Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have changed the face of digital display technology. Its inclusion in virtual production has led to a new era in the film and entertainment industry. Virtual production has brought new dynamics to filmmaking by discovering the LED walls and Green Screen virtual production.
However, while both have been used in producing some of the biggest movies and blockbusters in the entertainment industry’s history, one bugging question remains: LED vs Green Screen, which is better for film production?
This article is poised to answer this question as we look at their major differences and how they are applied to filmmaking and production. Let’s jump right in!
What Is a Green Screen?
The green screen is a large green backdrop of a shot that allows the video and picture editor to replace the entire background later with the video or picture of their choice using Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) during post-production.
It is a key component in a television or film production process known as Chroma Keying, a visual effects (VFX) technique that combines two videos or picture streams using color hues. Simply put, it involves shooting a subject against a single-colored backdrop.
This backdrop can be any color, such as red, yellow, black, etc. However, the two most often used screen colors are the green and blue screen. Now, the question is, why is the green screen used more than the blue screen? Let’s find out.
As mentioned earlier, vibrant green or blue colors can be used for Chroma Keying. However, green is often the preferred option. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that a green screen background helps you differentiate the backdrop from everything else on set, like the actor’s skin tone and accessories, making it easy to edit later.
Another reason green is often preferred is that it provides more luminance than blue. This means that it is easier to light. However, the negative side is that green often tends to bounce back colors compared to blue, which could be a serious problem for shoots involving low lighting.
This is why, when it comes to the green screens, the key rule is avoiding matching colors! This simply means that you should avoid incorporating other green materials or objects when making use of a green screen. Avoid that like the plague! The actor or scene being filmed shouldn’t have anything green, or the areas will be translucent once chroma-keyed.
However, there are many other benefits of using a green screen in shooting a virtual production, some of which will be briefly discussed next.
Advantages of Green Screen Virtual Production
Here are some of the advantages often associated with the use of green screens in virtual productions.
- Saves Money: one primary reason most people prefer a green screen is its cost-effectiveness. You don’t need to spend much money acquiring props and equipment before you can produce an awesome movie.
- Enhances your creativity: while using a green screen for production, your creativity and imagination are tested. You learn how creative you can be when faced with a movie role or task to handle and deliver.
- Mistakes are avoided: with the propensity to shoot, watch, delete, and reshoot a scene multiple times till you get the right and accurate shot, you can avoid unnecessary mistakes. Although this process can be time-consuming, you cannot forget the saying that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well.
While the green screen is commonly and widely associated with and used in the film industry, it can also be efficiently incorporated into business and commercial videos in presentations and webinars.
For instance, if you are presenting a webinar or giving a presentation, you can film or record yourself on a green screen and overlay yourself into the video.
What Is an LED Wall?
LED is an acronym that stands for light-emitting diode. It converts electrical energy into visible light. LED walls or LED Video Walls are big screens of light-emitting diodes that display visual contents like computer monitors.
It gives the vibe or feeling of a huge, luminous wall with no junctions between the different modules that make it, allowing you to digitize any room seamlessly. Different models of LED video walls are available today, each with different technical characteristics.
However, the basic technical characteristic to take note of about LED Walls is their pixel pitch. Pixel Pitch refers to the horizontal or vertical distance between individual LED pixels on an LED Screen, otherwise known as an LED media display or LED Video Wall. Each pixel on an LED display comprises a combination of green, red, and blue LEDs.
Virtual production LED walls are defined by the distance between the pixels or diodes or their pitch or spacing. This means that the closer the pixels are, the higher their definition, and the better it will be for you to see the screen closely and the lesser the need to increase the screen size to gain quality.
These LED Screens or Walls are not restricted to indoor use but are also used outdoors. In fact, they were initially used as outdoor digital signage and had begun as monochrome— a painting, photography, or drawing in a single color.
While many other solutions and models are available, the most popular models of LED screens often used are 4.8 mm, 6.67 mm, and 10 mm for outdoors, 1.9 mm, 2.6 mm, and 3.9 mm for indoors.
You may or may not be aware, but the truth is that we encounter wall displays every day. This wonderful display technology has become embedded in our daily lives thanks to its immersive viewing experience and versatility.
They are often used in events, business settings, outdoor and indoor settings, and, in most cases, in virtual productions, where they are referred to as Virtual Production LED Walls.
