LED Volume using 360 HDRI Images

How we stitched together 360 HDRI images, then used them in Unreal Engine and LED Volume

G. Mitchell Johnson

Filming in the middle of the Covid-19 madness was complicated to say the least. Crews dwindled in size, shooting locations had their own hassles, and getting our hands on emerging tech was difficult due to social constraints. With issues at hand, xTac came to us and requested an initial teaser video followed by a proper brand intro/product video. And thus, an idea was born!

But first a problem.

The teaser video we shot at Redman Studios & Stories & MVS. Working with the fine folks at Redman, we set up a small LED Volume on their main stage, illuminating everything we needed for the teaser video. The problem with that was we needed shots in the locations that featured the product by itself. Our solution? Since the larger xTac shoot required multiple locations, we hit up all the spots and photo mapped a 360 HDRI image. We uploaded that image into an Unreal Engine, modified it into a dome, then spun that world slowly. After, we took our six foot industrial turntable and matched the direction and rotations per minute, spinning our subject while holding the product. With the background and the subject in sync, this created the effect of the camera orbiting the product. For the gag to work, we blended the subject into the background, matching the stage lighting with the HDRI image. 

Take the forest scene as a primary example. We blasted a hard light (Arri L10c) through a cookie to create the look of a light hitting a canopy of trees. Then to add some light flare, we decided to “tech” the imagery by projecting technical specifications on our subject. 

The final effect was a stationary camera that gave the appearance of providing a 360 orbit around the subject. It had to be smooth or else it wouldn’t appear natural. We spliced the actual location footage into the subsequent video with near seamless results.  

Cinema Forte specializes in creating unique and captivating images by utilizing new technologies. 

A behind the scenes look at our LED Wall and 360 HDRI Process at Redman Movies & Stories

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