world each shot is done by a different layout person, the animation is done differently from the lighting, and you don’t actually see everything until the end when it gets in to compositing. “So we bring all that forward, which allows you to have a finger in every department. If you want to edit, move a light, change a lens and do colour grading, you can do it all at the same time because they’re all right there, as it’s all real time and it’s all in one program.” MASSIVE CHANGE The impact of this kind of change in production is huge and will affect the whole industry. “This is a media revolution. I might be biased, but it’s true. It will have the same impact as the move from film to digital cinematography, in terms of changing what happens on set and changing the equipment. Here’s an example: you’re doing a VFX shot on a film, let’s say you’re comping in a dinosaur. The traditional way What we’re seeing now with every new version of Unity is the increased quality of the graphics

ABOVE Unity’s short film Sonder combines 2D animation with the richness of 3D environments

the dinosaur on the set, literally where you want it. You can then change exactly what you want. “What the CG houses are saying, and this is a quote from Digital Filmtree in LA: ‘More money is hitting the screen because now, when we build something, we know that it’s exactly what they want because it was already tried out on set’. They’re very happy, as the time is shorter but the quality is higher. These are tools that people shouldn’t be afraid of because once they try them out they’ll see that they are so transformative.” REAL TIME The work that Unity did with The Jungle Book was based on proxies with basic shading, but it was still great to see everything. “What we’re seeing now with every new version of Unity is the increased quality of the graphics, including recently real-time ray tracing. So the quality of the real-time representation of these models is getting better and better.” Unity are at present talking and working with all the main content producers, including companies like Netflix who are on course to embrace the virtual production world – but it’s not all about saving money, “We initially thought that saving money was going to be the huge thing, and it is for some smaller studios, but for the larger studios it’s not all about saving money. They want the savers to allow for more time developing stories so the content is better, they feel that they can get closer to the characters and experiment. You can see if jokes are working and the timing is right; you have more choices – ‘what if we shot this with an overhead or changed the edit on that?’. “Neill Blomkamp on Adam 2 quite famously changed the lighting on one of the shots on the last day from a noon sun to a four-o’clock-in-the-afternoon sun. It was about 2:30pm when it had to be done, which in traditional CG is beyond laughable but it was done on time on the day.”

of doing this is that the director and the DOP and everyone is on set, and they’re saying, ‘the dinosaur is going there’, and they close their eyes and visualise what it will look like. Then a VFX supervisor will measure where the camera is and everything else in the shot, and they will go back to the CG house who will look at the photos and the measurements, and will build what they need to build and then make the dinosaur and comp it in, probably cleaning up some stuff to make it look as real as possible. “The director is then seeing it maybe three weeks later from the initial shot – and realises that the dinosaur should have come in from the left and not the right. What we do is allow the dinosaur to be there in the set, so you’re there with an iPad – you see

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