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Writing for the wall

Amazon Business commercial ‘Bloom’ demonstrates the power of a production written with virtual production in mind from the outset

It’s four years since The Mandalorian landed to showcase the possibilities of virtual production. The technology and techniques have matured and are entering a new phase where creatives consider virtual production at the outset rather than adapting existing scripts to fit.
At ARRI Stage London, the onsite team is seeing this trend first hand. Filmmakers who have used an LED wall are returning with the understanding of what it can do, and significantly, are now working from scripts written for virtual production.

“Productions know they can save money using virtual production, the big shift in mindset is filmmakers are now thinking of the technology as a tool to create things they were previously unable to,” says Rob Payton, production specialist, ARRI Solutions. “The best results we see now stem from scripts written for the volume.”

Filmmakers have always loved exploring changing timelines, but in conventional production environment that can be very expensive. The fact that you can now write a script and shoot in different time periods, in multiple globetrotting locations, or in all four seasons – in a day – is liberating, as well as an important consideration for productions’ ESG commitments.

The Chemical Brothers’ promo for their latest single ‘Live Again’ is a prime example. Produced by Outsider with directing duo dom&nic, the promo follows a dancer emerging from her trailer into a series of environments—with several scene transitions taking place live, within one continuous shot. 

Will Case, director of innovation, Creative Technology explains, “A Chemical Brothers video is traditionally very post-heavy, and they would have written a script to be shot on greenscreen, avoiding certain materials and props considered too complex for post. Here, though, they embraced the volume by deliberately choosing reflective materials for the dancer’s lamé dress and a metallic caravan.”

DP Stephen Keith-Roach worked with ARRI Stage London’s team to light scenes virtually, and with gaffer Kevin McMorrow to use studio lighting for the live action foreground, and practicals inside the caravan. The blending of environments worked seamlessly.

“During shooting they realised they could make digital twins of the dancer and caravan so in the final scene there are multiples of them in the same shot. This is dom&nic using their creativity to push the tech to create something unique.”

Keith-Roach also lensed another pioneering project written specifically for the LED wall, produced by Outsider. ‘Bloom’ is a commercial for Amazon Business choreographed as one continuous shot against dynamic backgrounds and interactive lighting. Continue reading


British Cinematographer: https://britishcinematographer.co.uk/supplement_posts/writing-for-the-wall/

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