The blending of the physical and digital worlds – New technology is the future of the film and entertainment industry, giving creators ultimate freedom.
The magic of extended reality (XR) is that you can go beyond the physical limitation of the LED-stage and extend it to the virtual world. The XR studio setup includes three high-definition LED panels, a floor and two side walls, creating a backdrop that looks like a cube cut in half.
The geometry of the sets and backgrounds is loaded into the media server that controls The Volume. Most efficiently, the production camera equipped with the tracking system is linked to the media server and render engine, so that when the camera or actor moves, the telemetry corrects and the background can change accordingly. This change allows real-time reactions to maintain background perfection.
VFX companies have already used immersive technology and are increasingly using virtual production methods. For some use cases, virtual production can be a faster and cheaper solution. With tools such as Unreal Engine, stunning results can be created that can be viewed instantly and can be quickly modified. For example, the background or lighting of a scene can be changed without the need to make physical changes.
In Europe more and more VFX companies are opening up to the new technology, which is expected to replace the familiar green screen. Hungary-based Special Effects Ltd. is a full service event production company that sees the future in XR. The company started working with XR a year and a half ago, and has now set up its own studio dedicated to XR. This can be of great importance in the future, because the earlier a company gets to know it and gains experience with it, the greater its competitive advantage will be.
The technology could also bring back traditional filmmaking, as the crew has to build the scene before shooting. In essence, the post-production process is transfarred to the pre-production process.
As David Morin, Head of Epic LA Lab says: “The good news in this transition is that it brings workflow back to something akin to traditional filmmaking. You have to build sets before you can shoot them in live action and now that’s the same in our VFX workflows. Virtual environments have to be built before the deadline for principal photography. This workflow is very natural for filmmakers.”
Watch Katy Perry‘s performance during the 2020 American Idol, which is a great and creative example how XR technology can be used in the entertainment industry.