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press release

MELS makes technological shift and launches new virtual stage

Le mercredi 14 octobre 2020
MELS

In collaboration with Solotech and powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine technology

Montreal, October 14, 2020 – True to its tradition of adapting and evolving to meet the demands of the times, MELS continues to innovate – launching a new virtual stage with an LED wall. Built in collaboration with Solotech and powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, the new service lets MELS support customers of all sizes in realizing their projects by combining its expertise with the latest virtual production technologies. Solotech will supply the LED screens, which will provide broad flexibility and the ability to adapt the sets to each customer’s requirements, using the most powerful real-time technology. Unreal Engine will play a key role in the project by linking all technological resources and providing real-time in-camera visual effects to create the virtual stage. ARRI, a global company in the motion picture media industry, is a consultant on this major project.

“2020 was a challenging year for everyone but we also saw it as an opportunity to leverage the know-how of MELS’ teams to implement innovative turnkey projects that deliver the best possible service for our customers,” says MELS President Martin Carrier. “To design and develop our virtual stage, we partnered with the leaders in their respective fields. Their contributions coupled with our production savvy enable us to offer a quality product that meets the expectations of our local and international customers.”

To be inspired by the magic behind MELS' virtual production stage, please watch the video.  

Completed in six weeks with support from the Unreal Engine team, MELS’ virtual stage is an integrated production platform that equips MELS to offer a complete virtual production solution. All services – visual effects, cameras, lighting, post production, technical crews – are linked by fibre optics to all the sets. This turnkey model allows producers and filmmakers greater agility, efficiency and creative latitude. MELS also offers the option of creating specific virtual stage configurations to meet the needs of projects of all sizes.

“Virtual production driven by Unreal Engine’s real-time technology enables creators to deliver cutting edge content, interactive experiences, and immersive virtual worlds with fewer constraints than ever before,” said David Hurtubise, Business Solution Architect at Epic Games. “Producers of film and television are harnessing Unreal’s real-time workflows to enhance the creative freedom that comes from being able to interact with virtual worlds, just as they would the physical world, and we’re very happy to see MELS introducing these cutting-edge capabilities to the Montreal market.”

“The high-res Absen M2.9mm LED screens make it possible to replace green screens and design a virtual set in real time, while allowing greater creative freedom,” says Richard Lafortune, Senior Vice President of Sales, Live Productions Division at Solotech. “The virtual stage can be used in the movie, television and video game industries, in the music industry to produce music videos, and even in the entertainment industry to record performances. It addresses the needs of many customers and industry partners, while supporting compliance with current physical distancing rules.”

“In-camera effects, with real time rendering on LED video walls are cutting-edge technologies. ARRI’s contributions include remote heads, ALEXA cameras, wireless communications tools, and Signature Primes. ARRI offers filmmakers a powerful set of tools to address today’s challenging work environments. We are honored to be involved with MELS in this initiative. ARRI worked closely with MELS to develop training programs, procedures, and workflow to ensure safe and efficient operation on-set while maintaining the industry-leading cinematic quality ARRI is known for,” says Peter Crithary, VP of Marketing and Market Development for ARRI, Inc.

Virtual stages allow productions to work with smaller crews, facilitating physical distancing, and reducing the size and scope of shoots, sets and crowd scenes.

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