The DARK BAY Virtual Production Stage was built to provide film and television series productions with a state-of-the-art LED environment for virtual backdrops. It is currently one of Europe’s largest, permanently installed LED studios for mixed reality film productions. Located on the lot of the prestigious Studio Babelsberg AG, the DARK BAY is embedded in a large production facility with multiple studios and an extensive film infrastructure. The stage is outfitted with a total of 1470 ROE RUBY 2.3 LED panels, ARRI lighting and camera equipment such as SkyPanel, Orbiter, and ALEXA Mini LF, Vicon and TrackMen tracking, as well as NVIDIA graphics cards. Its elliptical shape, with a diameter of 23 m (75 ft) and a height of 7 m (23 ft), allows for very wide camera angles and totals. In addition, the LED panels have a smaller pixel pitch than other LED volumes, making image artifacts, occurring between the camera and LED wall, easier to handle. The LED volume has also been built around a 21 m (69 ft), motor-driven revolving stage, which significantly enhances the creative possibilities of the stage, allows for much higher efficiency in shooting, and is unique in the world.
As one of ARRI’s first mixed reality studio reference projects, the ARRI Solutions Group provided consultant services for the overall technical planning as well as the installation, coordination, and oversight for all the components of the DARK BAY Virtual Production Stage. “In the future, art and technology will merge in the DARK BAY. For productions of the highest quality, state-of-the-art hardware was combined with engineering services to create an innovative overall system in close coordination with the client and business partners,” explains Markus Zeiler, ARRI Executive Board member. “To make this lighthouse project possible, all ARRI business units—Camera Systems, Lighting, and Rental—worked together intensively under the project management of the ARRI Solutions Group.” As a result, the customers benefited from an international team of experienced engineers and project managers in combination with ARRI products, highly regarded for their high quality and user-friendliness, along with a worldwide network.