Stormjar 'Sleep Hunger' Virtual Production
Virtual and Studio
By Jordan Tomkins
Stormjar 'Sleep Hunger' Virtual Production

Stormjar used our virtual production studio - they had only two days to shoot six pages of script that required multiple indoor and outdoor locations at different times of the day and night, a green screen, and VFX.

Sleep Hunger - Stormjar

The Brief:

‘Sleep Hunger” is a short monster horror film by Stormjar that follows Ash who is haunted by recurring nightmares. One sleepless night, Ash roams her city and contacts a stranger who promises to take away her bad dreams, only for the real nightmare to begin.

The Stormjar team had only two days to shoot six pages of script that required multiple indoor and outdoor locations at different times of the day and night, a green screen, and VFX.

They were shooting on a RED WEAPON DRAGON 6K S35 using Kowa anamorphic lenses to produce a unique filmic aesthetic and needed the ability to manipulate the lighting on set quickly to create a dramatic look in every shot.

The Solution:

By using Virtual Production (VP), the Stormjar team almost eradicated most of the traditional film production challenges of shooting multiple locations such as location scouting, weather changes, and time lost to travel or set up as well as the costs of permits, generators and mobile facilities.

Each location was built working with Megascans in Unreal Engine which allowed them to build, iterate and test the shots in each location prior to filming. This meant that when they got to set they could fly through each setup going from an outdoor night location to an indoor morning location seamlessly.

As there was a tight turnaround of each shot on set, it was essential that the cast and crew could take a break or continue working on costume and make-up close to set. As part of the creative hub at PYTCH we provided some lovely chill out spaces which weren’t just warm and dry but also flooded with natural light, comfortable seating and good coffee. These small touches really make a difference to a shoot, and the PYTCH team are all about the tiny details and ensuring everyone is having a great time.

One of the best reasons for using VP is that you are literally being lit by the environment that your characters are in on set (unlike the traditional green screen set up). If you change the lights in the Unreal Engine environment this is then reflected in the lighting on set.

The Stormjar team were able to instantly move the environment and change the lighting around the actors to get the dramatic looks they were they after. The actors could also see the environment around them in real-time by looking in the feedback screen where they could see a live feed from the camera.

This helped the actors cement themselves within their roles and helped the Director give instructions to the whole team. VP has many benefits but nuanced understanding of these by the PYTCH team has allowed us to design our studio optimally; it really makes a difference.

The Result:

"There are multiple budget and time costs that can be saved by working in VP, but it’s really utilising the PYTCH team’s expertise that ensures your shoot is as efficient as possible because they really know what they’re doing. The management of the get in, get out, setups, equipment, back up preparations and guidance throughout the whole process was exceptional and there wasn’t a single issue. This was the first time we have worked with VP and we are incredibly grateful to have worked with PYTCH to help us learn the ropes and get the best out of their team." - Stormjar

The team at PYTCH have a generosity of spirit, collaboration and kindness... Their handle on new technologies, and film industry best practice in general, is extraordinarily confidence inspiring... However you decide to use this technology, the PYTCH team’s ability in helping you realise your vision is unparalleled.” - Creative Director - James Wheale

Our cast and crew had nothing but positive feedback about their time working at PYTCH. Even if you’re only at PYTCH for a day or two you are instantly made to feel welcome... Everyone is treated with respect and there is no place for egos here which we loved, and this was in keeping with our company ethos... If you haven’t worked with virtual production and you’re not sure of how it could be of benefit to you, I would recommend chatting to the team at PYTCH to understand how it could be a game-changer for your production.” - Creative Producer - Sophie Shaw