Virtual production uses LED volumes, game engines, digital cinematography, and processing platforms to create an unlimited world of virtual productions. LED walls have emerged to be a game-changing innovation in the world of virtual production. These walls create an immersive and seamless backdrop for filming using a series of interconnected LED panels.
The Star Wars franchise popularized LED wall virtual production when these LED walls were used extensively in the famous TV series—The Mandalorian. With that in mind and due to its many benefits in film production, which shall be discussed below, many directors have embraced these LED walls.
Advantages of LED Walls For Virtual Production
In using LED walls, one is sure to gain the following;
- Visuality: LED has a high-resolution quality and brightness, making it unique and very sound. This means that filmmakers can use them to achieve visually stunning results. With their high resolution, natural lighting ability, and brightness, they are rapidly becoming a preferred choice for many creators in the entertainment industry.
- Real-Time Adjustment: LED walls are original and all-encompassing. This means changes can be made quickly and easily to scenes. This is because the Camera and the LED walls are synced, making it possible for changes to the virtual environment to reflect on the LED Walls immediately. Real-time adjustments are used for scenes that require visual effects. These adjustments are beneficial to filmmakers because they not only save time but also help to produce a better visual appeal.
- Less Stress: LED walls for virtual production reduces hard work or labor. This is because you often don’t need to repeatedly shoot and reshoot a scene to get the right angle, thanks to the real-time adjustment LED walls provide.
While green and LED screens are used in producing high-resolution videos, with many directors choosing one over another, the big question is: which is better for film production? Let’s find out their differences as we compare LED and green screens.
Core Differences Between LED Walls and Green Screens
Now, let’s look at the major differences between Green Screens and LED Walls. Knowing their differences lets you decide which is better for your next production.
1. LED Wall vs. Green Screen: Differences in Shooting Environment
A significant basis for comparing LED walls and green screens is the difference in their shooting environment. Regarding the LED virtual production stage, the entire film setting is covered with LED panels. This helps to create an immersive environment suitable and comfortable for your actors to perform in.
On the other hand, the shooting environment of a green screen is completely different. The setting of the background you want to make transparent or remove during post-production is covered with a single-colored backdrop, which can be any color, but usually green.
2. LED Wall vs. Green Screen: Differences in VFX and Creative Workflows
Workflow and VFX are another differentiating factor between LED Walls and Green Screens. Green screen production often involves a more linear production workflow. Besides the previsualization and storyboarding, Green screen visual effects (VFX) are often done in post-production. Over the years, it has been a tried and true solution for VFX.
Conversely, LED Virtual Production is quite different. It adopts a more collaborative, iterative, and non-linear video-making method. Virtual production with LED walls allows filmmakers to simplify their workflow, which can result in considerable expense savings.
By integrating virtual camera technology, previsualization devices, and real-time rendering, you can produce and capture images more effectively, lowering the number of shoot days needed and resulting in cost conservation.
3. LED Wall vs. Green Screen: Differences in Cost
Cost can play a big role in your decision-making. LED Wall Virtual Productive cost is considerably high. It is more expensive than its counterparts due to the costs of procuring production props and equipment, such as cables and software, to make it all work.
In fact, the price of acquiring or renting just the virtual production LED Screens, even for a small movie set, is astronomical. The cost of a venue, rendering engines, and hiring the needed crew capable of handling whatever task thrown at them to ensure success and smooth workflow is also considered.
In contrast, constructing a green screen stage is far less expensive. They are not just lower but can be a fraction of the cost of LED production. As a matter of fact, you can even build your screen using materials from stores near you to save costs.
You can also find inexpensive kits to give you just what you need, considering that most complex work is done only during post-production. In summary, LED Video Walls and green screens require some form of budgeting at different stages of shooting or production.
Depending on what works for you and your pocket size, you can determine which is best suited for your film production. However, with the ever-evolving realm of movie production and LED tech space, we expect that in no distant time, there will be more innovations, leading to a reduction in virtual production LED wall prices.
4. LED Wall vs. Green Screen: Differences in Lighting
When filming a movie or an animation, lighting is extremely important. In shooting an LED Virtual Production, the LED panel is the major light source for most of your movie scenes. Also, pixel mapping and Dynamic image-based lighting (IBL) are pivotal technologies that boost the feeling of photo-realistic immersion in a Virtual Production setting.
