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Virtual Production & In-Camera VFX

I've seen the future, and it's virtual. Back in June, I directed my first virtual production in Nashville, and since then, I've taken a deep, subterranean dive into everything the technology has to offer. Needless to say, I couldn't be more excited about this new approach to filmmaking and content creation.

Setting up for an exterior shoot with picture cars.
Setting up for an exterior shoot with picture cars.

The Scoop

My agency, (add)ventures, breaks it down well: "Virtual video production (VP) combines traditional filming techniques with virtual environments to help create immersive video experiences that bring storytelling to new heights. By leveraging technology throughout the entire production life cycle, VP helps enhance how we create content."

The latest industry buzz term is ICVFX (In-Camera VFX). Rather than shooting on a traditional green screen and compositing a background in post, we're able to film our talent in front of an interactive virtual background and composite our image in-camera. Not only does this help actors feel more immersed in their roles, but it also means the creative team can see the final results right on set.

If you can dream it, you can create it with virtual technology.
If you can dream it, you can create it with virtual technology.

The Tech

Using Unreal Engine and motion tracking technology, we're able to deliver a living, fully-realized 3D world to an LED Volume, which serves as the backdrop for our shoot. As the camera moves, our motion trackers allow for a realistic parallax effect that looks indistinguishable from reality.

Epic Games first launched Unreal Engine in 1998, with the aptly-titled video game Unreal. Over the years, the engine has extended its reach beyond gamification and into the film and television industries. Each iteration of the engine has seen major improvements in performance and graphics ability. Unreal 5 was launched in April of this year, with a head-turning featured called Nanite, which allows for highly-detailed photographic elements to be imported. This means our 3D environments are more photorealistic than ever before.

With the power of Unreal Engine, we can make infinite changes to our scene, from the position of the sun in the sky, down to individual blades of grass. We can literally move mountains:

Wait until you hear about our roster of Unreal, Maya, and Disguise artists. More soon come. Stay tuned!


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