The popularity of The Mandalorian has opened the door to virtual production in the film and television industry with the Mandalorian LED Wall. As the first live-action TV series in the Star Wars series, it has attracted much attention.
The production method of virtual shooting has set off a wave of using LED screens to replace green screen shooting in the industry. Mandalorian LED screens inspire global virtual production.
What is the Mandalorian LED Wall? What benefits did it provide for the filming of The Mandalorian? Why can it replace traditional green screen shooting techniques?
Follow us to delve into the impact of the Mandalorian video wall on the film and television production industry. Let’s read now!
1. What is The Mandalorian LED Wall?
The Mandalorian LED wall is a large LED screen built by ILM, a visual effects studio owned by Lucasfilm, for virtual filming.
As a screen display device in the virtual studio, the 360° large-scale LED virtual screen Mandalorian LED wall saved a lot of production costs for the filming of the show.
Mandalorian LED Screen is composed of 1326 independent P2.84mm LED screens. The large curved screen is 20 feet tall.
The main screen is a 270° semi-circular curved LED wall. The ceiling LED display screen and curved screen on the top turn the studio into an immersive virtual space.
There are two hanging flat screens measuring 18 by 20 feet (approximately 5.5 meters by 6.1 meters) at the entrance to the studio.
The liftable screen makes it easy to get in and out and shoot. When the screen falls, a 360° virtual scene helps with filming.
1.1 Mandalorian LED Wall Name
This large video wall is also called Stage Craft or LED Volume. It is familiar because of the popularity of The Mandalorian, so it is also called the Mandalorian LED wall.
The space built with the LED screen in The Mandalorian is called Volume. The Stage Craft Volume is 20 feet tall and 75 feet wide.
A 270-degree around the video wall provides actors with a performance space approximately 23 meters in diameter.
When shooting, technicians will project the rendered background on the virtual LED screen.
Actors perform on a set. A more realistic picture makes it easier to arouse the actors’ emotions than a green screen environment.
1.2 Stage Craft 2.0 & Quest 2
According to Industrial Light and Magic, the second season of The Mandalorian uses an upgraded Stagecraft system. At the same time, the use of the Quest 2 all-in-one machine further simplifies the virtual shooting process.
Using VR all-in-one technology, directors and technicians can directly preview virtual scenes remotely and communicate movie scenes, perspectives, and environmental details.
The Stage Craft 2.0 system consists of a 6-meter-tall high-resolution LED display covering an area of 23 meters in diameter (including the top ceiling). A total of 1,000 LED screens are used to splice the LED screen to achieve multi-level real-time scenes.
Stage Craft is a real-time virtual scene system developed based on the unreal engine. It turns the studio into a virtual scene with dynamically switching backgrounds.
Using LED screens and real-time virtual image principles, The Mandalorian no longer relies on large-scale physical scene props. It greatly improves shooting efficiency.
1.3 What is Virtual Production?
Virtual production breaks through the limitations of traditional production methods and uses computer technology and LED screens to lead the update of shooting techniques.
Actors perform in virtual scenes arranged in advance. The final effect can be displayed in real-time on the director’s monitor.
This intuitive shooting technology replaces the blue screen and green screen, Which saves time and cost in post-production.
The Mandalorian LED screens were virtually produced using real-time LED wall footage.
A real-time background image is projected on the LED wall, and the image within the lens is finally generated through a combination of real-time engine rendering and camera tracking.
In addition to film and television production, virtual production LED wall is also widely used in advertising shooting, TV stations, studios, live broadcasts, online conferences and other fields.
2. Features of Mandalorian LED Wall
2.1 High Color Reproduction and High Grayscale
A screen with high contrast, high color reproduction, and high grayscale can improve the layering and color vividness of the picture.
A good quality screen can handle the full tracking shooting of high-speed cameras. This ensures that the details of the captured images are not lost.
2.2 Super Wide Viewing Angle
When the camera is shooting from multiple angles, the ultra-wide viewing angle of the LED screen prevents the picture from being deformed due to angle changes.
The position of the character in the picture will reflect its spatial relationship with the scene. The virtual scene without blind spots makes the picture presentation better.
