We have a brandy NEW Mo-Sys system

We have a brandy NEW
Mo-Sys system

And we are ready to share.

In case you aren’t familiar… Mo-Sys is an award-winning, world-renowned maker of virtual production solutions. We’ve been watching them VERY closely, and have been headed down the virtual path with them for a while now. We have been learning with the Mo-Sys guys at NAB, Cinegear, and their laboratory in LA. Its now in our hot little hands, and ready for you.

Where is this Mo-sys we have?

The answer is: in our clutches, and anywhere you want it to be. You can come to our stage to use it, or we can come to you – on location or in any studio. Even in Brooklyn. We don’t judge.

Did you ask why?

Because it’s cost effective, and makes your life easier. And the rest of the production world has caught on, and knows its true. It’s ONE state of the art system that works for BOTH a green-screen AND LED application. Virtual production means no travel costs, no location fees, no set construction costs or waste—just unrestricted camera movement, amazing production value and complete creative freedom.

The badass hardware.

The design and form factor is tidy and impressive; the operating system is extremely well designed; and in most cases, it obviates the need for the sometimes problematic ‘Brain Bar’. Cobalt’s NEW virtual production solution enables a wide range of implementation options, from simple camera tracking metadata (used in post), to full up ‘final pixel’ 4K composites, and everything else in between. You really can’t ask for more than that. It is impressive, and is now the Industry standard.

The future of film is virtual.
Virtual is NOW.

Want to composite your high res 4K Live Action into dynamic, photorealistic Unreal environments with precision camera tracking, while shooting? It’s an end-to-end virtual production solution that can combine pre-viz, production, and post. Now clients can choose the workflow that’s perfect for their virtual project. Yes, color correction and compositing can be done onset while shooting. The world of filmmaking has exploded into the virtual realm, and is in Cobalt’s hands, once again.

Let’s Talk!

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

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solutions and support?

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Our A+ Shot for Apple TV’s “Dickinson.”

Our A+ Shot for Apple TV’s “Dickinson.”

Team Cobalt is no stranger to a good challenge. When presented with a tricky situation, we pounce at the chance to provide for the solution. One such opportunity recently came about on the set of Apple TV’s series, “Dickinson”.

When it comes to cameras and camera riggings, Team Cobalt has an ace up our collective sleeves. There’s hardly a problem we can’t solve in this regard. Team Cobalt has decades of ‘hands on’ PhD level experience in the field as producers and cinematic artists. So, when we were contacted about EFX needs and a camera rigging issue, we knew exactly how to tackle 💥

The DP on the “Dickinson” set called for a lightweight camera rig that was repeatable and easy to transport to a restoration village house (with significant weight and access restrictions). The modified rig had to fit exact specs while, of course, maintaining all camera functionality. Team Cobalt brought home the bacon with a super sharp rig that delivered on every expectation. Happy client, happy life! #CobaltOnThe Road

Team Cobalt = Rapid Response Problem Solvers.

As most in the biz know, the filmmaking world is blowing up with never before imagined state of the art hardware and software applications. From high end precision robotic cameras and rigs, to VR stages and volume sets, the Industry continues to push the storytelling envelope to bold new heights!! And… in case you haven’t noticed… we’re not just dipping our toes in the pool. We are NECK DEEP, and ready for more!

Whether it’s episodics, features or foodies, we can make the shot happen. When you combine our Team’s collective experiences with technique, cinematography, and our passion for Next Gen storytelling… you’ll see that we are as primed as ever to put a solution where your problem once was. Team Cobalt is mobile and ready. We can bring the magic to any client, to any set, and on any schedule.

Production needs? Need a stage – or two? EFX Support?? Want to try Virtual???

Let’s Talk!

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

Need Production
solutions and support?

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CASE STUDY: Creating complex tabletop VFX for Vallarta.

CASE STUDY

Creating complex tabletop VFX for Vallarta.

The challenge.

We leaned heavily on our team’s deep expertise, our comprehensive inventory of onsite Motion Control robotics and Phantom know-how for a recent commercial shoot with a large Hispanic grocery store chain, Vallarta. We were asked to produce a commercial where Vallarta’s vibrant fresh flavors would come alive! The store’s meat, vegetables, herbs, spices, and citrus juices needed to collide on camera, choreographed in a midair ballet, no less —not all at the same time, but sequentially. Vallarta knew what they wanted to see, but they needed Cobalt’s extensive background and knowledge in production to realize their vision.

