Definition November 2021 - Web


INNOVATION Studios are capitalising on new technology, to make studios more efficient and able to deal with remote working

manager and PA at Sandstorm Films. “We’ve built a creative members’ club on-site, so you can come to Sandstorm and feel like you’re on holiday while you make your film or TV show. We have a bar, cafe, a beautiful restaurant, massage therapy, a sauna – and in the new year, we’ll have accommodation, too. We want to change the attitude that films should be created in cold, dark warehouses, and make the experience as premium behind the camera as it is in front of it. Maybe we can’t change the long hours, but at least we can make them enjoyable.” Advances to production technology are further shaping how studios operate. Sandstorm, for example, has kit in-house, and its TechnoDolly has indisputably been part of its growth as a reputable studio facility. “Although not technically new, it’s a piece of equipment most filmmakers haven’t heard of – a silent camera crane that is fully repeatable and is the only rig that can do this,” adds Chapman. But the biggest advancement can be found in capture, with more producers discovering the benefits of virtual. “As this technology evolves, the demand for better, faster solutions will rise,” says Marina Prak, marketing manager at Roe Visual. Going into 2020, the global virtual production market was already worth $1260.5 million, and is projected to register an annual growth rate of 15.8% from 2020 to 2027. But the pandemic left many projects teetering in and out of production. From that, sprung an explosion of virtual production studios and facilities, to encourage their continuation. “It generates real-time environments on an LED volume as a better alternative to green screen. Instead of having to imagine the environment, the actors and filmmakers can see it,” explains Natalie Piekarski, office manager, Diamond View Studios. “You don’t need to worry about reflections on

Last year, there were 231 films and HETV productions made in the UK, a quarter fewer than streamers and broadcasters needed to sate viewer appetite in 2019. “These are now having to be completed alongside new projects that are starting up,” adds Matilda Wylie, general manager at West London Film Studios. A report from property consultant Lambert Smith Hampton estimates that the need to restock libraries, coupled with the ever-increasing demand for new content, means a sustained demand for new studio space will run into the next decade. WHAT’S IN THE BOX? But it’s not just about space; there’s also a huge number of ancillary facilities needed within these studios, to provide flexible solutions for production companies – whose requirements are often ostentatious. And, of course, no two projects are ever the same, and studios need to be prepared for the diverse range of demands. “There are some things that will never change, but alongside the stages, workshops, costume and MU rooms that producers require, we are finding that projects are becoming much larger in scale, as they are backed by streamers with big budgets,” explains Wylie. “This means utilising more space for longer periods of time, and hiring a bigger crew to support the scale of the production.” However, hiring crew has been a point of contention for some time now. There are huge skills shortages. While the industry is triumphing in many ways, it’s falling short on training new people and progressing others into vital roles. As a result, the workforce is facing immense burnout. But there are some studios trying to remedy this, with spa-like facilities on-set. “Any stress we can reduce for clients is appreciated now more than ever,” explains Jenny Chapman, office

props, and you can light a scene in-studio the same way you would on-location, with the added benefit of the volume acting as a massive ambient source of light. You can also control every variable in real time, from the weather, time of day, or the placement of scene elements. The transition to virtual production will have as great an impact on our industry as the shift from celluloid to digital cameras, if not more.” “There are huge skills shortages. While the industry is triumphing in many ways, it’s falling short on training new people”


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