2.3 High Refresh Rate
P2.84mm LED screen ensures enough pixels on the LED screen. The screen with high resolution ensures that it can present high-definition and delicate scenes and show more image details.
The high resolution ensures that there will be no moiré or other reflective spots on the screen when shooting.
2.4 Super Brightness Adjustment
The brightness adjustment function allows the Mandalorian LED video wall to adapt to the brightness of different environments at the virtual studio site, resulting in better display performance.
In addition, LED screens can play a lighting role. Reduce the impact of additional light sources on the shooting scene.
2.5 Large Curved LED Display
Curved LED screens are conducive to creating immersive 3D virtual scenes. The actors seem to be in a real starry sky or desert environment. Real scenes quickly arouse the actors’ emotions.
The 270° circular screen can create a complete virtual dynamic scene around the scene (including the ceiling above).
2.6 Low Latency, Synchronous Switching of Multiple Signals
Ultra-low latency ensures a synchronized display of playback content. The rapid switching of scenes requires real-time monitoring of the real-time playback content on the display screen.
Multiple signals can be switched synchronously to adapt to different virtual scenes and rich signal sources.
3. Why Does The Mandalorian Use Virtual Prodctuion LED Wall?
3.1 Green Screen-Spill
The protagonist of the first season of The Mandarin wears shiny armor. A green screen reflects a green light on it. On the contrary, realistic LED lights look better.
In addition, when shooting with a green screen, people or objects in front of the screen must not have a green color.
The adorable Baby Yoda has received a lot of praise through virtual filming.
3.2 Limitations of Green Screen
In addition to the overflow problem mentioned above, post-production investment is also an aspect that needs to be considered when shooting with a green screen.
At the same time, green screen shooting also tests the actors’ acting skills.
Compared with virtual shooting, green screen shooting requires a longer production cycle.
But it doesn’t mean green screen shooting is over. The Mandalorian still uses a lot of green screen filming. Virtual filming techniques that combine traditional film techniques with advanced virtual sets can indeed reduce the need for green screens.
3.3 Benefits of Virtual Production LED Wall
The second season of The Mandalorian uses real-time virtual photography technology. It uses a huge LED backdrop called The Volume.
A virtual environment is generated on the LED wall through real-time rendering technology.
Actors quickly enter the performance state in this real interactive virtual scene. Technicians can adjust the shooting scene in time. Directors have immediate access to final film footage.
4. The Mandalorian LED Screen VS. Green Screen
As an emerging shooting method, virtual shooting is gradually replacing traditional green screen shooting.
More and more film and television production companies are building their LED virtual photography studios.
There are significant differences between these two shooting techniques, mainly in the following aspects:
The creative team created a realistic background by projecting the scene onto the Mandalorian LED screens.
With vast forests, a vast interstellar universe, and endless deserts, the Mandalorian LED wall can easily change the scene according to shooting needs.
Traditional green screen shooting requires the construction of a large number of physical sets at the shooting site, which is costly and time-consuming.
The construction of some complex scenes requires more time and effort. The Mandalorian LED wall makes the scenery work more efficient.
(2) Lighting Influence
Light is one of the most important advantages of utilizing the Mandalorian video wall. The light from the LED screen provided realistic colors and reflections for the actors and props.
Green screen shooting requires post-production to remove the green background and then composite the actual background. This process may produce some unnatural effects.
In addition, green screens may reflect green light on actors or props. It’s called spill in the industry.
(3) Performance Space
When actors are in the virtual environment created by the Mandalorian LED video wall, they can better understand the characters and complete high-quality performances.
At the same time, through real-time monitoring, actors can see their performance effects and make optimizations and adjustments.
Green screen shooting tests the actor’s acting skills and imagination. The actors need to imagine their positions and actions in the scene.
(5) Production Cost
The Mandalorian LED screens reduce a lot of real-scene construction work and the post-production process. It saves time and costs.
Nearly half of the footage in The Mandalorian was shot on indoor virtual sets.
The combination of advanced virtual sets and green screens has reduced film and television production costs.
5. How Much Does The Mandalorian LED Wall Cost?
We must indeed admit that the Mandalorian LED wall cost is very high. It is estimated that the cost of Industrial Light & Magic’s The Mandalorian LED Wall exceeds $100 million.
