What is Virtual Production in Animation and VFX Filmmaking and its benefits

Virtual Production explainer, definition and benefits in filmmaking.


what is virtual production in Animation and VFX Filmmaking

Technology is getting advanced day-by-day. Various time consuming things in filmmaking process had nullified today by tons of smart tools and workflows / pipeline system. Now, we are mostly working on GPUs, doing movie and web series shooting through iPhone and other high-end mobiles, using cloud based infrastructures, rendering services and softwares and so on.

Today we will discuss in-depth about one more advanced technology which is coined as Virtual Production. Apart from Animation and Visual Effects industry, it has taken the entire film fraternity by storm. Various new age directors and many veterans are also using it successfully. Let’s understand what is VP, step by step.

What is Virtual Production?

Initially, let us dive into knowing what virtual production exactly is. David Morin (Chairman of the Virtual Reality Committee and the Virtual Production Committee, and head of Epic Games’ Los Angeles Lab) has defined Virtual Production as the competency to merge live video shooting footage and computer graphics (3D / CGI) together, at once to get real-time opinions and feedback and to make decisions on the set about the VFX and Animation used. It is the procedure of seamlessly merging the digital world’s 3D elements with the live plate of film and conclude with the final Visual Effects, whose core is around the real-time interaction on set. The ground breaking technology of in-camera VFX is truly a disruptive one.

Virtual Production inclines to be utilized to help visualize complex scenes or either in scenes that cannot satisfy the producers which are filmed in real-time. Basically, VP refers to ideas which keep running on great imaginary-based minds, implemented using digital world and techniques.

Benefits of Virtual Production in Filmmaking process:

It is useful for producers to implement certain filmic elements in the plot of the film. Virtual Production will help you to perfect your vision into a digital ecosystem long before your kick-off with the set. At the very start of the procedure, you will be able to show your team exactly what you want to be delivered and depicted in the film plot with the help of Virtual Production technology.

Virtual Production tools and softwares approach mostly around the capturing of on set live action scenes, through simul-cams or virtual cameras. The entire huge idea is to basically replicate what you typically see after the entire post and post production process. Now, director is not dependent on other artists for final lookdev. He is witnessing the final output, on the very shooting stage. Chroma is being cut on-the-fly, 3D tracking / matchmoving is happening in real time, CGI characters and other 3D assets / effects are composited with proper cut mattes. Same stands true for gaming pipeline. What else a director will demand for?

Such benefit of Virtual Production is like a holy aspiration for filmmakers: the competency to work in real-time, to chime into real life environments and to be able to do anything and everything that’s on your mind. Various directors including James Cameron, Jon Favreau, Andy Serkis and may others had proudly adopted Virtual Production technology for their films and have succeeded in it with tremendous blockbuster success.

real time vfx green screen

Virtual Film Making – a revolution in cinema world:

The VFX industry is evolving, and Virtual Production plays a vital role in how studios will prevail over the production challenges of tomorrow. To efficiently bring the creative vision of their directors to life, ingenious studios are already unifying CG, motion capture, and real-time rendering with more conventional production techniques in their pipeline. Among many Virtual Production softwares, Unreal Engine is the leading name in Virtual Production genre.

One more major player worth mentioning is Zero Density company. It’s revolutionary product ‘Reality Engine‘ provides real time VFX into live action shooting. It does all things in real-time including chroma removal, compositing and rendering. Built upon Unreal Engine, Reality Engine is already hit in various broadcasting channels.

Disrupting and bold technologies are often forerunners of significant future changes across creative industries. For studios associated with films,  Animation and VFX world, Games and broadcast industry should accept VP well in advance, to raise the quality benchmark to new heights in the years and continue it for decades to come.

Check out image gallery to know more about what it Virtual Production and how it is benefiting the filmmaking process.

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