Virtual production is one of the most talked about areas in film and television. Steve Jarratt discusses its potential with DNEG’s Steve Griffith and VFX supervisor Kevin Baillie.
Virtual production can be defined in various ways, depending on the technology used and the project in question, but in general it’s the combination of physical and digital assets in a real-time filmmaking environment. It ranges from motion capture stages with real-time feedback of digital doubles and virtual worlds, to the latest advances in LED staging, with camera moves synced to computer generated sets.
The advent of game engines in the generation of real-time visuals has been transformational in virtual production
And while virtual production is currently the big buzzword in content creation, Steve Griffith, Executive Producer of the virtual production division at DNEG, is keen to stress that it’s just a visual effects process; another tool in the filmmakers’ arsenal. “In-camera compositing is really the best thing to call it,” he says.
Griffith explains that virtual production can offer a range of benefits, alongside obvious things like cost reduction and minimising carbon footprints. “The way that we’ve been trying to describe this to filmmakers is that we’re just now additional tools for your production designer, your director, your DP and your visual effects department.
“So for a DP, we become a lighting tool. For a production designer, we become an extension of the set pieces that they create. And we can, in some ways, compress the visual effects schedule, and provide marketing and editorial with all of that material much further up ahead.”
Indeed, Griffith believes that marketing is one of the biggest beneficiaries of virtual production technology. Studios want to release trailers and begin building interest, and the sooner the marketing departments can start putting material out there, the better – especially for visual effects-intensive movies with long post-production schedules. Continue reading