What is Virtual Production?
If you’re a little bit nerdy, or into film, you might have been hearing people mention Virtual Production recently.
‘Virtual Production’ or sometimes ‘VP’ is a somewhat vague sounding term that is actually used to describe a quite specific and niche set of technologies and methods for film and video production.
The most accepted definition of Virtual Production is a method of filming content that looks like it has been shot ‘on location’ by using LED walls as a backdrop, showing scenery and backgrounds that are realistic to the scene. You will probably be familiar with the concept of ‘green screen’. What VP does is take the ideas behind green screen technology, but instead of adding the scenery in post production, it is displayed on screen behind the actors right there in the studio. Some very early films tried to do this for driving scenes with a projection screen behind the car, but recent advancements in technology have made it possible to make it much more realistic through the use of LED lighting and ‘camera tracking’ which moves the scenery in real-time alongside the camera.
One of the most famous early examples of Virtual Production is The Mandalorian which was shot on a huge sound stage at Industrial Light and Magic in the USA. However as the technology is becoming more popular, it is becoming more accessible. Most Virtual Production sets are now based on ‘Unreal Engine’ which is a 3D games engine used in modern video games. This means that there are more and more people out there with the transferable skills required to design the sets.
However, VP requires a mix of previously disparate skills in order to get it right. Your team needs to possess capabilities in Film and TV camera and lighting techniques of course, but also deep knowledge of LED wall technology from live production applications, and the aforementioned games tech understanding too.
PYTCH now offer Virtual Production at our own studio in Bristol and have used it to shoot TV adverts, independent films, and product launch videos.
Virtual Production is a flexible and adaptable technology with a huge range of applications in filming. Some examples of applications that PYTCH have successfully implemented this technique for includes Product Launches, Indie Films, Game Shows, TV Adverts, and Keynotes.