Since light emanates straight from your footage playback, it precisely illustrates any intensity or coloring level changes reflecting your talent. Your subject lighting can also be increased by putting on-set fixtures if needed.
With volume walls, you are also saved the time-consuming job of eliminating the annoying “spill” frequently seen on your subjects when using green screens.
On the other hand, Lighting is the most important element to make a high-quality movie with a green screen. Effective lighting for a green screen demands an even and invariant cast of light. You can use soft light, e.g., the Litepanels’ new Astra Soft Bi-Color.
With it, you can get omnidirectional lighting – excellent for obtaining that even cast for the whole screen. When considering soft light, consider the 3 Fs: full, forgiving, and flattering. These three qualities are the basis of why soft light is more adaptable than others and why lighting a green screen with it is better.
5. LED vs. Green Screen: Differences in Infrastructure
LED walls and the green screen differ in infrastructure. While LED Walls use more advanced infrastructure in their productions, such as LED screens and panels, Green Screen, in Contrast, does not use advanced infrastructures. With a camera, lights, and your green background, you are ready and set for your next production.
6. LED Wall vs. Green Screen: Differences in Set Prep
Preparing and setting up an actual LED Wall stage takes a longer time. You would need enough time to build the effects, the stage setup, the lights, and other background equipment to enhance your production. In setting up the stage, you would need more than a day to complete it.
While setting up the production set in Green Screen virtual production, less time is needed, even though it is often not that technical. A day or less can be used in setting up the actual movie stage. With LED Wall, real-time artists create a digital environment in advance for the principal or actual production of the entire process, thus making it hitch-free and all-encompassing.
7. LED Wall vs. Green Screen: Differences in Flexibility
The flexibility difference is surely another significant consideration when comparing LED walls vs Green Screen. It is worthy of note to state that the green screen shows flexibility by creating content in one place other than multiple places, wherein you are free to add any desired location sitting in one place instead of moving the setup to multiple locations.
It is expected that all you have to do is to know and explore more about the advanced effects and gain the right knowledge to use it. However, it does not in any way give you room to test different ideas and concepts quickly and easily and thus makes it very cumbersome for filmmakers to alter and iterate on their work.
Conversely, LED video walls for virtual production offer increased flexibility for filmmakers. It creates a virtual environment that can be quickly and easily modified, allowing you to test different ideas and concepts without needing physical sets or locations. You can experiment with lighting, camera angles, and virtual sets in real time with LED walls and virtual production.
8. LED Wall vs. Green Screen: Difference in Post-Production Process
Inarguably, one of the most notable differences in comparing LED Wall Virtual production vs Green Screen Virtual production shooting is the post-production process involved after filming.
Shooting on a green screen can be tasking and time-consuming, given the extra level of consideration required during the post-production process. It is when you add all those upbeat graphics and special effects needed to make the movie appealing and cohesive. This is also when you correct mistakes or remove any green spills that emerged during shooting.
Some of the tasking post-production process involved includes a new background being composited into the shot. This means that two images or video streams are combined. After this, the Chroma key then singles out the selected color, often green, and digitally removes it by making it transparent.
This enables the other image to pop out. Editors can then add other components to complex moving shots necessary for the final shot, like visual effects such as gunfires, smoke, or even natural disasters.
With LED, the post-production process isn’t as tasking, demanding, and time-consuming as the green screen. For instance, the director can see the final film effect during the filming exercise. This helps to save valuable time and money through adjustment and real-time tracking.
The director and photographer can also modify the visual effects while shooting, reducing the possibility of later reshooting. Finally, LED virtual shooting helps avoid the green screen overflow problem. This is because the transmitted colors and light effects are made to appear more natural and realistic when props materials are transparent.
Ultimately, you can decide which screens to use depending on what you are looking for. If you want to select and replace an object from a background with another, then shooting with a green screen is the best. However, if you want a more immersive experience and time reduction in post-production, then LED wall shooting is for you.
9. LED Wall vs. Green Screen: Differences in Time-Consumption & Effort
As noted earlier, LED video walls for virtual productions save time, effort, and money. It uses equipment to create realistic scenarios in which producers, directors, and actors perform scenes with a better impression. Seeing the finished scene while shooting saves editing time during post-production.
