Ball State University, in Muncie, IN, has added new virtual studio sets to its expanding production department located at the school’s Teleplex facility. The set consists of Vinten Radamec manual encoded pedestals and pan/tilt heads, Fujinon HD lenses, an Orad Hi-Tech Systems rendering platform and Ultimatte 11 blue/green screen compositing hardware.
The studios are used a variety of productions, including a pilot program for a local cable network, the university’s PBS affiliate WIPB’s fund-raising auction and evening news program, and student projects.
The Ball State studios have allowed the Teleplex facility to produce content much more efficiently and cost-effectively than previously with traditional hard sets.
Time is saved preparing shows, and teardown consists of clicking a mouse to replace the virtual set in the background and moving the few practical pieces on the set.
The Teleplex houses a pair of studios: a smaller 30ft x 40ft studio, which will serve the news program and smaller projects, and the main 40ft x 60ft with a coved cyclorama backdrop painted entirely in chroma key green. The Vinten Radamec manual encoded pedestals are shared between the studios and take only a short time to recenter the pedestals and cameras to the new studio.
By using the encoded pedestals and pan/tilt heads to supply positional data to the Orad rendering platform instead of relying on a background grid for positional information, producers at Ball State can take full advantage of the shadow-casting features of the Ultimatte 11 keying system. Shadows cast from on-camera talent and practical set pieces are important to a realistic blending of talent and set pieces with the virtual background.