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UNLOCK FREEDOM Mo-Sys founder Michael Geissler discusses efficiencies in Hybrid Virtual Production for small- to medium-budget projects and corporate content producers
HERE’S THE THING – many people use virtual production as a synonym for LED wall filming. In reality, virtual production does cover LED walls, but also green screens, blue screens and much more. There’s a misconception that its rise in popularity will mean LED walls are going to take over from green screen production. People believe that huge LED volumes will be required to film what they need, when in fact, if you mix smaller LED walls with green screen, you don’t need a big volume to shoot big projects at all. With Mo-Sys’ Hybrid Virtual Production workflow, it can all be achieved within a relatively small space, without splashing out on large, expensive volumes. Virtual production for small and mid-range budgets has been somewhat neglected in all the LED hype, yet these are the projects that benefit the most from what it has to offer – by increasing production value within the same budget. Virtual production thrives on constraints. The moment you’re limited by budget or location, VP kicks in – and that’s where it gets highly efficient. It is a powerful tool which can enable production in seemingly far away and exotic locations, which the budget wouldn’t have stretched to. It’s important to remember, when filming with LED volumes, you need to bring set builders in to create a seamless join between the real-world studio and virtual scene displayed on the LED wall – and you can’t have natural shadows. That means your digital advantage of switching from one scene to the next for superfast production is gone. You must build the floor for every different scene, which complicates things – and is the opposite of what people expect with LED wall filming, which has a reputation for being more efficient. This is why a lot of LED wall demos are actually done with sand, as you can pour it out and move it quickly for easy set building. But we can’t just keep filming on beaches and deserts or far away planets. When people look back on work filmed in virtual production, I’ll bet they’ll know it was shot between 2021 and 2022 just by noting the sand used for the floor! With green screen, on the other hand, you can film the floor as it’ll be replaced later with the scene you want, along with the shadows cast, making it more realistic.
CHOOSE YOUR FIGHTER Technicians need to understand the advantages of LED or green screens
Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of both styles of filming, it would make sense to use each for its benefits. That’s why we developed a Hybrid Virtual Production workflow which combines the two – filming on green screen for wide shots where you’ll need to shoot the floor, and switching to LED volumes in the same studio for mid and close-up shots. LED walls work well for this, particularly if your actor is wearing glasses or something reflective, which in green screen causes a green colour spill. Green spill is much more forgiving in wide shots where you’re further away from the actors. In LED, it just reflects the scene around them – a much more realistic option. So, your actors are shooting on green screen, and once they move over to the LED wall in the same studio, someone can prepare the green screen and its foreground props for the next scene. It all just creates further efficiency on set and throughout production. BACK TO SCHOOL All these misconceptions mean that further education is needed in this space. That’s unsurprising, as it’s a new way of filming. It’s also a completely new workflow, which
reduces post-production and filming time through preparation and pre-production. To recalibrate how people work, training is required on the foundations of virtual production – LED walls, green screens, lens distortion, colouration and synchronisation. That’s why we built the Mo-Sys Academy, to transfer knowledge and build confidence in small groups. After two weeks of hands-on learning, you can reach technician level. There’s currently a knowledge gap in the industry between virtual production experts and most filmmakers and producers who will be using it to create bigger and better work. But there’s a hunger for it; people are getting curious. Be one of the first to master these workflows and lead the way to the future of magical filmmaking. Create more, do it fast and for less with Mo-Sys’ Hybrid Virtual Production workflow.
33. JANUARY 2023
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