Additionally, scenery changes on an LED screen are instantaneous. This is also a great help to directors, seeing that they can adjust scenes in real time. Effects, graphics, and lighting can also be added immediately. With this technology, post-production work is combined with the shooting of scenes. With this merging, post-production time and effort are saved.
However, in green screen virtual production, post-production is energy and time-sapping. You have to worry your head about removing and replacing backdrops with the right effect and imagery, which takes a lot of time and effort to get a good aftermath effect that would be visually appealing to your audience.
10. LED Wall Virtual Production vs. Green Screen: Differences in Maintenance
Maintenance of equipment is always the secret to how long it will last. This is also applicable to LED Walls and Green Screens. However, there is a difference when it comes to their maintenance.
Like regular electronic gadgets, careful operation and maintenance of LED display screens should be ensured, as this guarantees its long service life. First and foremost, in maintaining an LED wall, consider its storage temperature requirement. LED products should be kept within a temperature of＜30℃, with humidity of ＜60% after opening.
A rodenticide should also be placed where it is kept to avoid rodent infestation and bites. The power source should also be considered and must be well-grounded and stable. It is also important to remember never to turn off the LED display for long.
If left unused for three days, it should be preheated first for 4-8 hours with 30%-50% of the luminance and increased afterward to a normal luminance of 80%-100%. Doing this will help eliminate moisture and abnormality.
Metal, water, iron powder, and other things that easily conduct electricity shouldn’t be brought near the screen. It is also important to rest the LED display for at least 2 hours a day; this will help prolong its lifespan.
Cleaning of the LED Screen is also a vital part of its maintenance. Its surface can be scrubbed with alcohol or dedusted using a brush or dust collector. However, don’t scrub directly with a wet cloth. Clean and scrub the surface of the modules with a soft brush.
In green screen, there’s nothing much to maintain about the green backdrop, considering most people simply paint their background with green matte paint. In contrast, others use a piece of green fabric for the background, and in most cases, they simply wash the fabric for use in the next production.
However, you must ensure that other equipment used with the green screen is kept safe, such as the camera and lights.
11. LED Wall Virtual Production vs. Green Screen: Differences in Visualization
Visualization is another major difference between LED walls and Green Screens. With LED walls, directors can view the virtual environment on the LED wall during the shooting, which means they can make the necessary alterations to the scene. This makes the production process more efficient.
However, when it comes to Green Screen, directors are not presented with such an amazing opportunity, as they are left to test their creativity. They are made to test their prowess by imagining and coming up with the perfect angle to render the best shot for every scene.
Not just the directors but also the actors are not spared in this line of thinking because they are also made to test themselves and see how creative they can be in putting up an excellent performance using their imagination and thought.
12. LED Wall vs. Green Screen: Differences in Background Usage
Another difference in the debate on LED Walls vs Green Screens is the background usage. As the name implies, Green Screen Virtual Production involves filming and shooting movie scenes using a green backdrop or background.
This colorful background is removed during post-production with a technique we all are already aware of by now—chroma keying— and replaced with another background. On the other hand, LED virtual Production involves using more of a virtual background.
Virtual background in the sense that there is no green screen used. All the effects are created during on-set shooting, and the actors get to act in the actual scene. This allows the actor to blend well with the character.
Virtual production is gradually changing the realm of filmmaking and production. LED walls and green screens are two helpful tools filmmakers and directors have used to give the audience an immersive experience over the years. Now that you have seen their advantages and differences, you can decide which to use for your next production.
If you decide to opt for an LED screen instead of green screens for your production needs, be sure to engage the services of the best and most renowned LED display product manufacturer to get the best products. Check out our products now and get started on your production journey!
1. Are LED Walls better than green screens?
LED Walls are generally preferred to green screens in post-production because it is less time-consuming and removes the possibility of a green spill. However, this does not dispute the fact that green screens are quite useful in virtual production.
2. Will the Virtual Production LED Wall replace the green screen?
Different people use LED walls and green screens for different purposes and effects. The possibility of one replacing another isn’t visible.
3. Between LED Wall and Green Screen, which is better for film production?
Green Screens and LED Walls are both useful techniques in filmmaking. With their distinct uses, it is impossible to determine which is better for film production.
4. LED Wall and Green Screen, which is cheaper?
In terms of cost, green screens are generally more cost-effective than LED walls.