Blackmagic Design announced that production house Breadbin Productions has introduced a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF digital film camera and Ultimatte 12 HD real-time compositing processor to modernize its greenscreen compositing pipeline.
Today, the South African company’s virtual production workflow is integrated into all its operations, including award ceremonies, annual reports, and panel discussions.
These events are created using green screens combined with live virtual sets composited in Unreal Engine and real-time camera tracking.
Blackmagic Design with Breadbin Productions Virtual Production
While the possibilities offered by virtual production technology are incredible, Gareth Norman, creative director at Breadbin Productions, comments on the challenges it poses:
Norman: Virtual production is not a one-size-fits-all solution and requires careful research to integrate well with various technologies.
The URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF camera, which forms the basis of Breadbin Production’s virtual production setup, is essential for an efficient workflow.
Norman: For us, the fundamental piece of the puzzle was choosing the URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF as the base.
Camera genlocking is critical to synchronizing frame generation between cameras, tracking solutions, and Unreal Engine.
Norman: This synchronization provides a smooth workflow with minimal artifacts and tearing. We use the Blackmagic Sync Generator to generate a genlock signal and send it to the camera, tracking solution, and each computer outputting the Unreal background. I am also very impressed with the LED wall images.
I recently tested an LED wall with a 3.9mm pixel pitch and there was no noticeable moiré, even in close-up. You really get the results you promised.
A DeckLink 8K Pro capture and playback card on each computer transfers data from the camera to Unreal Engine for efficient frame synchronization.
Norman: With the addition of Ultimatte, our green screen synthesis pipeline has become even more streamlined.
These elements are sent to the ATEM Mini Extreme ISO live production switcher for camera switching and recording.
Real-time hardware compositing allows the company to decouple the camera feed from Unreal Engine, resulting in smooth live footage.
Norman: Not only does Ultimatte excel at keying, it also excels at handling individual hairs, shadow detail, and transparent objects like cups. Image fidelity is even better because keying is less likely to remove other colors, such as yellow or gold, from the image.
Productions using Blackmagic Gear
The company also produced the Annual Technical Teachers Conference this year.
The six-hour live event featured two panel discussions and featured nine speakers from 10 locations.
To create a dynamic and interesting set, each speaker’s background was used in a topic-related environment.
Garon Campbell, owner of Breadbin Productions, commented on this complex live production:
Mr. Campbell: One speaker talked about cyber initiatives, and another talked about solar panels and wind power. Presented in a green-screen studio, we were able to emphasize the story by emulating 10 very different worlds, from complex indoor sets to vast outdoors.
Using a DMX lighting controller and pre-programmed environments, the company was able to change the lighting in seconds when switching from one environment to another.