4K delivers a virtual reality for Google
A flagship event held at a top London venue for Google executives and guests is no typical night out on the town. VIPs drawn from across Europe Middle East and Africa arrive expecting a sensational level of entertainment.
With the help of corporate specialist BrandFuel, Google and its invitees were treated to a unique visual feast featuring a 40m wide, 7m high backdrop which was filled with stunning motion graphics and 4K video. The production begins with a full-size image of American violin sensation Lindsey Stirling, filmed against an animated field of wildflowers. As the star then emerges – apparently stepping out of the screen and onto the stage - in person to begin the performance the scale and quality of the projection becomes evident: there's little difference between the 2D 4K version and the real figure.
Part of Stirling's trademark act sees the star interacting with her shadow which first copies then arguably upstages the impresario with slick, modern dance moves. The silhouette grooving against the fairy tale floral background with the musician lit by blue and purple stage lights creates a magical effect. This is further enhanced by the set design that extends into the audience and includes oak trees and hanging lights interspersed with flowers. The overall impression is like a modern take on a Midsummer Night's Dream.
For Kris Love of BrandFuel, the effect is only possible thanks to 4K technology and the two Sony PMW-F55s hired from VMI. He notes:
"We tested HD and to create a sharp 40 x 7m image from 1080 cameras was simply a non-starter. With 4K, we had no issues at all."
In order to retain the correct perspective for the silhouette, the dancer was filmed straight on using the Zeiss Ultraprime 50mm lens. While this avoided distortion, the focal length dictated that the Sony cameras, had to stand well back from the stage. Indeed for the shoot the crew had to re-locate to Camberwell Studios where the depth in Studio 1 allowed the crew to shoot further from stage, indeed utilising the Loading Bay.
We were after the wow factor," continues Love, "and the F55s helped us to achieve that. But for us, what was really pleasing is that moving from HD to 4K was actually quite easy. Shooting XAVC onto SxS cards is already second nature to us and we were really pleased that the images captured needed little grading in post so we could keep the cost down for the client."
On the evening itself, as the audience was a matter of metres away from the stage, there could be no compromise on image quality. The crew blended four HD projectors to deliver the 4K video with stunning results. Love concludes:
"Google were delighted with the show; the interaction background visuals and the live performance combined beautifully to produce a highly evocative result. The quality of the F55 delivered a real blurring between fantasy and reality."
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