Some very massive digital backdrops designed for Bloomberg Go

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My latest designs, for a set of digital backdrops for Bloomberg TV’s new, New York studios went live yesterday. The architectural scene in the backdrops is based upon Bloomberg’s own headquarters building in New York and is displayed in a set of massive LED screens. Often, with such large screens I tend to find that the pitch of the LED’s is coarse, but these have a luxurious 1.9mm pitch – by way of comparison, the screen we prepared at Lightwell, for TV4 News in Sweden is of a similar size, but has a 12mm pitch.

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The finer pitch resolution has meant that we’ve had to adjust our approach in a number of ways. Previously, we would avoid fine detail and focus on lighting across large areas, and establishing strong contrast within the imagery to counteract the effect of the diffusion screens that would be required in front of the LED’s. The superior resolution of the Bloomberg installation means that no diffusion screen is required, and so we now need to focus on finer details, particularly within the mid-shots, in a way that would have been a wasted effort on previous projects. The absence of a diffusion screen also means that we get better colour fidelity. LED screens tend to be excellent at re-producing colour anyway, but by removing the diffusion layer in the project, we have been able to achieve better blacks, and can be confident that what the viewer will see upon their screens, is the closest to what we see here in the studio that we have experienced.

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Another factor that we have had to adapt to on this project, like no other, is that extra pixels mean much larger file sizes. We’ve had to adapt to working with 12k composites, and the logistics of delivering and playing 8k video. This is a challenge that will be ongoing for the foreseeable future, but is one that I welcome, not least because it makes my work look infinitely better with each new technological advance.

This is a bold investment in technology by Bloomberg, one that I applaud. They have been a fantastic client.

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Digital Backdrops for ABC News

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Possibly the toughest project yet, in terms of deadlines and work required, but I’ve just delivered the 18th digital backdrop in four months, to ABC News in Australia. Animated loops were prepared for the eight regional capitals, six of these in summer and winter variants. Two loops were prepared for the Breakfast show, broadcast from Melbourne, and two loops were prepared for the News 24 studios based in Sydney.

News 24 is a wholly CG newsroom, whereas all the other projects combine CG and photography sourced from local photographers (I will be sure to add extended credits for all the photographer as I add these projects to the portfolio)

A great client, even more so because they have ordered additional backdrops for some their other news bulletins.

ABC Breakfast News and ABC 7PM News

ABC Breakfast, which went live this morning, January 27, 2014 and features a pair of animated backdrops that I designed and prepared. The scene is a hybrid view combining architecture from Melbourne and Sydney and a large chunk of the Yarra River.

Prepared in parallel with the Breakfast backdrops was a version for the 7PM news bulletins from Melbourne. This is a more straightforward cityscape view of Melbourne.

Both projects utilise the work of local photographer, Ollie West, to which we applied extensive manipulation, including full sky and digital water replacements and the addition of animated elements including cars and lights.

These will be the first of a batch of designs that Lightwell are working on for ABC throughout the first quarter of 2014.