DEFINITION July 2022 - Newsletter


“I would put flexibility above all else. Don’t go into things with a preconceived notion of how it must be done, because it’s constantly changing”

capturing different aspects of a scene simultaneously. I see not only four simultaneous cameras, like we can do today, but hundreds, giving real-time 360° capture. Imagine a single scene with thousands of vantage points. In real time, a viewer could change their perspective, or a director could create a fly-through, even after wrapping. SALVINI: Artists from different parts of the production pipeline – such as animation, lighting and layout – are able to simultaneously collaborate on the development of a shot. They can also scout a world virtually, which is a huge plus. Up front, it allows filmmakers to explore locations and find the best ways to use them to benefit a story. In production, filmmakers can treat a digital set like they would a real-world one. They can adjust all the elements of a scene with complete creative control. LEVY: As the metaverse will be, by its very nature, a live system, production workflows are likely to mimic those more commonly found in broadcast and events, but then merge with the real-time technology found in gaming and beyond. Effective previz and techviz workflows will mitigate the associated risks. The potential value of those assets is really interesting. If planned correctly, the initial rough previz creation will continually improve in quality and sophistication, to the point it becomes the final pixel asset used in the production. As the digital divide narrows, filmmakers globally will have access to the biggest and most sophisticated distribution channel in human history. The metaverse promises ease and access not only for individual filmmakers, but entire nations to share their cultural heritage. It has the potential to deliver a level of visual immersion and interactivity which could usher in a completely new way of storytelling. What I love is that we have access to many of the key technologies that are instrumental for building the metaverse. Those technologies enable us to look at a script and say, ‘we can keep it in’. How might the existing skills of creatives be adapted to fit a new virtual world? NOBLE: It’s easy to see what’s currently being developed in the metaverse and jump to the conclusion that it will remove the need for filmmakers, as game engines

are used to build these digital worlds. However, as the scope increases and creative demand grows with it, it’s going to require professionals who have skills that filmmakers already possess. One fundamental aspect the metaverse shares with traditional filmmaking is that the whole experience is based on immersion and how close to reality it feels. BRODERSEN: All of the traditional game and VFX asset creation skills, such as modelling, rigging and shading, will continue to be highly relevant – even if some of these processes become more automated and assisted through combinations of asset libraries, photogrammetry, procedural tools and machine learning-based synthesis. ALLAN: It’s more important than ever to keep on top of the latest advancements in core technologies, as well as building a good understanding of new elements, like USD and glTF files, which are likely to become standard building blocks of the industrial and consumer metaverse. You can consider USD the HTML of the 3D world, and glTF as the counterpart to JPEG for 3D content. Understanding these two formats will become increasingly important, as they do have deeper complexities than their 2D cousins. HOCHMAN: When I created the first LED-lit sequence with Harris Savides and David Fincher for Zodiac , we were inventing how to do it as we went. There were no game engines to drive displays, so I had to write GPU shaders that could adjust content in real time. Everything was timecode driven, so the scene could be repeated over a lot of takes. Reflecting back on this, I view all of this technology as a means to getting better repeatability, and to do so means that the ‘fix it in post’ mindset has to go away. Everything is becoming pre-production and worldbuilding – something the metaverse is actually already set up for. Knowing how to drive game engines and digital assets is a must, but I would put flexibility above all else. Don’t go into things with a preconceived notion of how it must be done, because it’s constantly changing. In part two, the experts explore how the viewer experience may change with the rise of the metaverse, and speculate on just how close we are to slotting the final pieces of the puzzle into place.

59. JULY 2022

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