By IAN FAILES
Habib Zargarpour works with his virtual production tools to plan out a scene. (Image courtesy of Digital Monarch Media)
It’s easy to think about a film being made by a crew with actors, a set, some lights and a camera. Indeed, many films are still made this way. But as films continue to be imbued with more complex action, and invariably more complex visual effects, filmmakers are turning to new production techniques to imagine these scenes virtually even before they’ve been shot, and then to scout sets, interact live with CG assets and characters, and to shoot, revise and iterate virtual scenes on the fly.
‘Virtual production,’ as it has become known, can mean many things. On Ready Player One, for example, virtual production techniques were used by director Steven Spielberg to combine motion-captured characters, virtual cameras, ‘simul-cams,’ realtime rendering and virtual reality to help imagine the entirely synthetic world of the OASIS. The upcoming Lion King from Jon Favreau and James Cameron’s Avatar sequels are also examples where virtual production is a central part of the making of those films.
There are also many different types of virtual production, whether it’s in the motion-capture equipment used, the style of virtual cinematography, the real-time rendering engine of choice, or simply how different pieces of a system are ‘bolted’ together. VFX Voice asked several players in the virtual production space about their approaches to this growing area of filmmaking.