Sony has announced a new product in its Crystal LED video wall panel range. Previous panels have been designed for use in corporate, retail or museum displays. However, the new Crystal LED Verona range is primarily intended for virtual production environments.
What is virtual production?
When you see the actors talking while driving along in a car, they’re almost always in a studio. Historically, the moving background behind the car would have been a rear projection though more recently green screen techniques have been used. However, increasingly production companies are using virtual production systems which use large, high definition LED panels. Effectively, they are simply very big television screens. “The Mandalorian” (2019 – present) television series used a large circular virtual filmmaking environment called The Volume.
Crystal LED Verona
Sony says that it has developed its Crystal LED Verona virtual production panels in conjunction with industry and creative leaders. The new panels have what Sony describes as “overwhelming” deep black levels and anti-reflection surface technology. The Crystal LED Verona panels also deliver high brightness of 1500 cd/m2 and a wide color gamut which covers more than 97% of DCI-P3. These features make it much easier to blend virtual environments with real world props and sets. In addition, the panels have refresh rates up to 7680 Hz to eliminate scanline and motion artifacts when recording them with a camera.
Each Crystal LED Verona panel is a little under 20 inches square (500 mm x 500 mm). You can assemble the panels into large flat or curved background using a locking mechanism that doesn’t need tools. You can also fine adjust the z-axis to ensure there aren’t any visible joins. In addition, they have three protection mechanisms to prevent them being damaged in use. If you need to exchange a unit for any reason, you can swap out individual panels from the front or back of the display wall. The Crystal LED Verona panels use 30% lower power consumption than conventional LED panels to help reduce a production’s carbon footprint as well as reduce costs.
What we think
With the announcement of the Crystal LED Verona virtual production panels, Sony is looking to become an even more important player in the television and film production world. In the marketing of the new panels, Sony says that it is the “only company who can support both the camera (Venice) and the LED wall (Verona).” They have also designed their new system to be compatible with existing virtual production controllers to make implementation even easier. It will be interesting to see whether Sony pitches the Crystal LED Verona panels at a price range which makes virtual production technology more accessible to independent filmmakers.
Pricing and availability
Sony says that the Crystal LED Verona will be available in Spring 2024.