DEFINITION January 2022 – Web


Space Race WORDS. Chelsea Fearnley IMAGES. Various I n 2020, as numerous lockdowns and travel restrictions impacted on- location shoots, the ability to film in a contained, controlled space that could stand in for multiple environments grew in appeal – and continues to do so. It’s the versatility of virtual production that makes it so attractive. But not only does it allow production teams and filmmakers to dream big in terms of setting and context, it also enables technical and creative departments to come together and breathe new life into the way that stories are visually told. Since the start of last year, the UK film industry has witnessed a kind of doubling effect, as more and more virtual production stages are being built to meet increasing demand. Going into 2022, the

Companies around the world are charging ahead to set up virtual production stages, but it is the UK that has seen the strongest growth. We highlight just a few of the studios at the forefront of a sector with infinite possibilities

global virtual production market was already worth $1607.09 million, and is projected to reach $2941.27 million by the year 2028; a CAGR of 15.9% during that forecast period. We can’t wait to see what will become of this technology (see our round table on page 31 for predictions), but for now, let’s shine the spotlight on some of the British facilities housing impressive LED volumes. “Virtual production is the natural successor of green screen, and a sure-fire staple of the film industry for years to come”

In March 2021, Garden Studios increased its size, expanding by 65,000 sq ft, providing 127,000 sq ft of studio space in total. The new site, known as the Orchid Campus, comprises 11 serviced offices, two shooting spaces (around 40,000 sq ft) and a 16,000 sq ft workshop. This is in addition to its existing three sound stages, three shooting spaces, and four fully equipped production offices and workshop units. The crowning jewel, however, is its state-of-the-art virtual production stage. Powered by Unreal Engine, it is a 4800 sq ft space, offering a flexible, safe and socially distanced working environment, that is sustainable and cost-effective. Garden Studios has partnered with several industry experts to build its volume, which is a 12-metre-wide, GARDEN STUDIOS PARK ROYAL, UK

four-metre-high curved LED wall, and a 7.6-metre-wide, height-adjustable LED ceiling. Roe Visual supplied its award- winning LED display technology; Mo-Sys its StarTracker camera tracking system; Arri its Alexa Mini LF with head, legs, preview monitor and a set of prime lenses; and Brompton Technology its Tessera LED processor. The stage also uses an iPad Pro and DMX lighting controller for real-time adjustments. Mark Pilborough-Skinner, virtual production supervisor, says: “Virtual production is the natural successor of green screen, and a sure-fire staple of the film industry for years to come. We have worked incredibly hard – with some of the best industry minds – to develop a studio with impeccable workflow and infinite possibilities.”

NEW BEGINNINGS Virtual production (top right) is changing almost all aspects of production – from the images that can be created, to the logistics of filmmaking

41. JANUARY 2022

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