Dark Matters is one of Europe’s most advanced and innovative virtual production complexes. From Simulcam and LED in-camera VFX technology to motion capture, it offers filmmakers and visual creatives a complete end-to-end service and unparalleled control to the very last shot. Having heard only positive things from industry colleagues about Brompton Technology LED processing, the Dark Matters team chose ten 4K Tessera SX40 4K LED processors for their studio complex.
Dark Matters was founded last year by industry veteran’s Romain Cheminade, Jean-Louis Eude and Yaniss Boulanouar. Located 27 kilometres outside Paris, the complex features six customisable virtual production stages spread across 15,000m², and a 700-strong fleet of high-quality custom built LED panels powered by industry-leading Brompton Technology LED processing.
“At the forefront of every story is a human story,” says Cheminade, who is also Dark Matters’ CEO. “We spoke with people that we know and trust who have been working with Brompton for many years. They all spoke highly of their Tessera LED processors and 24/7 service support, so we decided to invest in them and have never regretted our decision.”
The company’s LED panels were designed and specified by co-founder and CTO, Boulanouar, who has over 20 years of experience working with Chinese LED manufacturers to design and import LED panels for live and broadcast events. With one of the key requirements for the Dark Matters’ LED stock being rich colour gamut, Boulanouar chose panels with 16-bit depth, 7680Hz refresh rate and 2.6mm pixel pitch. Together with industry ‘gold-standard’ Brompton LED processing, they offer exceptionally realistic visuals, especially in the dark and high-luminance spectrum. “Our ultimate goal was to get as close to reality as we could, that’s why we chose custom LED panels powered by Brompton’s Tessera processors to give us a really dynamic range of colours,” recalls Boulanouar.
“Our biggest stage, ‘Dark Space’, is almost 4,000m² and has been designed for large-scale productions; we can even accommodate a commercial airplane in the room!” exclaims Partouche, VP Virtual Production at Dark Matters. “The other five stages range in size and are completely soundproof, with all stages featuring a reinforced concrete floor that can hold up to 10 tons of weight per square metre, and high ceilings that easily surpass 12 metres, making them ideal venues for any type of creative production.”
What makes Dark Matters unique in the ever-expanding landscape of virtual production facilities is its comprehensive, end-to-end solution, offering support during previsualisation, techvis and pitchvis project stages. “When a client comes to us with a project, we start by exploring their vision during the previsualisation phase. Then we help them build sequences, fine-tuning them to match the director`s vision perfectly before we start shooting,” Partouche explains.
“Our team of artists have many years of experience in film, animation and video games,” adds Cheminade. “This means we can offer as much or as little help, advice and technical assistance as our clients need to help materialise their vision. Offering support with real-time video game cinematics, high-quality creative layouts for animation, to VR and camera prototyping and interactive event visualisation are just some of the ways we can help.”
According to Cheminade, one of the greatest things its team can do is use resources efficiently. “There are a lot of creative assets that are built for the previsualisation phase. We work to push the quality of those assets a bit more to use them in Simulcam, and then push the quality even further to use those elements on the LED wall. Brompton’s Tessera software helps here by delivering advanced LED wall management capabilities, combined with ease of use and outstanding imagery. By doing that, we create a seamless pipeline between all services and departments involved in the production.”
With the largest overall LED setup including a screen measuring 25m long by six metres high, Dark Matters’ LED panel stock can be used in its entirety as a large volume, or can be split into smaller LED configurations for different virtual production stages.
“We made sure that for each possible LED setup we had enough Brompton processors to be able to fully utilise Tessera features likes HFR+, Ultra Low Latency, Frame Remapping, ShutterSync® and Dark Magic,” Cheminade adds. “What I like most about Brompton is that you know it’s always going to do exactly what you want it to do. When you are shooting you simply can’t have any technical issues, so using reliable equipment like Brompton’s Tessera SX40 LED processors is critical to everything we do.”
“Dark Matters is a great example of the coming together of brilliant minds to create a unique studio complex and service to its clients,” concludes Dries Vermeulen, Business Development Manager (Europe) at Brompton Technology. “It’s impressive to see such a young business bring so much expertise and knowledge to the industry. We are delighted the team chose Brompton LED processing to power their cutting-edge LED. Dark Matters is one of the most innovative companies unfolding the real-time technology revolution, and we are thrilled to join them on this exciting journey!”