Artists and technologists at Phoenix-based creative agency 3500 Kelvin help elevate film production and live and virtual event experiences with compelling, immersive content for LED display. The company operates Arizona’s largest virtual production LED volume, with more than 15,000 square feet of capture space. Its talents have been tapped by diverse industries including film, music, corporate, concert touring, and experiential marketing. Behind the scenes, Brompton’s (opens in new tab) LED processor technology enables the team to showcase the highest quality visuals possible.
“Companies are realizing that stage presentation backgrounds can be so much more than a simple logo. Instead, they can offer an immersive experience, and when it comes to LED panel processing, Brompton is the litmus test. Everyone tries to achieve what Brompton can do. It’s a rock-solid product that never crashes or has problems, and provides supreme quality,” noted Walter Schulz, partner and VFX supervisor/virtual stage supervisor at 3500 Kelvin.
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Founded in early 2020 in partnership with live event company Murray Scott Production Services (MSPS), 3500 Kelvin began as a creative outlet to explore virtual production with LED panels and work in the emerging space. The companies remain linked and share equipment, with MSPS focused on live event touring, such as concerts and corporate events, and 3500 Kelvin on virtual production and content development.
“Because we’re heavily involved in live events, we often have to supplement our own tiles and equipment to accommodate events at scale. Using Brompton’s technology, we can quickly calibrate and remap tiles from multiple batches, which is huge. I don’t know another processor that does it nearly as well or as fast, and you can calibrate each tile individually,” said 3500 Kelvin founder Mac Jeffries, who also serves as virtual production manager and production designer. “We also like that you can physically see markers on the LED wall itself with Frame Remapping, and how seamlessly Brompton works with our other solutions, like Mo-sys motion tracking (opens in new tab) and ROE LED panels.”
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“Once you have a virtual stage built, there are micro shifts that can happen. Eventually you notice small displacement on the tile seams, and you need to correct those edges between the tiles," Added Schulz. "Brompton allows you to connect those edges to make them seamless without having to take apart your wall.”
Along with Brompton’s Tessera SX40 4K processors and an XD Data Distribution Unit, the 3500 Kelvin team uses Tessera processing software, and recently upgraded to version 3.4 with the new Extended Bit Depth feature. This update transforms 14-bit LED panels into 16.3-bit LED panels, allowing the studio to light and capture more authentic night scenes in-camera, instead of shooting day-for-night. 3500 Kelvin also received the very first tile in the world with Brompton’s PureTone technology, and from there could propagate the firmware to the entire wall. They keep that first tile on display for visitors as a fun keepsake.
“When I first started experimenting on the virtual production stage, I had a small volume in California and I wanted to push the technology, so I created a series of environments including a night scene. However, night scenes counteract the full effect of your low light, because the panels are dark and contributing little light to the set. I couldn’t get the panels to respond correctly, even though the values were correct in the processor. Now, here at 3500 Kelvin we have an upgraded system with Brompton’s Tessera v3.4 software and a much larger stage, so we recently did a low light test. We went outside during sunset and magic hour and shot a scene with two actors holding candles, then we came to the LED volume and tried to push the limits of replicating that reality, with the goal to have both exterior and interior shots be identical. We succeeded and it took adjustments on every aspect, camera ISO, focus, panel brightness, etc.,” Schulz explained.
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“Working on projects with camera tracking utilizing Brompton’s Ultra Low Latency feature has helped us tighten that latency gap that is so pervasive in virtual production shots. We would need to limit our clients’ creative vision and movement if it wasn’t for that feature,” added Jeffries.
Expressing appreciation for Brompton’s customer support throughout its research and development efforts, Schulz concluded, “One of the things I like about Brompton is the service level, and the amount of attention for the global industry and the partnerships. They are continuously evolving and utilizing the full range of compatibility. All the work Brompton does with the community really helps us.”