DNEG’s photo-real virtual production set-up demonstrates a hybrid style of filmmaking

Being a powerhouse of real-time production and the capabilities of which are not restricted to the gaming sector, Unreal Engine is aiding new-age content creators with cutting edge technology.

Many studios have been making a beeline to leverage this technology in order to notch up the storytelling quotient. With award-winning film Mandalorian showing the extent to which this technology can enhance filmmaking and eliminate location-shooting, filmmakers are beginning to accept it with open arms.

Epic Games GM India and SEA Quentin Staes-Polet had shared, “The post-production operations have become extremely challenging amid the pandemic, filming at physical locations are the biggest hiccup. Therefore, virtual production has gigantic prospect. This allows the users to leverage Unreal Engine’s power to recreate the environments digitally and reassemble everything right in the camera’s view.”

Recently Oscar-winning VFX studio Double Negative also partnered with volumetric production studios Dimension Studio to enhance its virtual production services, enabling final shots to be captured in camera, without the need to replace the backgrounds in post-production.

DNEG co-founder and creative director Paul Franklin shared, “It’s something that film-makers, programme makers, have just been longing for. The ability to control all the aspects of reality within a set that in every other respect can look completely convincing and photo-realistic. I think this is going to be a bit of a revolution in film-making. “

DNeg worked with Dimension, Unreal Engine (Epic Games), Arri, Roe LED, Mo-Sys, 80six, Brompton Technologies and Malcolm Ryan to pioneer virtual production techniques that use LED screens on-set that display photo-real set backdrops that move in full perspective in relation to the camera’s position.

The technique merges game engine expertise, LED display technology, visual effects and pre-production processes, and is helping film and TV content creators to overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on production. Directors can make real-time decisions and changes to the environment on the LED screens, updating in real-time as the camera moves.

Utilising the technique, productions are able to move from one convincingly detailed and photo-real environment to another without leaving the stage. The demo video showcased the possibilities in utilising highly realistic virtual environments on-set.