From the producers of HBO’s award-winning drama Chernobyl and This Is Going To Hurt, BBC’s new police thriller Better wrapped up its gripping season one in mid-March. To capture the crime series’ complex storyline of relationships of loyalty and family, the production team collaborated with Universal Pixels (UP), a top-tier video equipment supplier with a strong track record of providing playback for vehicle driving scenes. UP filmed multiple internal car scenes, utilising Brompton Technology’s cutting-edge 4k Tessera SX40 LED processors to seamlessly merge the virtual and real worlds on screen.
Providing a virtual production team and the necessary equipment to guide the production process seamlessly from start to finish, UP leveraged their extensive experience in the film and TV industry to create an innovative VP setup tailored to the unique needs of the production.
“During our week-long shoot at Prime Studios in Leeds, we were given nine distinct plates that needed to be precisely positioned around the LED screen for playback,” says Dan Edmonds, UP’s ICVFX account manager. “We used Roe Diamond LED panels to create three 6m walls and a Roe Onyx ceiling, with the processing expertly handled by three Tessera SX40 LED processors and six Tessera XD data distribution boxes. The playback was executed using disguise media servers, all fully genlocked.”
UP ensured that all their Roe panels were dynamically calibrated using Brompton’s Hydra advanced measurement system, making them Brompton HDR-ready. Additionally, the team utilised core features like Dark Magic, which they found vital during the project. “As most of our shoots were carried out with the LED processing running at a very low brightness level, particularly for the night scenes, Dark Magic proved to be instrumental in enhancing the details in the darker areas of the image, resulting in a significant improvement in the overall visual quality,” Edmonds explains.
The BBC crew were extremely satisfied with the outcome. UP’s creation of multiple vehicle scenes was prominently featured in most episodes and played a crucial role in the series’ storyline “When we saw the final production on TV, it was remarkable to see how seamlessly the LED volume had been integrated. It was almost impossible to tell which scenes were VP and which were on location shoot!” exclaims Edmonds, highlighting the incredible level of realism achieved through UP’s virtual production techniques and high-quality equipment.
“We know that when we use Brompton, the processing will be reliable and our colour workflow will be correct,” adds Edmonds. “It also gives us plenty of options to make adjustments should we need to do any outside of our playback solution.”
“Universal Pixels are taking full advantage of Brompton’s Dynamic Calibration technology and unlocking performance-enhancing features such as Dark Magic for dark-area detailing,” concludes Patrick Goodden, technical sales manager (UK & Ireland) at Brompton Technology. “We’re excited to see our industry-leading LED processing solutions implemented to such great effect on gripping TV thriller productions such as BBC’s Better.”