Simple Virtual: Easy ways to add virtual areas

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Having a small or outdated set doesn’t necessarily mean you’re limited to those areas: With some simple techniques you can quickly and easily create new virtual areas.

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While full virtual sets can be expensive and technologically advanced, creating some simple images that can be used in conjunction with your chroma key wall isn’t. Although some of these techniques aren’t full virtual sets per se, they are still a great way to expand your studio shot options. Using your existing set A good base is using digital photographs of the existing set. Not only will your images look more realistic since they’re based on real elements, but there will also be consistency across the virtual and real set areas. Bring these images into an image editing program such as Photoshop for editing. It’s best to use a program that allows the manipulation individual layers and other advanced editing techniques. You can also try editing in or tiling images of your existing set’s wall surfaces and elements such as monitor walls. Free from confinement Remember, you’re not confined to the limitations of the physical world and can use that to your advantage by creating eye-catching designs that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. For example, consider creating “floating” screens or faux monitor walls and video arrays that can have topical graphics inserted when needed. The element you add can be based on 3D models or even photopgrahs of the real thing for added realism. Again, using this approach in conjunction with set photos adds to the realistic look and feel. Creating simple virtual sets Another idea is to take a photograph of a set wall, remove some areas of the background, such as duratrans or monitor walls, and insert another image or virtual element of your choice. Other options include using photographs or video loops of your control room’s monitor wall, newsroom or an extreme wide shot of the studio as elements of one background, or as a standalone image that requires little or no editing. You can also create the illlusion that your set has a second level by using an overhead photograph of your set as the base of the virtual background. Or, you can also combine different photographs and elements, such as inserting a control room or newsroom image into the opening created in another photograph for more options. Making virtual look real Blurring Blurring these images just a bit can prevent them from looking too fake. Intentional blurring not only adds a sense of depth but can also hide flaws and make it less obvious the background isn’t real. Lighting Another key aspect to keep in mind when creating your virtual set backgrounds is that lighting should remain both realistic and consistent. Perspective It’s also important to keep the perspective and shadows of your virtual sets consistent. Inconsistencies in these parts of an image make it glaringly obvious the image is fake.