woman holds a walkie talkie on set at Breadbin Productions

Breadbin Productions Evolves with Ultimatte 12 HD for Virtual Production

Blackmagic Design today announced that Breadbin Productions has transformed its green screen compositing pipeline with the introduction of the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF digital film camera and Ultimatte 12 HD real time compositing processors.

Breadbin Productions’ virtual production workflows are now integral to every facet of its business, including awards ceremonies, annual reports and panel discussions. These events leverage a green screen setup with live virtual sets composited in Unreal Engine and realtime camera tracking.

Despite the incredible possibilities virtual production techniques offer, Gareth Norman, Breadbin Productions’ Creative Director, is candid about the challenges it presents. “Virtual production is not a one size fits all solution and requires careful research to ensure the harmonious integration of various technologies,” he begins.

The cornerstone of its virtual production setup is the URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF camera, which plays a crucial role in making its setup work effectively, reveals Norman. “For us, the foundational piece of the puzzle was choosing the URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF as our base,” he explains.

The camera’s genlock capability is pivotal in synchronizing frame generation between the camera, tracking solution, and Unreal Engine. “This synchronization minimizes artifacts and screen tearing, ensuring a smooth workflow. We generate the genlock signal using a Blackmagic Sync Generator to send a signal to the camera, tracking solution and each computer outputting Unreal backgrounds.”

He adds, “We’ve also been impressed with the results on LED volumes. There was zero moiré evident in recent tests against an LED wall with a pixel pitch of 3.9mm, even when close up. It really does deliver as promised.”

Each computer employs a DeckLink 8K Pro capture and playback card to transfer data from the camera to Unreal Engine, enhancing frame synchronization. “The addition of the Ultimatte has further streamlined our green screen compositing pipeline.”

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These components then feed into an ATEM Mini Extreme ISO live production switcher for camera switching and recording. Switching to a real time hardware compositor has allowed Breadbin Productions to decouple its camera feeds from Unreal Engine, giving it a smoother live image.

“The Ultimatte delivers incredible results in keying while simultaneously maintaining individual strands of hair, shadow detail, and transparent objects like water glasses. The image fidelity is made even more impressive by the fact that the keying is less prone to removing other colors from the image, such as yellows and gold,” adds Norman.

Breadbin Productions supported the Annual Technical Teachers Conference earlier this year where it needed to produce a seamless six hour live event with two panel discussions and nine speakers in ten different locations. To create a more dynamic and engaging set, each speaker presented from an environment that emulated their respective topics.

Garon Campbell, the owner of Breadbin Productions, provides additional insight into this elaborate live production. “One speaker discussed cyber initiatives, while another discussed solar panels and harnessing wind energy. The specificity needed here allowed us to enhance the live storytelling by emulating ten different worlds, each considerably different from the last, filming complex interiors and vast exteriors while everyone was essentially presenting from our green screen studio.”

Using a DMX lighting desk and pre programmed world builds, Breadbin Productions could switch from one world to another while incorporating a complete lighting change within seconds.

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