Key installations of Barco ILite 6mm and 10mm LED tiles continue to push the envelope for virtual scenery in new broadcast studio set configurations. Virtual scenery enables producers and set designers to augment traditional physical sets with highly realistic full-motion backdrops—without the need for chroma key technology. Virtual scenery can consist of either computer generated or “actuality” video footage, and can be interchanged instantly by switching video feeds.

From a video production standpoint, the keyword is “configurable.” Designed for maximum flexibility, Barco LED tiles are being used in single and multi-wall studio installations, such as the new set of The Oprah Winfrey Show (for more information on Oprah’s new set, see “Chicago Scenic Gives Oprah's Set A Makeover”. Chicago-based Harpo Productions, Inc. created a set with five movable LED video walls comprised of modular Barco ILite 6mm LED tiles.

“More and more, ILite panels are showing up in both local and national sets, for news, sports and interview formats such as The Oprah Winfrey Show,” says Marc Van Eekeren, senior director of sales for Barco Media, commenting on the trend towards LED in the broadcast market. “They’re ideal for studio applications, and the best for minimizing moiré on camera in a studio situation.”

ILite 6mm tiles use Surface Mount Technology (SMT) LEDs to provide unequalled brightness and picture quality. Each tile includes 5,124 LEDs in a 72x72 array, and can display over four trillion colors. Similar LED technology is used in the 3mm, 8mm, 10mm and 12mm ILite tiles.

“As we’re continuing to see, LED walls can provide set designers with a number of highly flexible backdrops with limitless creative potential,” continues Van Eekeren. “One moment, a wall is used for SDI video playback. The next, it’s a virtual winter scene behind a guest, with seamless clarity. And with movable overhead frames such as those on The Oprah Winfrey Show’s set, individual LED walls can be locked together and treated as a single widescreen display.”

Barco indoor LED walls are already in use nationwide for sports scoreboards, restaurants, retail showrooms and corporate lobbies—and now, a new broadcast niche is emerging. “We’re delighted that broadcasters are designing sets around the ILite,” says Van Eekeren. “They provide an excellent alternative to plasma and projection, and in terms of content, it’s not simply to tell part of the story in video, but also to create stunning backgrounds. With millions watching a major market talk show each day, for example, LEDs can give a real visual punch, far greater than projection could provide given the high degree of ambient light in the studio.”