Virtual Production: Changing the Way We Tell Stories

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Movies have entertained us for several decades, and as filmmakers have explored more diverse and inventive concepts, filmmaking technology has evolved. One such technology that has recently become a vital element of film production, revolutionizing the film industry and allowing filmmakers to realize their wildest ideas, is virtual production.

So, let’s explore how virtual production is changing the way of filmmaking and the latest trends that are improving its role in other industries.

How Does Virtual Production Contribute To Filmmaking?

A virtual production blends physical and virtual filming techniques to generate cutting-edge media. A virtual studio plays a crucial role in virtual production.

A virtual studio is a television studio that allows the background to be changed in real time. It is also known as a virtual set or virtual reality studio and can be used in conjunction with green screen technology.

It is built using specialized software, such as Vset3D. A virtual studio normally consists of a background, floor, walls, lighting, and other elements that work together to produce a realistic-looking setting.

It has many applications, including TV news and sports broadcasting, film production, and video game development.

In the film and television industries, virtual production is increasingly being employed. Let’s see how this technology is reshaping the filmmaking sector:

  • It offers filmmakers new opportunities to create entertaining content with increased flexibility and efficiency.
  • It integrates traditional filmmaking techniques such as motion capture and facial recognition into digital visuals. Additionally, this game-changing technology provides tremendous opportunities for filmmakers and producers eager to create something truly distinctive.
  • Filmmakers and real-time 3D artists employ game engines such as Unreal Engine to build digital scenes. These scenes are projected onto giant LED displays, resulting in a virtual backdrop that resembles a set or real-world location, but with significantly more control over the scenario. The volume, or curved screens, wrap around the actors, props, and physical sets and dome over the ceiling.
  • Camera tracking technology adjusts the 3D world behind the performers as they perform in a scene to fit the live-action camera. The synchronization of camera and computer imagery causes parallax, which contributes to the illusion that real and virtual things coexist in the same place.
  • Virtual production and LED volumes enable actors, creatives, and filmmakers to see how their visual effects appear in real-time within a scene. There are already 100 LED stage volumes available worldwide, with another 150 on the way.

Filmmakers and producers use several tools and software for 3D animations. The Unreal Engine is one of the most popular game development engines that is used extensively in the film and television production industries for game cinematics and even entire CG animations.

Unreal Engine is now attracting a large number of developers and game artists. A diverse set of tools in their arsenal allows users to create their own games.

Likewise, Dimension announced an industry-first VP collaboration with Sky Stuios, Sky’s Europe-wide production arm, and visual effects giant DNEG, with the goal of demonstrating the game-changing benefits of virtual production and upskilling the next generation of creative talent.

Latest Trends Boosting the Popularity of Virtual Production

Virtual production is benefiting not only film and gaming but many industries, such as education, real estate, interior modeling, and so on. Besides, upcoming trends in virtual production technology are making it easy for them to grow their businesses.

5 major trends that are shaping the virtual production landscape include:

1. 360° Video

A 360° video allows viewers to see a scene from any aspect and perspective and is one of the most immersive and entertaining kinds of video production.

Virtual tours, documentaries, education, entertainment, and marketing can all benefit from 360° videos. A specific camera that takes the whole spherical perspective of the scene, as well as software that stitches the images together and edits them, is required to generate a 360° video. You can also watch 360° videos and interact with the scene by using a VR headset or a smartphone.

360° and VR videos offer new opportunities for businesses such as real estate and educational institutions.

For instance, 360 Labs is a video production firm that specializes in virtual reality and using 360° video for virtual reality production, 360 video production, and virtual reality post-production services (such as expert stitching, virtual reality narrative, roto & comp, color grade, and rig removal). 360 Labs has contributed to several award-winning gaming communities, including Gamers Alliance. It has collaborated with companies such as Dell, Google, Honda, Tiffany & Co, Daimler, Ryder, GoPro, EAA, and Columbia Sportswear Company.

2. Live streaming

Another popular and powerful trend in video production is live streaming, which allows users to broadcast video content in real-time to a global audience.

Events, interviews, Q&A sessions, webinars, lessons, and entertainment can all benefit from live streaming. Live streaming can assist in connecting with an audience, expanding reach, generating feedback, and creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

A stable internet connection, a camera, a microphone, a streaming platform, and streaming software are all necessary for live streaming a user’s video.

3. Artificial Intelligence

AI is a technology that simulates human intellect and performs tasks that would require human cognition, such as learning, thinking, and decision-making.

AI can be utilized in a variety of video production processes, including writing, editing, captioning, transcribing, analyzing, and optimizing. It can assist in saving time, money, and resources, improving quality and accuracy, and increasing creativity and innovation.

Lumen5, Magisto, Adobe Sensei, and Descript are some prominent AI tools used for video production.

4. Vertical video

Vertical video is a video format that is vertically oriented rather than horizontally, making it ideal for mobile devices and social media sites. It can be utilized for various applications, including storytelling, reels, shorts, advertisements, and vlogs.

Vertical video can help gain the attention of the audience, optimize screen space, and enhance engagement and retention. To create a vertical video, you need to adjust camera settings, arrange pictures, and edit video clips accordingly.

5. User-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) refers to video content made and shared by your target audience such as consumers, fans, followers, or staff. UGC can be utilized for various purposes, including testimonials, reviews, lessons, challenges, and contests.

UGC can aid in building trust, credibility, and loyalty, help generate social proof and word-of-mouth, as well as encourage user engagement and interaction.

To generate UGC, you must first set your goals and guidelines, then invite and incentivize your audience, and lastly curate and present it.

Light, Camera, Future of Virtual Production

Virtual production is a rapidly growing technology in the film and episodic industries. Many experts predict that it will become the norm in the industry within the next few years. This technology combines the physical and virtual worlds to create stunning visual effects and realistic environments.

The future of virtual production looks bright, with advancements in AI technology and LED walls expected to transform how virtual production sets will operate in the coming years. Additionally, the rise of extended reality has brought real-time 3D sets to life, and virtual production is already being used in other industries, such as the automotive sector, for factory planning. All in all, this technology has forever changed the way we make movies and TV shows.

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