LED screens used in filming “first man”

I continue to be blown away by the rapid technical advance of large format LED screens. Further proof comes from the visually gorgeous movie “First Man” chronicling the life of test pilot and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Watching the behind-the-scenes featurette, I was stunned that most of the dramatic flight sequences were actually filmed “in camera” in a studio in front of a massive LED screen producing the background visuals, instead of typical “green screen”.

The screen is a giant 60 x 35-foot LED screen that wraps 180 degrees. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the manufacturer or pixel pitch information anywhere. It is interesting though that they actually shot on film, which conveniently mitigates any digital moire effects they might have suffered if shooting with digital cameras.

The visuals were actually rendered as full 360 environments, to give the film crew complete freedom on-set to match the movement of the motion base with the orientation of the screen content.

I first posted about my impressions of such screens at the ISE show in Amsterdam back in 2015. In fact, standing in front of a massive 10m wide, 8K resolution LED screen (reaching true daylight brightness levels), I had an overwhelming feeling of a “virtual reality” experience, but without the headsets.

These screens are poised to create dramatic experiences when they finally start coming to architectural spaces. The line between “reality” and “virtual reality” will literally blur. VR, AR…what will we call “architectural virtual reality” experiences?

I’m interested to see if Disney is going to use LED screens to simulate outer space in its under-construction “SPACE 220” restaurant at Epcot.

About Brad Koerner

Creative Director and Product Manager
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