The emergence of virtual productions like those popularized by Disney’s The Mandalorian have given display giants a new niche for their massive screens. Sony, which boasts a movie production arm, is already using its modular crystal LEDs to provide backgrounds for shoots. Now, Samsung is getting in on the act through a new partnership with major Korean movie and TV show producer CJ ENM.
The pact will see Samsung provide its massive MicroLED TVs, known as The Wall, to the studio’s virtual production facility when it opens in Paju, Gyeonggi Province later this year. CJ ENM previously struck a deal with Fortnite maker Epic Games to use its Unreal Engine game engine — which also provided the digital backdrops for The Mandalorian — for future projects.
Virtual productions are gaining traction in global filmmaking. The technique involves the use of LED stages, game engines and VR to create and control computer-generated backdrops. Currently, the massive investment has limited the tools to blockbuster shoots, but industry insiders believe that could change as people realize the savings they bring on crew travel and physical sets and infrastructure. As a result, virtual production is expected to become the norm in filmmaking within five years, according to an industry report by the Göteborg Film Festival.
Samsung says its latest screens will deliver improved visuals thanks to their support for HDR 10+ and optimized frame rates such as 23.976Hz, 29.97Hz and 59.94Hz. The company will install an oval-shaped main display at CJ ENM’s new complex with a diameter of 20 metres and a height of seven metres or more. Samsung says its massive screen measures over 1,000 inches and supports up to 16K high-resolution content.
But, the Korean company hasn’t embraced virtual production quite like Sony. The Japanese conglomerate previously paid $250 million to acquire a minority stake in Epic Games. It also bought virtual production software maker Nurulize in 2019 and integrated it into Sony Innovation Studios, the state-of-the-art facility located on the Sony Pictures Studios lot.