Struggling to explain the difference between virtual production, virtual reality and virtual studios? Or too embarrassed to ask what separates Mo-Cap from Mo-Sys? You’re likely not alone. The rise of virtual production has led to a raft of terms and acronyms that can confuse even the most experienced professionals.
VIRTUAL PRODUCTION (VP)
A broad term for anything that uses computer-generated 3D images in real-time during filming. It encompasses green screen-based virtual studios as well as LED volume stages (see below). Virtual productions use camera tracking technology and game engines to allow programme makers to mix live footage with 3D images at once on a set.
Virtual productions that use LED volumes have grown in popularity in recent years, with The Mandalorian the most famous example. Actors perform on a physical set in a studio in front of a giant array of LED screens which feature images of realworld or computer-generated environments. The set-up is not unlike the projected backgrounds filmmakers have been using since the silent era. The difference is that it’s smart. Harnessing a real-time engine, it responds to the movement of the on-set camera by adjusting the perspective, lighting, and other elements within the panels. The technology allows filmmakers to capture effects in-camera and real-time and lends itself best to single camera shoots – such as film, drama and commercials. Click to continue