Pier59 Studios Uses Planar LEDs for VP Stage
In 1995, Federico Pignatelli and his Art and Fashion Group Corporation founded Pier59 Studios located at Chelsea Piers in New York City. Featuring 11 column-free studios and 110,000 sq. ft. of multimedia studio and live event space, Pier59 Studios is a top destination for famed photographers, filmmakers, designers, brands, and advertising and production companies worldwide.
As the largest photography and multimedia complex for fashion and advertising in the world, Pier59 is equipped with the latest technology to accommodate the needs of the demanding clientele. With its latest venture, Pier59 is embracing the next era of content creation with the launch of an immense, state-of-the-art virtual production stage. The new virtual production stage features a disguise media server and an array of LED display technologies from Planar. The Planar LED solutions include:
- A curved, 65-ft.-wide by 18-ft.-high Planar CarbonLight CLI VX-B Series LED video wall with a 2.6mm pixel pitch
- A nearly 30-ft. by 10-ft. articulating LED ceiling comprised of an 18×6 Planar CarbonLight CLI VX-B Series LED video wall with a 2.6mm pixel pitch
- Four LED display moveable carts, each with a 5-ft.-wide by 11.5-ft.-high Planar CarbonLight CLI VX-B Series LED video wall with a 2.6mm pixel pitch
“Federico Pignatelli has always embraced technology and its capacity to change the way content is captured,” said Steve Baum, chief innovation officer for Pier59. “So when he became aware of the concept of virtual production, he immediately recognized the opportunity to build a full-sized virtual stage at Pier59.”
Watch the video below to learn more about the technology behind Pier59’s virtual production stage.
Located in Stage C, a 6,500-sq.-ft. space with 30-ft.-plus ceilings, the new virtual production stage has been hailed as the world’s biggest and most advanced for fashion and advertising, according to Planar. Dubbed the “LED MegaWall,” the virtual production stage is a studio for rent that provides fashion, beauty, and luxury partners with a captivating backdrop for their photo and video productions, product launches, events, and more. As part of its services, Pier59 provides its virtual production team as an extension to its client’s crew to operate the technology on their behalf.
“The LED video walls look great with the naked eye, but what’s most important for us is that they look great in-camera,” said Lorenzo Ferrante, virtual production manager at Pier59 Studios. “Production professionals like DPs [directors of photography] that use our stage have the guarantee that any color profile they want can be accomplished and that the representation of color is accurate. And obviously, virtual production provides the advantage of in-camera visual effects, which cuts the time and costs for post-production.”
Baum added: “By combining 3D virtual environments with the flexibility of the virtual production stage, we can conjure nearly any place, at any time of day during any season, precisely controlling the environmental conditions. We can even adjust them on the fly to get the perfect shot. And then, of course, the virtual stage can deliver cost savings by eliminating the time and cost of traveling with cast and crew to far-flung locations.”
Working with Planar, Pier59 achieved its goal of building a large and immersive LED video wall and articulating LED ceiling, creating the largest LED volume that could fit in Studio C, according to Baum. He also emphasized the role of the four LED movable carts in their virtual production operations, which are “one of the more interesting and unique design components of the project.”
“They [the four LED movable carts] have very specific purposes. One is to create foreground lighting and reflection. So, if we have something shiny in a shot, like a car, we can move those walls behind the camera facing into the shot to generate reflections on the car, which would otherwise be extremely difficult to add in post-production,” said Baum
A second benefit is the ability to move the LED display carts to any of Pier59’s other stages for smaller production shoots. “Significant engineering went into those products,” Baum emphasized. “We can not only move them, but we can also daisy chain them together. It was quite ingenious what Planar was able to build for us.”
Pignatelli concluded, “As a disruptive technology, virtual production is comparable to the digital photography revolution of the late 90s. By delivering significant cost savings and incomparable creative flexibility and quality control, virtual production is going to radically change the way fashion and advertising content is produced.”