“Virtual Production“, as used by Greig Fraser, ACS, ASC on Disney’s The Mandalorian, has been taking the production world by storm.
The ACS Technology Committee created a video discussing how this kind of virtual production works, and specifically its use, challenges, and impact for cinematographers.
“The Mandalorian” used real-time, in-camera compositing which involves shooting on a stage in front of a structure that is referred to as the Volume. The Volume is a concave video wall that consists of 1,326 LED screens. By utilizing so many LED screens, real digital backgrounds can be created instead of having to go down the usual path of using green or blue screens.
I think this technology is the most groundbreaking, revolutionary breakthrough in maybe 50 to 70 years, or even since sound. I mean, when processed screens came along as a technology, that was sort of a breakthrough, but they looked, to be frank, a little hokey in the early days. You know, I still question bluescreen’s effectiveness because it’s not a lighting tool. For me, I have major contentious issues with processed screens as they stand. Effectively if you are trying to light a set, with in-camera VFX, everything around you is a lighting tool for you to use.Greig Fraser, ACS, ASC
Over the past eighteen months, over a hundred virtual production studios have been built globally. In Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide have these facilities in place.
In August, NEP Studios and Spectre Studios worked with the ACS to set up a pop-up version of the studio. Under the guidance of Bonnie Elliott, ACS, and Kieran Fowler, NZCS, ACS a series of scenarios were filmed exploring the new process of virtual production using large-scale, computer-driven LED walls.
What do you think about this technology? Have you used it before? Do you think this is the way forward for productions? Let us know in the comments section below.