Virtual Production Comes Full Circle With Rosco’s RDX LAB™ System

In June of 2022, Rosco showcased a prototype of their new Rosco Digital Experience Live Action Backdrop (RDX LAB) System at Cine Gear Expo in Hollywood. Utilizing software by FuseFX, the RDX LAB System is cutting-edge virtual production technology that is designed to make the background imagery Rosco has created over the past three decades available for productions shooting in an LED Volume. The key benefit of this technology is how it lowers the barrier to entry for virtual production by significantly reducing the time and cost typically needed to build environments in pre-production. By reducing those costs, the RDX LAB System will empower more filmmakers to use large LED walls and experiment with virtual production. Such was the case with the production team on Full Circle – the new drama starring Zazie Beetz, Timothy Olyphant, Claire Danes, and Dennis Quaid on MAX.

It wasn’t long after the RDX System prototype made its appearance at Cine Gear Expo 2022 that industry creatives took note of the innovative technology and wanted to try it out for themselves. After previewing the system’s capabilities at the show, Gaffer Derek Gross proposed using the technology to acclaimed Director and Cinematographer Steven Soderbergh for MAX’s highly anticipated series Full Circle. Many scenes of the series are interior shots that take place in the Browne family home. While Soderbergh initially hoped to shoot these scenes on location in an apartment near New York’s Washington Square Park, various factors led to the production opting to shoot inside a sound stage instead. Following an initial testing phase that displayed how easy the RDX System was to use, the production team decided to give Rosco’s solution a try.

Learn More About Rosco's RDX LAB System

Developing The Perfect Virtual Production Stage

The LED Wall at Carstage in Queens, NY.

The show required digital backdrop images to be displayed on a 180-foot flat LED provided by 4Wall Entertainment, which required a purpose-built system that would be able to support a virtual set of this magnitude. With a limited amount of time before production began, the virtual production facility Carstage and video display specialists at Visual Alchemy teamed up with Rosco and FuseFX to create a workflow that would allow the RDX System to run smoothly through Unreal Engine to display and scale high-resolution images onto the extensive LED screen that was made up of around 1,000 tiles.

A night scene test using the RDX LAB System is displayed on the LED wall at Carstage.

“It was a challenging project, but working with the RDX System was an incredible opportunity and it was clear from the beginning that the technology would disrupt the industry,” said Rob Striem, the unit production manager on Full Circle. “The ability to easily do things like control the weather or add layers, among other things, are huge time savers and will be a game-changer for future productions.”

Living room with a city view background created by RDX LAB system - the virtual production solution for Full Circle on MAX.The Browne family living room features a view of Manhattan thanks to the  RDX LAB System.

“The simplicity of the RDX System made it perfect for the show – once it was set up and tested, it was as if the wall wasn’t even there,” continued Striem. “It gave Steven the flexibility to be creative and shoot scenes exactly how he visualized them, without having to think about the content in the background. He could just do his job. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with the cost-effectiveness and reliability of the system, making it a worthwhile investment when considering the amount of time it saved us on set.”

Kitchen scene with a city view in the background created by RDX LAB system - the virtual production solution for Full Circle on MAX.The RDX LAB System provides the background out the window for this kitchen scene.

When speaking about the creative possibilities the RDX System afforded the production, Soderbergh added, “I can treat the stage like a practical location. In essence, it becomes invisible to me and that's exactly what you're looking for. That's a real indicator of how great this technology is. It literally fools you. At a certain point in time, you just feel like you're in a real space and you've stopped thinking about it. As a filmmaker that's the goal, for it to become integrated in an organic way to your approach.” The technology was so realistic that Soderbergh shared how the RDX System did, in fact, fool many members of the crew. “It was always funny to be working on the set, which was built to work as a real apartment with hallways and elevators, and you're in there for five or six hours working on a scene in which you've set the iPad to 3:30 pm in the afternoon. Then you're done with that, and you switch immediately to another mode, and you watch everybody's head spin because psychologically they've gotten into a space where they thought we were in an apartment at 3:30 pm in the afternoon. It's interesting psychologically and it made me laugh to watch people's reactions when they realize that oh yeah, we’re on a stage.”

Using Virtual Production To Bring Creativity Back To The Set

RDX Full Circle 4 RDX 2 copyGaffer Derek Gross poses in front of the LED wall with the RDX LAB System controller.

A key benefit of Rosco’s RDX LAB System is its ability to create realistic background imagery in-camera that film crews can easily change in real time via the mobile app controller. Having a Live-Action-Backdrop instead of a green screen also provides realistic lighting and reflections on set. “The controller for the RDX System is wonderful and made it easy to make adjustments based on what was shot," said Gross. “We had a custom seven-layer image that we could manipulate and had the ability to change focus, color, and lighting directly in the system – all in an extremely fast manner with virtually no lag.”

A crewmember uses the RDX LAB System controller to modify the background during testing.

The goal of the RDX LAB System is to provide filmmakers with an affordable, easy-to-use system that enables more creatives to tap into the advantages that virtual production technology inside an LED volume can provide. Not only does it give filmmakers more creative control on set, but it also opens up the possibilities of what can be achieved. Users can tap into the world’s most extensive collection of digital cinematic backdrop assets and explore numerous possibilities in the interactive app that wouldn’t be possible using other time-consuming and costly LED-based systems.

Make sure to watch Full Circle on MAX to see how the filmmakers used the RDX LAB System to create the background imagery on set. The RDX System is already being leveraged by other major studios and television networks on a number of new TV series. If you’d like to learn more about the RDX System, you can visit:

About Lauren Proud

Vice President, Marketing & Digital Experience : Lauren Proud has been with Rosco Laboratories since May, 2014. Coming from outside of the entertainment lighting industry, Lauren brings a unique perspective to all things Marketing at Rosco. Her background includes growing up in a household where her father was a Creative Director, and her mother was a Photographer and Illustrator’s Representative, so marketing was in her sights from an early age. Having worked with iconic brands such as Campbell Soup Company and British Airways, Lauren is well-positioned to write for Spectrum about the dynamic world of Marketing at Rosco.