Cyc walls are a mainstay in the world of video production. Pronounced “Sike” (or “Psych,” take your pick), they’re also called infinity walls because of their curved slopes that suggest an endless space on camera.
We first built our cyc wall in 1993, probably while listening to this playlist. Keeping the space pristine required us to paint the walls and floor white after every studio shoot. We also do a ton of green screen, which means afterward, we’d have to return it to white.
Fast forward 30 years and 2,000 coats of paint later, and it’s time to modernize. We still need the cyc wall, but we’ll also need a bigger studio for the innovations up our sleeves.
We’re demolishing and rebuilding the cyc wall for two reasons.
First, to accommodate large LED walls of all sizes and configurations for a range of enhanced virtual and live production applications. For example, the Ohio Lottery Cash Explosion Show now incorporates a giant 15 by 30-foot video wall in their weekly game show.
Also, LED walls are increasingly used to create compelling virtual environments, but they require more physical space. Our production teams helped redesign and upgrade our sound stages to get the additional square footage necessary.
The second reason blows out the walls of our studio even further, in infinite directions. Some people call it mixed reality; others call it virtual production. “Green screen on super steroids” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Powered by Unreal Engine — the software engine behind today’s best-selling video games — the technology allows us to place live talent in any setting we can imagine. You’ll think the talent is on a physical set, but the set happens to be completely digital.
President Arthur James explains, “We’ve installed a camera tracking system that feeds real-time camera data – position, movement, focal length, and aperture – into a 3D rendering workstation.” He added, “The computer redraws the set behind the talent in real-time as the camera moves, replacing the green screen with a photorealistic set.”
The benefits of virtual production are exciting. Filming in inaccessible, unaffordable environments is a production nightmare of the past. Tour a building or unveil a product that doesn’t exist yet. Create a branded broadcast set to elevate your corporate communication for a new era. When we say you can place your presenters and talent anywhere, we’re not kidding.
Mills James has always been at the forefront of technology, and we see a bright future with mixed reality production in the years to come.
Studio A is now bigger and better than ever. Bring us your cars, big set ideas, and most of all, your boldest imagination for the world of virtual production.
Fun Fact: Cyc is short for Cyclorama, from the Greek words kuklos (meaning “circle”) and horama (meaning “view”). The first known use of this word was in 1887 when it appeared in a stage design catalog for Broadway’s Booth Theater.