WHAT IS A VIRTUAL PRODUCTION?
Virtual production means post-production can be completed in the development and preparation phase of film production, in essence allowing the writer and director to visualise their film from the beginning. You are literally able to see live into a virtual environment. This amazing technology allows for complex visual effects to be shot in-camera. Resulting in the editor now being able to be a function in the production phase, rather than traditional filming at the end in post production. This allows for the team to manipulate the aspects of the scene they see in real time, as play-back can be interactively manipulated onto the LED wall. Collaborative interaction is crucial to the vision of the film, including the director, production designer, set designer, editor, director of photography, all these people can now work as part of a team to make changes on set. Due to the way the production team is able to work more efficiently with a shorter schedule, results in the shot count being reduced as much of the work is completed on set.
Real time rendering
Real time rendering and pixel-accurate tracking is another element, which makes this innovative way of filming and editing photo-real digital landscapes, a truly magnificent team experience. No longer does it just fall to one or two team members, virtual production means the crew can work collaboratively, share ideas and visualisations on the spot. This has proven critical for the final product, as better communication and changes made with confidence in the moment, results in a production which is breathtaking.
The technology works with the LED
The technology works with the LED stage in combination with a motion capture system, which detects the 3D position of the camera footage and then places that footage directly onto the LED wall. The images are then rendered for the LED panel and ready to use immediately. This all happens faster than the camera recording a single frame! Photogrammetry is a technique which measures the distances between objects and the environment. The use of scientific measurements to obtain and record reliable information allows the creation of a highly detailed and textured replica 3D environment to be built. This technology allows the technicians to manipulate the environment, creating a virtual world which is recognisable and realistic. This also ensures that the Director can talk directly to the technicians about what to manipulate and which shots they want to work on, meaning that they are not limited to the natural world’s time restrictions. Photogrammetry reconstruction of location shots will add to the realism of the film world. The software manages all the calculations based on the spatial layout of the display hardware. This software then ensures the content across the LED screens are in sync.
Film anywhere in the universe
Virtual Studios have the ability to engage with remote feeds of footage around the country or globe even! This results in working with a team in our studio, without the need of bringing them to a specific location. This is also highly useful as it uses time effectively, without compromising the quality of input from all team members. Footage can then be uploaded and used for set testing before production is to begin. Precise lighting and set props can then be matched to the highest degree of perfection, ready for final imagery and real takes.
Immersive lighting is another reason why virtual productions are the way forward for studios. Traditionally filming on location will be limited to what the environment can offer. If a scene had to be shot at sun-rise then Directors are limited to real time of a sun-rise, however with a LED virtual production, the team will not face time constraints, they can shoot for as long as they like. This means that the Director can accomplish shots impeccably thus the final production is perfection. The issues of traditional green screen included green spill and poor contact lighting on characters, LED Virtual Production offers a more realistic form of lighting, with the correct highlights, light shifts, reflections and pings. LED walls provide an ideal solution for when automotive filming is planned, as it showcases realistic reflections thus keeping up with verisimilitude. Gone are the traditional methods for filming realistic lighting, with bounce cards or lights having to be bought in, powered up with extension cord after extension cord. Lighting can now be manipulated digitally with an instant with a hit of a button. The pixels of our LED panels will also help determine a lower risk of moire, culminating in a higher quality image.
Pickups for film and TV are easier to shoot
Virtual productions also offer a huge benefit to production as 90% of the shots are completed on camera versus the traditional method where the edit would be largely completed in post-production phase. This also means that pickups for film and TV are easier to shoot, without breaking the budget and scheduling. New technology like this is also proving that film and TV production can ultimately eradicate the need for location shoots.