It’s not just LED screen costs. As an end-to-end system, Stage Craft/LED Volume integrates virtual camera equipment, rendering engines, virtual background walls, motion capture equipment, etc. into a whole.
Although a lot of money is required to set up a virtual studio in the early stage, the return of virtual shooting is still very high in the long run. Here are some reasons:
(1) Improved Shooting Efficiency
In the virtual studio, there is no need to consider the impact of objective factors such as weather and sunshine on the shooting process. It saves the crew time and energy on location.
Actors act and perform in real and immersive scenes in the LED virtual shooting studio. It is helpful to quickly enter the performance state and reduce the number of NGs.
(2) Simplify Shooting Process
Much of the pre-and post-production coincided with actual filming.
After the virtual set is built in the early stage, the captured images can become the final movie images. It simplifies the post-production process
The Mandalorian LED wall eliminates expensive set costs and time-consuming travel of entire crews and extensive equipment.
(3) Repeated Use
For major film and television companies, a virtual LED studio can be used to produce multiple film and television works. Beyond that, they can be rented out to other production teams.
Productions filmed at ILM The Voulme include the Star Wars series, the Marvel blockbuster Thor: Love and Thunder and DC Universe’s Batman.
6. Virtual Production LED Wall Price
The upfront cost of building a virtual production soundstage is expensive. The current price of large-scale virtual production LED walls is tens of millions of dollars.
In addition to LED screen cost, other hardware devices will also affect virtual production LED studio price.
Given that not every production crew can afford the higher price of visual production LED wall. Some LED manufacturers have launched high-end rental business models.
Here we only discuss LED wall prices. Special technical requirements make XR LED display screens more expensive than ordinary products.
Factors Affecting Virtual Production LED Wall Price
(1) Pixel Pitch
When the pixel pitch is smaller, the picture effect will be more delicate and the price will be higher.
Small-pitch screens have higher resolution, are suitable for high-definition shooting, and can effectively improve shooting effects.
(2) Screen Area
Most virtual studios are composed of three parts: LED ceiling screen, LED wall screen, and floor tile screen.
The larger the scale of the LED virtual studio, the larger the area of the virtual production LED wall to be built. The cost is proportional to the screen area.
(3) Special Technical Requirement
LED products used for virtual shooting need to meet the following requirements to ensure the shooting effect of professional cameras:
High-quality LED lamp beads, high-refresh ICs, and high-quality LED accessories work together to create LED products suitable for virtual shooting scenes.
(4) Control System
The powerful control system ensures the normal operation of the virtual production LED wall. For large-area screens, an LED controller with a strong load capacity is required.
The above factors will all affect the price of the virtual production LED wall.
Although the current cost of XR virtual shooting prohibits some small and medium-sized film and television production companies, with the development of the industry, the prospects are very broad.
7. FAQs of Mandalorian Video Wall
Yes. A large number of scenes in the first and second seasons of The Mandalorian were shot on LED screens. The LED giant screen + XR virtual shooting mode provides the crew with a lot of convenience.
The popularity of The Mandalorian has made more people see the role of LED displays in the film and television production industry. Virtual filming has also become popular.
The Mandalorian LED screen, as the ceiling of the virtual shooting industry, was built by Industrial Light and Magic. It costs more than $100 million.
The huge cost investment has brought efficient and high-quality shooting results. The Mandalorian LED screen became an example for other brands to create virtual studios.
The Mandalorian used Stage Craft for interior shots. This huge LED studio is composed of thousands of LED screens.
When actors use Stagecraft to enter a scene, they don’t need to imagine a vibrant landscape behind them.
The actors move around and complete the storyline in a scene created by a huge LED surrounding the wall.
Yes. The Mandalorian uses a combination of virtual shooting and green screen shooting.
While virtual sets certainly bring many benefits, green screen shooting isn’t over yet.
With the popularity of virtual production LED screens, the demand for green screens for film crews will decrease.
This article introduces you some information about Mandalorian LED screens, including costs, features, and development prospects.
The success of The Mandalorian LED wall has attracted more people’s attention to virtual photography. UNIT LED provides high-quality XR LED panels for virtual LED studios. Just contact us to get a quotation now!