PART 2: VIRTUAL PRODUCTION ROUND TABLE INDUS TRY.
technologies is required – and the only way to address such skills shortages is for universities, unions, industry organisations and VP practitioners to facilitate hands-on training. We’re already seeing interest from film universities, coming to us to integrate LED volumes as part of their on-site teaching. So we’re hopeful it will be addressed quite quickly, and the new generation of filmmakers will have learnt such techniques straight from school. What’s next for virtual production? And how will it become more democratised and accepted by the industry? PILBOROUGH-SKINNER: One of the most exciting things about the evolution of VP is the sheer number of new ideas and collaborations. Unlike traditional VFX or other on-set roles, all the tools and technologies are available to download and experiment with for free. We’re seeing filmmakers, directors and students creating their own VP shoots at home using Unreal, consumer tracking systems and monitors/projectors. There’s no longer a large time or monetary commitment to get into the space. As VP is new tech, it’s been fantastic seeing everyone’s contributions to best practices, technically and creatively, to understand how far we can push this new medium. HUNT: With virtual production already accepted in the industry, there needs to be a period of establishing good talent, with training and exposure to the technology key. Virtual production is still a new sector, currently taking its people from
“Once we all understand a common workflow language, departments will evolve in the same direction – and the pace of innovation will grow”
VFX companies… they all care about different aspects of a particular process of moviemaking. Volumes and virtual production somewhat force all of these roles to converge on a single topic, and must intelligently know what the other is doing technically, so everyone can be successful. Once we all understand a common workflow language, departments will evolve together in the same direction – and the pace of innovation will grow even faster. LEVY: Our industry will continue to improve the robustness, efficiency, cost, control and quality of producing content using virtual production techniques. What’s next? Lots of opinion at the moment, and plenty of talk about the metaverse. What I can say is that I’m very excited to see what we do next. PRAK: What we see evolving is the way video content is sent from the render engine to the LED processing platform. The video content will not be rendered on site, but another location – like delivering render nodes on demand. The whole concept of virtual production is accepted and used by a wider part of the industry, and will be embraced by more and more production types. It will become available for more applications – not only high-end, but also lower end. This is a fast-paced process. HAMILL: Looking at the technical advancements in VP happening now, we believe that in five to ten years, 80 to 90% of visual effects could be captured in camera. However, for that to be vastly accepted in the industry, we need to work on a uniform set of VP practices, tools and approaches. Through such collaboration at industry level – and support from film schools and universities – there will be a greater application in the very near future. As more experts in this niche field emerge, the technique will become more commercially viable for indie filmmaking, too. We look forward to seeing the sustainability data regarding VP from industry organisations like the British Film Commission. They are now compiling in-depth research, and the results will certify its acceptance as a more viable – and sustainable – method of production.
other departments and industries. If it is to grow, we need to develop good people first and foremost. In terms of technology, we are still two to three years away from the next groundbreaking wave of LED innovation. I look forward to working with manufacturers over the next two years, developing products aimed purely at VP. KAESTNER: More and more successful virtual production projects will emerge. Filmmakers and studios will embrace this further, once it becomes clear how best to utilise and apply the potential of the technology. The more creatives understand it, the more they can leverage its cost-effectiveness. And, as a result, it has the potential to become a fully accepted and integrated part of storytelling. Not every project necessarily lends itself towards virtual production, but it can be extremely powerful when understood and used correctly. HOCHMAN: Realistically, it will take some time and effort. But, once there are common teachable workflows with a shared vocabulary, teams will be able to approach this process as a normal part of the filmmaking job. Today, content creators, DOPs, directors, producers,
31. FEBRUARY 2022
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