VIRTUAL PRODUCTION INDUS TRY.
Democracy in virtual production is causing an evolution in the technology. We look at how these new tools work
VIRTUAL The Mo-Sys Startracker is suitable for AR and VR. It was used on the BBC’s 2020 series of Strictly Come Dancing
WORDS. Chelsea Fearnley
A s VFX becomes a greater part of the industry, virtual production attempts to fix the growing divide between what filmmakers can see through the camera on-set, and what they have to imagine will be added digitally many months later. But the technology isn’t new. It’s something that’s been utilised for a long time, and can even be traced as far back as the 1999 production of The Lord of the Rings . However, because it’s expensive and still needs improvement, there’s been a monopoly on who gets to use it. In the movie business, there’s only so much money for R&D, since there are so few people who need it. 3D is one such
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD In its simplest form, virtual production is the ability to mix live footage and computer graphics at once, to get real- time feedback and make on-set decisions about VFX and animation. It gets a bit more complex with VR, because the content is almost entirely computer generated. You can pick up a tree and move it, grab the sun and change the light, become a character and give a different performance. The benefits of virtual production are unending. What it’s really good at – and helped pummel it into the mainstream – is how it allows for less travel and lodging for crew, because you can create any
example of an emerging technology that could only reach so far without proper funding, because it was such a pain to use. But the rise in consumer technology is making it possible to fix these problems. When we think about how much time people spend on their phones and laptops, you start to realise they’re living two lives: the physical one we’ve always known, and the digital one inside our devices. Now, all the world’s biggest companies are trying to marry those two worlds together – and it’s going to be enormous for VFX in the film industry. It means virtual production will finally become democratised.
27. SEPTEMBER 2021
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