Like no Barbie movie before it, 2023’s Barbie is the world’s first live-action version starring, in their real-life forms, Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken. It broke box office records, becoming the highest-grossing film directed by a woman of all time, and last night received two Golden Globe awards – for Cinematic and Box Office Achievement and Original Song.
Until now, the fashion doll icon had only lived in our imaginations through pint-sized props and animation. In 2023 Barbie, an entire pink world is brought to life through the use of life-size dollhouse sets (which appear to be identical replicas of the toy-sized versions, complete with furniture and accessories), real people, and virtual production.
Pink houses with pink sundecks and pink chimneys are set against a vista of pink-tinged mountains. A pink lighthouse and pink Ferris wheel stand on a pink-sand shore, with a crystal blue ocean stretching into the horizon. The movie also depicts the world before Barbie – in stark contrast, a barren, brown landscape of jagged, rocky outcrops set against an ominous orange-brown sky.
It’s a successful combination of spectacular sets, stellar performances and star-studded soundtrack – supported by virtual production. The entirety of the Barbie Land scenes (including the pre-Barbie prologue) were filmed at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, England, with virtual production services provided by specialists Lux Machina (LuxMC).
The VP set-up included ROE Visual BP2 and CB5 LED panels, which were provided by VSS (Video Screen Services). Processing was taken care of by Brompton Technology’s Emmy Award-winning Tessera SX40 LED processor.
The SX40 has played a crucial role in the widespread adoption of LED screens for virtual production. It incorporates a comprehensive toolbox of software features designed with the goal of giving creative control back to the filmmaker.
Read more about the SX40’s winning performance and how it delivers the gold-standard for on-camera visual performance and colour accuracy – even in all shades of pink.