Systems Integration

Cave

A projection screen array built with a curved screen, sidewalls, and a ceiling for increased immersion and interactive lighting.

Central processing unit (CPU)

The brain of a computer, which processes a variety of computer commands. As opposed to a GPU, which is dedicated hardware for graphics-intensive processes.

Distributed rendering

Multiple instances of an engine processing the same scene in parallel to achieve a much higher total resolution.

DMX

Digital Multiplex protocol for controlling lighting instruments, used extensively with pixel mapping.

Encapsulant

The physical support structure for individual LEDs within an LED panel for a volume.

Feed

The live or nearly live footage coming from cameras, real-time engines, or other live-action sources. Often used for remote collaboration to provide camera feeds remotely to editors and other crew members to assist with rapid feedback.

Graphics processing unit (GPU)

A specialized type of microprocessor optimized to display graphics and do very specific computational tasks. Modern real-time engines rely heavily on GPUs for performance.

Hard disk drive (HDD)

A computer storage device, typically using a spinning magnetic disk. See also SSD.

LED panel

A modular array of LED lights designed to display video content. Originally designed for indoor/outdoor advertising, entertainment venues, and broadcast use, LED panels are now used to create volumes for motion picture cinematography.

Loom

The protective bundle wrapped around video and networking cables on a volume to tether between equipment carts and other connection points.

Machine room

The enclosed room on or near a volume where the main computer networking, video server, render nodes, and other critical infrastructure are housed. Also called server closet.

Media server

A repository for digital assets designed to distribute them over a network; can be directly connected to LED volume nodes for distribution. Also a powerful playback device for video and audio assets with sophisticated media control and synchronization capabilities.

Pixel mapping

The process of sampling the pixels of a specified onscreen texture and outputting their hue and intensity as DMX for lighting control and synchronization.

Pixel pitch

The distance between LEDs on a volume panel. The lower the number, the more dense the pitch. Denser panels have greater visual resolution and are usually more resistant to moiré artifacts although they are also much more expensive and can sometimes be less bright. 2.8mm is considered the minimum standard...

Precision time protocol (PTP)

A form of timecode with sub-microsecond timing accuracy. See also timecode.

Refresh rate

The frequency at which an electronic display is refreshed, usually expressed in hertz (Hz). Higher refresh rates can make motion appear smoother.

Remote collaboration

The use of video conferencing services to connect a virtual production studio to offsite crew members for purposes of collaboration, footage review, live feeds, content and equipment operation, etc.

Render node

A member of a group of computers rendering the same scene in parallel. Multifaceted LED volumes generally require several synchronized render nodes to generate a complete environment.

Solid state drive (SSD)

A hard drive with no moving parts, which improves performance and reliability; M2 SSD’s are faster, enabling optimal virtual production capabilities. See also HDD.

Spectrum management

The process of managing all of the various wireless hardware, including non-visible infrared tracking, etc, on a stage or volume to avoid crosstalk and interference.

Storage

The media in which assets are stored including magnetic and solid state hard drives. Storage performance is a critical factor for real-time workflows.

Systems integration

The process of assembling, testing, and validating components from different vendors into a single, integrated solution.

Tearing

The visual discrepancy between the output of two render nodes when they are out of sync on a display, such as a monitor or LED wall.

Timecode

A numeric code sequence used in video production, show control, and other applications to provide temporal coordination between different devices. See also PTP.

Truss

The physical mounting hardware and infrastructure used to hold LED panels for volume and related equipment such as tracking, lighting, network hardware, etc.

Video processor

Within an LED volume, this device distributes a video signal to the individual panels which comprise the volume’s screens.