Using LEDs for VFX – with Phil Galler from Lux Machina – ON THE GO – episode 79

In this episode of cinema5D On The Go, Phil Galler from Lux Machina tells us about what he thinks is the future of LED lighting.

We are all familiar with the advantages of LED lighting: power efficiency, portability and ease of use are but a few of the usual characteristics that manufacturers use to advertise their LED fixtures. This kind of technology is quickly becoming the norm in the filmmaking market.

However, for Phil and his company Lux Machina, LEDs are tools that offer a variety of other uses. This kind of technology can be used very effectively for practical VFX, such as for replacing the need for a green screen by programming plates to interact in real time as surroundings for the actors. These LEDs, however, not only serve to paint a pretty backdrop – they can also provide additional lighting with various characteristics at the DP or gaffer’s request, without the need to spend more time hanging traditional light fixtures.

Reflections and LED interactive lighting on the set of “Tomorrowland” – Source: Lux Machina

From a more practical point of view, Phil can program small icons to serve as visual cues for the actors – such as to indicate when an actor should turn the wheel of a car during a car chase scene in order for his movements to match the background projected outside the car windows. This makes it possible to give actors necessary directions in a repeatable and reliable manner.   

Stay tuned for the final part of our chat with Phil on the next episode of cinema5D ON THE GO, where we talk about the future of VFX and the “uncanny valley” of digitally recreating human actors.

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