The solution.

To deliver Vallarta’s delicious concept, we created one-of-a-kind rigs to orchestrate the shoot’s astounding array of manual, pneumatic, electromagnetic, and robotic elements. By shooting 1000 frames a second, a tenth of a second’s action was slowed down to 4 seconds onscreen. This enabled Vallarta to show audiences citrus juices meeting onions, then adding peppers, and so on, with ingredients crashing in the specific order and combination that the client envisioned. Using our programmable logic computer, we empowered this production to trigger multiple rigs with millisecond accuracy, releasing slingshots laden with fresh ingredients so they’d spring into action in front of the camera. To simulate wood-fired grilling, we built a unique grill rigged with lights and gas jets to create the appearance of flames, embers, and sparks rising up through it. Then, a manually-operated rig allowed the camera to look up through the grill and flames, and then pivot to look down onto the sizzling steak.

The impact.

We specialize in solving complex technical challenges. Consequently, our Turnkey soundstage is well-equipped to support clients with advanced rigs and technology. And, we like to share our toys, too! Even with many decades of Motion Control magic behind us, the complexity of these shots and this installation’s uniqueness will stand as a testament to our “Science in the Service of Art” credo. With our unique rigs, Vallarta captured their food on camera from new and exciting perspectives. Their audiences will have the opportunity to experience the stores’ freshness and flavor in a whole new way. And, when the shoot wrapped… it was simple… everyone left happy 🙂

Let’s Work Together!

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

Need Basic Production
solutions and support?

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When your work becomes your play.

When your work becomes your play.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs.

THIS is who we are! Our work has literally become our play! Every day it seems as though a new challenge presents itself with each call, text or email, but we jump in wholeheartedly because storytelling is genuinely what we love to do. ❤️

As you can see, we got a little flashy, pushed a lot of color and geometry in some exciting ways here. The goal was to channel retro while appealing to a younger demographic. And so, we just blew up the frame with some colorful product and literally made it all dance with traditional stop motion animation! The end product was playful and engaging. And that’s why we’re invited to the production table time and time again. Keep an eye out for news about our upcoming Christmas shoot.

Ready to fire up the Airstream again 😉

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

Need Basic Production
solutions and support?

THAT'S EASY - CALL US

What every producer should know about virtual set.

What every producer should know about virtual set.

Learning about Virtual Sets and using them whenever possible is a step all producers can take to reduce costs, creative compromises, carbon emissions, and solid waste. Want to sell your clients on this money-saving, planet-saving option? We can help. When we created the East Coast’s first Virtual Backlot, we promised to provide the Tri-State production community with the proper guidance to use it. Here are some of the things you should know.

Upgrade your sets for less.

Virtual Sets deliver a degree of detail that would be wildly expensive to create with practical sets. And that rich, convincing, VSet detail costs less than a practical set, too! For example, a typical low-cost office set consists of backlit blinds on the windows and a modest assortment of Ikea furniture. The virtual version, on the other hand, can show a view out the window that’s appropriate to the location, season, and time of day. Picture this— walls and shelves decked out with binders, awards, and books… Workstations loaded with computers, staplers, lamps, papers, phones, family photos, and coffee cups… And as a bonus, ensurance that set continuity becomes a non-issue, too.

Sustainable sets made simple.

The Industry is just starting to acknowledge the immense toll practical sets wreak on the environment. Part of the problem is their inherent transience. But when we dig a little deeper, the problem is more nuanced. Take luan, for example. This lightweight plywood is a popular set-building material because it’s easy to move around. Luan is harvested from rainforests and is “a massive source of deforestation” according to Hollywood’s sustainability consultant, Emille O’Brien. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Virtual Sets eliminate solid wastes, altogether, and create a minuscule carbon footprint. Because Virtual Sets are inexpensive and easy to use, there’s often no good reason not to.

Shoot anywhere in the universe.

Virtual Sets can enhance your production beyond budget constraints and environmental impact, too. With the infinite creative possibilities they offer, VSets are nothing short of revolutionary. With our Virtual Backlot, you can shoot in remote or even imaginary locations— the rainforest, a plane, or another planet—and you’re never more than 15 minutes from Midtown! Vast, photorealistic environments like “Black Panther’s” Wakanda are now possible. How do you think they created six virtual miles of futuristic cityscape and 60,000 individual buildings…? Answer: Virtual Set.

