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The goal of TV Globo’s virtual set project was to provide a solution that allowed producers to digitally extend the physical sets, built inside stages or in exterior locations, using footage of the real location where the set is supposed to exist as well as provide freedom of camera movement with wider field of views. This would allow producers to shoot scenes inside the back lot as if they were shot at the real location, providing the company significant savings on the overall production cost.

To use live footage of the real location to extend the sets while providing the director freedom of camera movement, it was necessary to create higher-resolution images than those that were shot for many TV shows. TV GLOBO shoots its productions in HD (1920 x 1080).

To achieve this, the design goal was to create rigs that supported multiple cameras shooting live-action footage simultaneously with the correct position and angle necessary to build the high-resolution live panoramas later in post production. The rigs were designed by TV Globo and built from scratch based on several calculations that varied upon lens, camera body and CCD size.

One of the main difficulties was to seamlessly connect the resulting footage shot simultaneously with the HDTV cameras. The footage usually contains cars, buses and people that cross the entire field of view of all cameras, so there can’t be any issues in areas where two images are being connected. To achieve this, staff developed a solution using in-house tools that allowed them to stitch the multiples images together seamlessly, resulting in high-resolution, live-action panoramas needed to digitally extend the physical sets.

Producers extended the technology and built a rig to shoot 360-degree, horizontal, high-resolution live panoramas used as backgrounds for car scenes where the director is able to create scenes by continuously moving the camera around and inside a car. Shots that would be impossible to perform on location are made possible by shooting inside a green-screen stage.

The key vendors and products for this project were Sony cameras, Fujinon and Canon lenses, and the Autodesk Flame compositing system.

  • New studio technology — non-broadcast
    Submitted by GLOBO Comunicação e Participações SADesign teamNelson Faria, dir. eng.; Francisco Lima, head R&D VFX; Gustavo Garnier, VFX designer; Taulio Mello, Flame artist; Marcelo Nicacio, Flame artist; Marcelo Matoski, sys. op.; João Gurgel, support op.; Vitor Quintella, SFX producer; Alcione Lemos, SFX technician; Paulo Salles, CAD designerTechnology at workAutodesk: Flame compositing system, AutoCAD
    Canon: HD lenses
    Fujinon: HD lenses
    Panasonic: HVX-200 cameras
    Sony: HDW-F900 cameras

© 2009 Penton Media, Inc.