Virtual production or v-prod is a new technology that promises to change the way we conceive and create films. It uses digital technology to help filmmakers with pre-production.
In virtual production, directors and production houses create a film’s set virtually, in a digital environment before it goes to the physical set. At one time, this was only a pipe dream, but after years of research and development, virtual production is considered to be an integral part of the film-making process. So much that many now consider it to be the connecting link between preproduction and postproduction.
In the current context, virtual production seems to have many advantages that can help both filmmakers and the audience.
How Virtual Production works?
Virtual production uses the power of computer graphics to generate visual effects for a movie. One of the most common uses of virtual production that we are aware of is visual effects. But there are many other applications that exist and enhance the beauty of a film. New technologies use a combination of immersive technologies such as virtual reality and augmented, CGI and game-engine technologies helping filmmakers see their scenes unfold as they are created and captured on set.
One of the latest approaches is to use VR to create films or content that’s entirely computer generated. Often it is a combination of computer graphics with live-action footage using camera and AR.
Using VR to make films is similar to standing on a film set in the real world. One can create any type of realistic sets and visuals, actions that you like. You can move the location of a tree, change the colour of the sun. One can even make characters perform.
For example, a VFX artist can create the digital landscape of Egypt, enabling a director in Iran to plan the film with hololens, which is in essence a mixed reality helmet. The director can ultimately work with a production designer to find out how to position characters, and other finer details. Distance and physical presence don’t matter when it comes to virtual production.
Future of filmmaking
What this means for filmmakers is that they can create shots based on their instincts. You don’t need a lot of time or effort moving heavy equipment. The technology empowers filmmakers with superior storytelling skills without relying on an army of technical people.
Directors and production houses can go to production much faster with their creative vision as there is an opportunity to do and undo rather quickly.
The COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures meant that the entire film industry had come to a standstill globally. In the post COVID era, producers will have to get their films up and running while adhering to safety guidelines. Virtual production will help directors to plan movies better, requiring fewer live action elements.
Ultimately, virtual production and physical production techniques will combine in a way that audiences won’t be able to tell them apart. While it is an expensive technique, it does reduce other overheads related to ‘re-shooting’ , travel for shoots and making subtle changes to the film later in the production lifecycle.
Using virtual production techniques supports the desired business outcomes such as cost savings and faster time to market. The future will definitely see more virtual production aligned with traditional pre-production.