Our Virtual Set experts can set you up with everything you need to incorporate this valuable tool into YOUR methodology.

Let’s talk.

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

Need Basic Production
solutions and support?

THAT'S EASY - CALL US

We are production advisors

We are production advisors.

Helping producers problem-solve their projects is one of our specialties.

We know that Virtual Production and Motion Control can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be 😉 Today’s technology is easier than ever to master. So, let me show you how you can get the shot, and be fast, cost-effective and maybe even have ‘good times’.

Count on Cobalt’s Virtual Production experts.

The demand for Virtual Sets has increased exponentially in the past year. VSet is a must-have resource for today’s producers and directors, so we make ourselves available to share our expertise. We’re the first soundstage to offer Virtual Sets to the public on the East Coast, so our team has in-depth experience to guide you. Whether you want to sell your clients on a Virtual Production methodology, or whether they requested it themselves, we can help.

Your secret-weapon production partner.

Producers and production managers/coordinators love working at Cobalt because we understand their challenges far better than your average soundstage. As a company founded by producers, for producers, we’re uniquely equipped to offer an additional layer of support you won’t find anywhere else. When you book our locations and services for your productions, we take the time to listen, and we’re quick to offer solutions that save productions time, money, and stress.

Motion control, under control.

There’s no cinematic discipline that requires a more consultative approach than Motion Control. And fortunately for the Tri-State production community, Cobalt’s own Alex Fernbach has been a pioneer in the field! As the inventor of the array camera that he created for the “Bullet Time” scene in “The Matrix”, Alex now brings his encyclopedic knowledge and unparalleled creativity to advise our clients. We recently pulled off a miraculous MoCo job that entailed an undisclosed comedic celebrity TV Special, with 48 hours’ notice to coordinate equipment and talent in three time zones, as well as, a custom rig that had to fit in an extraordinarily tight space. Cobalt’s very own “Stage Manager Steve” even drove the rig overnight to Chicago, so our client wouldn’t miss a beat. We never want to let you down, and that’s just how we roll… sometimes all the way to Chicago 😉

Let us be YOUR secret weapon and see how we make everything easier for the production community. Let’s talk.

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

Need Basic Production
solutions and support?

THAT'S EASY - CALL US

Why I Made Friends with Robots

Why I made friends with robots.

by Alex Fernbach

We know that Motion Control can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Today’s MoCo technology is easier than ever to master. Let me show you how MoCo makes precision moves manageable, so getting the shot can be fast, cost-effective and maybe even ‘good times’.

MoCo is about the mindset.

As a Cinematographer, DP, and Effects Supervisor, I’ve come to rely on non-linear problem solving to arrive at the simplest and most cost-effective solutions. Start with the shot you want to create, then ‘zoom out,’ breaking it down into smaller, more manageable components. Next, envision how they all fit together. When you ‘zoom out’ this way, it’s easier to see all the facets of a single shot, and you open the door to ‘eureka moments’. For example, what looks like a complex camera-moving problem can often be reimagined, and you’ll discover that it’s simpler to move the object, instead.

Get the story behind the shot.

Getting the backstory helps you process the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind great Motion Control executions. That’s always more valuable than just knowing ‘what’ was done. One side-by-side, time-lapse product shot demanded a novel solution… It started with two hand models smearing deodorant sticks on a sheet of sandpaper. Then came the 2-3 hours of time-lapse to show off the product’s performance. Because of the time-lapse, we wouldn’t know if we had a good take for hours. We also had to repeat this demo with several competitors’ products. We were severely crunched for time, but MoCo came to the rescue! We build 3 sandpaper cubes, then wrote a simple Motion Control move to turn the cubes from facet to facet. This way, we were able to shoot 12 takes at a time instead of one. In record time, our delighted client got about 50 takes to choose from! Now, any time you run into a similar problem, you’ll have a sense of how MoCo can help solve it.

Find a right-sized solution.

When you ‘zoom out’ and see the big picture, a shot that looks complex on the surface might be achievable with an absurdly simple solution. One commercial product job required oversized pills to roll out of a shot, revealing the ‘hero product’ in the background. The producer first came to us with an elements list a mile long. He envisioned the pills being actuated by arms from above, but given the production time it would have taken to shoot all the picture and matte passes, this would have been a herculean task. (Not to mention all the rig removal and reflection restoration)… The right-sized Motion Control solution was inexpensive and far from complicated. We put the pills on tiny sleds with a magnet, then ran a magnetic rig under the table to move them. Our magnetic rigging was invisible, the effect was in-camera, and the solution created ZERO post-production ramifications. Again, great success!

