The push towards creating The Next Stage happened during Covid-19, when La Planète Rouge’s team looked at the technologies that were emerging and decided it was time to make the leap – and they turned out to be very right. “We were there right at the beginning, one of the first virtual production studios in France,” recalls Morgann from the team. “If we had built it just a few months later, we probably couldn’t have afforded all the components because everything went crazy! We were lucky – nowadays, a studio of our size with our technology would cost three to four times more.” The Next Stage has a 400 sq m LED area – equating to 50 million pixels – nine real-time Disguise/Unreal 5/
RTX4090 rendering servers, plus a top- tier integrated lighting and robotics environment, providing endless creative possibilities within a realistic budget for productions. Non-national filmmakers can also take advantage of the appealing Tax Rebate for International Productions (TRIP), which applies to foreign-initiated films where all or part of the production takes place in France, making for sizable cost savings. One of the team’s most treasured projects so far was 2022’s Warsha , an acclaimed short film, which follows a Syrian migrant working on vertiginous cranes in Beirut, who discovers freedom and passion away from the eyes on the street below. “That’s a project that we’re
really proud of,” smiles Morgann. Warsha was shortlisted at the Oscars and won at Sundance, as well as winning around a hundred other prizes around the world. “The part we did is the bit in the crane – he’s doing his thing 300 metres in the sky, dreaming about becoming a dancer,” shares Morgann. “We couldn’t go to Beirut because it was during the pandemic, but we hired people in Beirut to get photos of the skyline by drone. We put it on a wall and did the crane cabin, which worked great. And in the second part, he’s dancing with the chains; so we had to suspend him. The cool part is that people couldn’t understand how we made it! The film is beautiful, and I think we did a great a job”.
GREAT WALL Wuxi Studios is home to the largest LED volume in China (right)
dressing and atmospheric elements had to be choreographed and rehearsed down to the tiniest detail.” The volume offers an integrated environment with studio design, rigging solutions, quality hardware and signal distribution throughout for a flexible and efficient experience. This is all complemented by playback systems and powerful control solutions, plus a dedicated team of specialists on hand to support. “Instead of feeling confined in a tech-led space, our customers appreciate the LED volume for its creative freedom and production efficiency,” Levy continues. “There has been a big shift in mindset; filmmakers are now thinking of technology as a tool to create what was previously impossible. The best results we see now stem from scripts that have been written for the volume, rather than ones retrofitted to incorporate the technology. Our clients enjoy a great deal of freedom. At the ARRI Stage London, cinematographers see that their skills and craft are needed more than ever in a virtual production environment.”
WUXI STUDIOS Jiangsu Province, China
Wuxi Studios, owned and operated by the China Research Institute of Film Science & Technology (CRIFST), is an impressive digital film industrial park that combines commercial film studio with leisure destination. A recent addition to ‘Chinawood’ was the cutting-edge virtual production lab, featuring China’s largest LED volume. Powered by Brompton Technology LED processing, the wall is semi-circular in shape, measuring a huge 44m in width, 10m in height and 23m in diameter; constructed using 1760 ROE Visual Black Pearl BP2V2 LED panels. The CRIFST team
chose Brompton Technology 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors, accompanied by an additional 36 Tessera XD 10G data distribution units – a combination capable of delivering stunning visuals with a flexible and sophisticated single- box solution designed to overcome the challenges of large LED display systems. With the completion of the new LED volume, Wuxi Studios has witnessed an increasing number of film productions scheduled to shoot at the studio. One of these is STELLAR ECHO , the first short film to be produced using China’s biggest LED volume.
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