Tricaster Virtual Set Designs for PWC

Appearing in the background of these UK Budget reviews from PWC, is a very small part, of a much larger overhaul of their set designs and virtual sets that I have been working on.

The full and official re-launch is scheduled to take place in the coming weeks and features multi-zone, digital sets for use with the Tricaster, along with physical table and desk designs being built by Scott Fleary.

MUTV virtual set designs have now been added to Lightwell.tv

The lightwell webiste has been updated, and now includes images from the MUTV Thursday Focus set designs that I completed last summer.

MUTV Thursday Focus virtual set designs for use with the Newtek Tricaster

This was one of a number of projects that have been waiting to be added to the site. Still to be added are the digital backdrops for ABC News in Australia, and the Newtek Tricaster based virtual sets for the Met Office.

 

Trying something new: A 1:6 scale miniature set, with 3D tracking and digital extensions…

Having worked exclusively in digital formats for the past 15 years, I have recently been making a concerted effort to resurrect some of my practical design skills. Around five years ago, I started to sketch more frequently, as I began to take on more of a design lead on projects. It proved a great complement to pixels.

More recently, I have looked to expand upon this positive experience and started to explore the use of miniatures in filmmaking. The shots below are of a miniature I have been developing for a sequence of shots based on a snowy environment I have designed. Two faces of a section of a building have been constructed, and set within a snow covered landscape. This miniature set design will ultimately be extended through the use of digital set extensions and 3D tracking.

Shot of the in-progress, 1:6 scale, miniature set, featuring snow and ice effects
A shot of the miniature including snow and ice effects.

The shell of the building was made out of foamcore, which was then clad in balsa. The balsa was ridiculously pristine when first applied, but has since been aged and weathered with heavily diluted ink washes. The snow is a combination of polystyrene base, on top of which, model railway snow effects and marble dust (to add sparkle) have been applied. The icicles are made by applying model railway water effect gel to waxed paper. Once dried, they are glued to the eaves of the building. It’s not finished yet, but so far, it’s proved to be a hugely, enjoyable indulgence.

Detail shot of 1:6 scale miniature set, featuring snow and ice effects
Detail of the miniature in it’s current stage of development.

As with any miniature, depth of field has proved problematic. The only way to counter this, has been to dramatically stop down. Testing has shown f16 to be the absolute maximum, but to achieve optimum results, I am going to need to reduce the aperture even further. The direct consequence of this, is that I then need ridiculous levels of light.

I’m currently looking at stop motion techniques to achieve small apertures, with less light and longer exposures. This approach will allow for better digital environments through better depth of field and improved image quality and resolution compared to video capture.

I wanted to post these before Fortitude is screened tomorrow, as I started work on this last Autumn but business has been very busy and limited the opportunities to work on these kinds of personal projects.

Work schedules permitting, I’m hoping to have the first sequence completed by the Spring

An earlier shot of the miniature set, prior to adding snow and ice effects.
Shot of the miniature prior to the application of snow and ice effects.

 

Virtual Set Designs for MUTV

jim_mann_MUTV_set_design

Above is the wide shot from the Thursday Focus show, broadcast on Manchester United’s MUTV channel. This set, is one of a group of virtual set designs I have been preparing for the channel. The show is broadcast from a new greenscreen studio, and utilises the Newtek Tricaster system.

Time permitting, I’ll add more details for this project to the portfolio section in the coming weeks.

Met Office Virtual Sets

I am currently working on the design and production of a batch of virtual sets for the Met Office. The Met Office, based in Exeter, have their own studio facilities equipped with the Newtek Tricaster. The pre-packaged sets that come with the Tricaster are poor and overly generic, so the Met Office approached Lightwell to deliver a superior quality, bespoke solution. The final versions of these sets are due to go live later this summer, but The Met Office were so pleased with some of the original concepts I produced, that they have already began using these in some of their online webcasts (see above).

The final versions of these virtual sets will feature a fully resolved design and be of higher resolution and finished to a greater level of accuracy and detail.