used together with the company’s StarTracker camera tracking technology, synchronizes the lens controller with the output of Unreal Engine graphics. This solution relies on StarTracker for constant tracking of the distance between the camera and the LED wall, the company said.
The solution is available from Mo-Sys and is compatible with Preston wireless lens controllers (Hand Unit 3 and MDR-3).
Recent advances in LED display technology make it practical to shoot in-camera VFX shots in real-time. Having the finished virtual graphics on the LED wall means there is no green or blue spill to remove in post-production, as the LED volume casts the correct soft lighting around the talent. This reduces the cost of post-production compositing, which together with the savings in location costs make virtual production a financially attractive and time-saving choice for producers. Mo-Sys has posted a video to demonstrate use of the solution (you can check out below).
More information is available on the Mo-Sys website.
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Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.