Don’t be afraid to ‘retro-tech.’

So, as you can see, being clever and inventive is infinitely more important than just having the latest gadget! I’ll tell you one more story about seeing things differently. On another shoot, we had a challenging water shot to pull off. We needed a high-speed macro shot of a pebble falling into the water, making a crown-shaped splash, but without seeing the stone. In linear thinking, one might say we have to hide the pebble somehow. By breaking it down and seeing all the angles, I was able to devise a simple solution. We cut a hole in the bottom of a shallow tank, stretched some latex across the gap, and connected a motion-controlled motor to push and pull the center of the latex creating a beautiful ‘crown effect’ without the pebble.

Lastly, get good advice.

I can’t imagine any aspect of cinema requiring a more ‘consultative’ approach than Motion Control. When you hire a motion control company, you should be getting some solid advice as to how best to achieve the desired shot. Work with a supplier who spends some quality time with you discussing the nuances of the shoot, planning out the schedule, resource allocation, and system redundancies. This sort of service and support helps your production to contain costs and deliver uncompromised creative work.

The takeaway.

Motion Control is a unique blend of analytical problem-solving and out-of-the-box creativity. Get your mind around big shots by breaking them down into smaller components; tailor the solution to the problem; and seek out the best advice you can get. You’ll be amazed at how this ‘Big Picture’ approach can help make your MoCo projects manageable, and even fun!


About Alex Fernbach.

Alex Fernbach is a Director and Cinematographer who’s worked on TV commercials for some of the world’s most iconic brands, as well as feature films, television documentaries, short films and trailers. He is an industry-renowned thought leader, having appeared as a featured speaker at major universities, film festivals and industry events.

Alex is an innovator at the forefront of Motion Control Technology and in-camera Visual Effects. The pursuit of this passion led him to design and invent the 1st Array Camera in the US, which he sold to ‘The Matrix’, producing the legendary ‘bullet time’ effect and revolutionizing cinema.

Alex is also the co-owner of Cobalt Stages, by-producers, for-producers turnkey soundstage in Hoboken, N.J. offering state-of-the-art production solutions, onsite and on location.

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

Need Basic Production
solutions and support?

THAT'S EASY - CALL US

Variety Magazine, Take 2 🎬

Variety, take 2 🎬

The ‘Congrats’ and ‘Likes’ keep pouring in concerning our headlining moment in Variety Magazine. The article is about the Jersey film experience and how the state has shifted to accommodate for the creation of state-of-the-art sound stages. As early NJ pioneers, Cobalt was the first true Turnkey Soundstage and the first to offer Virtual Production to the East Coast film community. Thank you Variety for this beautiful recognition 🙂

VR stages vs location shooting.

The article also highlights the move away from location shooting to VR stages and platforms across the entire Industry. Of course, location shooting has been a staple in the business for decades, but more agreeable and cost effective solutions are now at hand. Even landmark location shoots now have an easy alternative.

Sure, you could shoot in Central Park, apply for and then pay for the permits, deal with potential scheduling issues (weather, anyone?). Or you could shoot Central Park in idealized comfort at a VR stage, and no one’s the wiser. Plug in some quick post on the fly, and you’ll find Cobalt makes for an ideal turnkey operation.

Simplicity + adaptability = virtual production anywhere!

Clearly, we’re changing how we do what we do. From commercials to episodics to features, the ease and adaptability of these fast forward applications is causing a pivot in our direction. More and more, producers are realizing just how budget and schedule friendly it can all be.

So, it seems what was once Plan B, now is a firm Plan A. With everything shifting the way it is, we find ourselves standing nicely on both familiar and evolving ground. Team Cobalt is now more mobile, more able, and more reachable than ever before.

Our exciting new news is that we can now set up our Virtual Backlot in YOUR backlot 🙂 Just tell us when and where to drop the appropriate-sized green screen and we are virtual on the spot. You want an LED wall? We can handle that too. Want a set extension? No problem.

