In the age of modern technology, television production has changed in many dramatic ways. Many of these changes have meant that studios now have the ability to not only save money on sets, but to also have greater flexibility and options when it comes to the backgrounds that they choose to use for different sets. While there are certainly going to be some disadvantages in using virtual studio technology, the numerous advantages far outweigh what might be lost when it comes to this new wave of technology in television production.
Basics of virtual television studio technology
The core of virtual studio technology in television recording is known as Chroma Key technology. This is the technique that is utilized in compositing two frames, or images, together through the use of removing one color range from one of the images. Most of the colors that are used are either blue or green, and the common terms bluescreen and greenscreen are at the core of this virtual studio technology.
This concept has been around for decades, most commonly first used in newscast and weather broadcasts, where the news anchor or weatherman would stand in front of a bluescreen and the Chroma Key compositing would overlay the weather map, or any pertinent background, in the studio, so that the viewer would not see the screen, but rather the combined images.
Technology has changed television filming forever
These days, however, with the advancement of computer and graphics technology, television studios are turning toward green and blue screens more readily for filming any number of scenes in an effort to not only save money, but also to increase their production options. By filming actors on set in front of these color screens, the production staff can blend these sequences over altering backgrounds in order to capture and experiment with, the best visual settings without having to film a number of different locations.
One of the major disadvantages of Chroma Key technology is that the ability to move the cameras and zoom in and out are somewhat limited and need to be carefully mapped out before filming a particular scene. By moving the camera, the director and cameraman will be altering the spatial references, which can cause the image, when blended with the film shoot, to have distortion.
There are a number of new methods that have been developed, however, to help combat this. One such advancement is the ability to now simulate effectively set lighting and shadows through the computer-generated images, rather than solely relying on the set lighting itself.
The virtual studio, despite some minor inconveniences that are being overcome through even more advanced technology, has a number of advantages it offers the television director and filming crew. One of the best advantages is that it can save studios a great deal of money on sets. No longer do studios have to have physical sets built and for those productions that requires a number of different sets, or constantly changing sets, this can be a tremendous advantage.
Virtual studio technology also allows production staff the ability to alter colors and textures of the background scenes without re-shooting the scene. Also, if the director decides that the setting doesn’t really work for the scene, he or she can change it with the touch of a button.
Another significant advantage of the virtual studio technology is that even small sets can now appear to be larger. In fact, a small studio can basically film anywhere in the world, allowing them to be able to compete with the much larger, higher budget studios.
Virtual studio technology has continued to advance in significant ways through recent years and as technology and innovation continue to move forward at rapid speeds, television and film studios are going to have even more options available to them when with Chroma Key technology.
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