Sony’s announcement of their new modular direct view displays (MicroLED) could change the direction of cinema forever!
With the success of these displays used in the filming of the popular series, The Mandalorian, the demand to utilize this technology is set to make this a very popular method for making films.
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In collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony utilizes MicroLED technology over multiple screens to produce large, vibrant and sharp digital images. This technology allows for scenes to be shot where the actors are ‘placed’ into virtual cinematic worlds. This negates the need to use ‘green screens’, which has been the traditional way to shoot such scenes.
This same technology was also used in George Clooney’s Midnight Sky and allowed for the production crew to change to different environments without the need for location changes or the need to build expensive stage sets, allowing for huge budget savings that would normally need to be allocated from the film's budget.
B-Series Displays Top of Market
Sony has released their B-series displays to be used in professional applications, which include the production of virtual sets.
Sony’s anti-reflective coating and high level of brightness are what sets their displays at the top of the current market. Operating at an average of 1,800 nits, Sony’s displays are in the upper tier of brightness even when compared to Samsung's Ultra bright QLED.
When compared with Apple’s Pro Display XDR (referring to the displays ‘wide dynamic range’), that peaks at 1,600 nits.
Because of this, Sony’s displays allow for filmmakers to create a precise visual experience and the actors to deliver their lines in a more authentic and engrossing manner.
The Mandalorian was able to create sets that felt so real, actors were able to deliver lines all the while having the sands of Tatooine swirl past them as opposed to working in front of large green screens where their imagination was their only resource to create a believable scene delivery.
It's this sense of realism for the actor that allows them to deliver their lines and the experience this technology offers, to the watching audience. The actor feels as if they are really in the locations these visual sets are based on and the audience feels this too, providing a more immersive cinematography experience.
More Natural Lighting Capabilities
The ability to create lighting conditions from multiple angles allows the removal of the imprecise lighting previously used in traditional filmmaking applications.
Traditionally, in post-production, teams would be required to allocate hours of man-hours to remove reflections that are caused when using green screens. Using Sony’s virtual screens, filmmakers are able to provide more realistic reflections.
To allow for a more authentic and immersive viewer experience, the use of virtual screens creates the reflections the viewer sees in the movies, by the light from the actor’s surroundings.
Tentative Release Date Mid-2021
Sony stated the release of their new display will be sometime between June and August 2021. Pricing for these displays is yet to be released but allowing for the fact that they are marketed towards professional use, the pricing will be at movie budget levels initially.
As the technology evolves through R&D, the cost of the end product should reduce, allowing for a more affordable price point. You can expect to start seeing a much more immersive movie experience for years to come even if it may not be on your t.v. at home initially.
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