Mels Studios Unveils Virtual Stage

The Montreal facility is partnering with Solotech, Epic Games and Arri on the new service.

Mels Studios in Montreal has launched a new virtual stage with an LED wall. Built in collaboration with Solotech and powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, the new service combines the studio’s expertise with the latest virtual-production technologies.

Solotech will supply the LED screens and Unreal Engine will link all technological resources and provide real-time in-camera visual effects to create the virtual stage. Arri is a consultant on the project. 

“This was a challenging year for everyone, but we also saw it as an opportunity to leverage the know-how of Mels’ teams to implement innovative turnkey projects that deliver the best possible service for our customers,” says Mels President Martin Carrier. 

Completed in six weeks with support from Unreal Engine, Mels’ virtual stage is an integrated production platform that enables the studio to offer a complete virtual-production solution. All services — visual effects, cameras, lighting, postproduction and technical crews — are linked by fiber optics to all the sets. Clients can create specific virtual-stage configurations to meet the needs of projects of all sizes. 

“Virtual production driven by Unreal Engine’s real-time technology enables creators to deliver cutting-edge content, interactive experiences and immersive virtual worlds with fewer constraints than ever before,” says David Hurtubise, Epic Games’ business-solution architect. “We’re very happy to see Mels introducing these capabilities to the Montreal market.”

“High-res Absen M2.9mm LED screens make it possible to replace greenscreens and design a virtual set in real time,” says Richard Lafortune, senior vice president of sales, live-productions division, at Solotech. “The virtual stage addresses the needs of many customers and industry partners while supporting compliance with current physical-distancing rules.” 

“In-camera effects with real-time rendering on LED video walls are cutting-edge technologies, and Arri’s contributions include remote heads, Alexa cameras, wireless-communications tools and Signature Prime lenses,” says Peter Crithary, Arri’s vice president of marketing and market development. “We are honored to be involved with Mels in this initiative, and we worked closely with them to develop training programs, procedures and workflows to ensure safe and efficient operation on set while maintaining the cinematic quality for which Arri is known.”

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