Virtual Production Filmmaking: The Game Changer for Cinema

Virtual Production Filmmaking: The Game Changer for Cinema

Movies are a way of life. Movies are the mirror of life. Movies are also the visual timeline of how far we have come. No. We are not getting philosophical here. Calm down! It is about the way films have developed to be. From delicate reels of negatives to complexly edited works of art. Virtual Production pushes forward the legacy of filmmaking with its extended reality. The practice of virtual production filmmaking is one that the film and television industries are quickly adopting. Green screens and CGI are common practices now.

What Virtual Production provides filmmakers, is fresh methods for producing captivating material with more versatility and effectiveness.

Virtual Production is advancing right now because several important technologies are combining at the ideal time, including real-time rendering using Unreal Engine, LED display technology, GPU power, Green Screens, and others. Virtual Production filmmaking helped produce some of the best CGI scenes in the legacy of filmmaking.

What is Virtual Production Filmmaking?

Virtual Production is a filmmaking technique that combines physical manufacturing with real- time digital components. Real-time is stressed since on-set collaboration and iteration are required. A big LED volume running a photorealistic scene may be used, or it could be something as straightforward as tracked camera motion capture.

Actors, Film Makers, and Virtual Production

Digital sceneries are created by real-time 3D artists and filmmakers using gaming engines like Unreal Engine. Large LED displays and green screens are used to project these scenes, giving you far greater control over the setting while simulating a set or actual location. The Volume is a series of curving displays that smoothly dome over the ceiling while encircling the performers, props, and actual sets.

Camera tracking technology modifies the 3D environment behind the performers as they perform in a scene to fit the live-action camera. In order to give the impression that the actual and virtual components are located in the same location, the camera, extended reality, and digital imagery must be synchronized.

With the use of this platform, producers may control a variety of components of their projects in real-time, including lighting, camera angles, and special effects. By doing this, they may establish a setting where directors have more creative influence over every part of the production. The best CGI scenes are a combination of all these factors. The real “movie magic”!

“World Building”

World building, a technique frequently used in virtual production filmmaking, enables artists and filmmakers to create 3D settings that frequently cannot be recreated in reality. This might be strange scenery, charming castles, and kingdoms, or previously unexplored realms and universes.

Actors may genuinely respond to a world they can actually see, as opposed to reacting to a tape mark placed on a blue or green screen. The sets for the Star Wars spinoff “The Mandalorian” were reused several times with very minimal changes and projected onto LED walls. While filming, the director and the performers can both see it in real-time, which gives them both a feeling of inventiveness and reality that green screens just cannot.

Breaking Down The Technology

Making an attempt to expand the technology, it is complex and high-tech.

Previs is a step in the manufacturing process. It involves storyboards, storyboard animation, concept art, and anything else that aids in the development of the movie’s plot.

Techvis The technical elements of previs, such as camera settings, shot locations, and essential green screen dimensions for CGI scenes, are handled by techvis artists.

In post-production, a process known as Postvis, live-action scenes are combined with short- term visual effects to function as stand-ins for the final edit.

Films Without Virtual Production

Time for a little comparison session! There are creators who attempted to create the “Movie Magic” without the aid of extended reality.

  • Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman Cafeteria Scene

Making it to the top of the list is this amazing scene of Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker who manages to catch an entire tray of food while also holding Mary Jane. It took Tobey 156 takes to get this scene right!

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Instant Portion Bread

The bread could easily be made computerized, but they made a liquid inflatable bread that was later deflated to shoot this scene.

To show that effect, the liquid was first inflated entirely and slowly the liquid was pumped out.

“It started off with the mechanics of getting the bread to rise and the liquid to disappear, …but
the actual cosmetic side took a lot longer.”

  • Independence Day’s White House Explosion

Most people choose to do such scenes on computers after Virtual Production has become a thing. As it is the less dangerous option.

Not with this one though. The crew for Independence Day actually created a 1:24 exact scale model of the White House.

They filmed it at 300 frames per second to create that beautifully terrifying scene.

Films With Virtual Production

To understand the concept of extended reality, and virtual production filmmaking, we have these amazing visual examples of how far this piece of technology has come.

  • Jungle Book

Director Jon Favreau really put his all into this movie. With just one “real” character on set, he and his team created such extremely realistic looking Bagheera, King Louie, and Shere Khan.

The little guy as Mowgli should also be appreciated for acting that well with co-stars that were just green cardboard molds at one point.

  • King Arthur: Legend of Sword

While the movie isn’t something many remember, its battle screen specifically deserves more recognition as it was extremely detailed.

The complex framework as well as the intensity of showing a battle on a large scale was quite well executed.

  • Dr. Strange

Well, this list could’ve been all filled with Marvel and it would’ve been valid.

But Doctor Strange specifically shows some scenes that used Virtual Production that leave you awestruck.

Making scenes like the Ancient One’s mirror dimension, or the scenes with Dormanu aren’t easy to create.

Virtual Production really gave us a boost from the best CGI scenes to something even better. Movie makers have already accepted it and its extended reality as the future of cinema.

Although, there is another perspective that states that movies are too dependent on Virtual Production stealing the “realness” of a movie with several real-life stars.

As they say, “A movie should feel like a movie”.

What are your thoughts?

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