And, of course, we check all the boxes: it’s quick to set up; hosts Unreal assets; has rock solid camera tracking; you can beam in or zoom. Yes, and speaking of checking all the boxes… Virtual Production is even Green, and Cobalt is a Woman Owned Business. You can even choose to go ‘final pixel’, or noodle with the elements in post. Virtual Production has NEVER been so simple, so flexible and accessible. It’s cost conscious VR technology at your doorstep, when and where you need it.

Stay tuned to this space! More exciting news to come!
And don’t be shy!! Call us, so we can tell you about it!

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

Need Basic Production
solutions and support?

THAT'S EASY - CALL US

Netflix Camera Tests

Netflix camera tests put our turnkey studio to the test.

The challenge.

Repeat client, Netflix, came back to Cobalt to test camera, lens, lighting, and filter combinations to create the mood the director had in mind before the new season began… Camera test days are different situations from production where prep decisions and artistic choices are mostly decided in advance. For this kind of project, the Director of Photography experiments to push the limit of what their camera and lens packages can do. You might need a slider, some atmosphere in the air, or a powerful light—all of which Cobalt can provide on the spot.

The solution.

Our Turnkey Soundstage was built to support the flexible needs of productions on every kind of assignment, including this one. The DP conducted open-ended experiments to learn the equipment and design the film’s look and feel. To use the space and time even more efficiently, the production used our wardrobe and talent holding areas to select and try on costumes and test and see how they moved so that animators could sketch the wardrobe in motion. Then, combining these elements, the lighting and the color palettes of fabrics got to merge and play together, too. Lastly, they used garment steamers, rolling racks, and more, putting everything we had to productive use!

The impact.

This kind of behind-the-scenes learning could never happen in an empty warehouse without sacrificing efficiency and cost savings. Cobalt’s versatile space and comprehensive equipment and amenities made the day run smoothly, and this Netflix production wrapped a successful day on a high note. We’re a grab bag of opportunity when it comes to testing!! Plus, we have killer AC 😉

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

Need Basic Production
solutions and support?

THAT'S EASY - CALL US

Our Field Trip to Mo-Sys!

Our field trip to Mo-Sys.

After our production job in Los Angeles.

In case you aren’t familiar… Mo-Sys is an award-winning, world-renowned manufacturer of virtual production solutions. We’ve been watching them VERY closely, and have been headed down the virtual path with them for a while now (wink wink). We met with the Mo-Sys guys at NAB and Cinegear; but then, we really decided to take the bull by the horns, and meet with them at their own laboratory after producing our verite commercial spots in Los Angeles.

Our visit to the Mo-Sys facilities did not disappoint. We were greeted with an impressive assortment of high-end gear. The future of filmmaking was paraded right out in front of us. The Mo-Sys demonstrations were eye opening, and while we’ve known that tech like this has been around for a while now, to see ONE state of the art system work for both a green-screen AND an LED application was pretty darn cool…

The hardware.

The Mo-Sys virtual production system was exactly what we’d hoped it would be. The design and form factor was tidy and impressive; the operating system was extremely well designed; and in most cases, it obviated the need for the sometimes problematic ‘Brain Bar’.

Their VSet solution enables a wide range of implementation options, from simple camera tracking metadata to be used in post, to full up ‘final pixel’ 4K composites, and everything else in between. You really can’t ask for more than that. It was impressive to see, to feel, to know that this technology not only exists but is, in fact, now the Industry standard. The world of filmmaking is exploding into the virtual realm, and our one-on-one with Mo-Sys seriously confirmed it. Thank you, Andrew, Vanesa, and Allen!!

The future of film is virtual.

Clearly, Mo-Sys is riding our kind of wave! Their vision is bold and exciting, and their VSet solution would easily complement our full suite of services at Cobalt. Hmmmm….. Imagine being able to composite your high res 4K Live Action into dynamic, photorealistic Unreal environments with precision camera tracking, while shooting. It’s an end-to-end virtual production solution that can combine pre-viz, production, and post. Now clients can choose the workflow that’s perfect for their virtual project. Yes, color correction and compositing can be done onset while shooting. If this is the future, then sign us up.

Keep a firm eye on this space. The sky is virtually the limit. I think we will have more to say very soon.

Mo-Sys has our undivided attention.

Learn about Virtual Production
and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun 😉

ASK US ABOUT VIRTUAL

Need Basic Production
solutions and support?

THAT'S EASY - CALL US